Sen. Tom Lee wants to eliminate greyhound races over the next three years, which would shutter the 92-year-old landmark Derby Lane in Pinellas County.
The Thonotosassa Republican filed a constitutional amendment that would prohibit wagering on greyhound or other dog races. If passed, it would go into effect on July 1, 2021.
Lee filed the amendment with the Constitution Revision Commission, a 37-member board that meets every 20 years to consider amendments to Florida's constitution. The panel would have to approve the proposal to place it on the November 2018 ballot, which would then need to be approved by 60 percent of voters.
According to Bay News 9, Lee said his strong distaste for the industry inspired the proposed amendment. Since 2013, 65 greyhounds have died at Derby Lane and 38 have died at Sanford Orlando Kennel Club, according to Carey Theil, executive director of greyhound advocacy group Grey2KUSA.
"There's a lot of inhumanity and cruelty going on in that industry, not all breeders and tracks are responsible for that," Lee said. "But a lot of states in America have banned dog racing. It also has the added benefit of saving Florida several million dollars — we actually lose money, net to tax revenue, from dog racing here in our state."