On June 14, 2011, Canterbury Park Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:CPHC) reported that it could be forced to suspend all or substantially all of its operations on July 1, 2011 due to a budget impasse between Minnesota’s Governor and Legislature. As Canterbury reported, without agreement before July 1 between Minnesota’s Governor and Legislature on the State’s budget for the biennium beginning July 1, funding for the Minnesota Racing Commission (the “MRC”), the agency which regulates Canterbury Park’s gaming operations, might be cut off as of that date and prevent the MRC from fulfilling its regulatory responsibilities until such funding was restored.
No agreement between Minnesota’s Governor and the Legislature has been announced to date and, yesterday, Judge Kathleen Gearin, Chief Judge of the Ramsey County Minnesota Court, entered an order that addressed what state functions could continue to operate on and after July 1 despite a continuing budget impasse. Judge Gearin ruled that only certain core functions of state government may be funded in the absence of an agreement between Minnesota’s Governor and Legislature and that other government functions should not be funded. She emphasized that state payments during a shutdown should be limited to "only the most critical functions of government involving the security, benefit, and protection of the people." In proceedings leading up to Judge Gearin’s order, the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (the “MHBPA”), the group that represents thoroughbred trainers and owners, requested that the MRC be funded during any budget impasse continuing into July because the monies needed to provide such funding are supplied 100% by payments from racetracks and other racing industry sources and that no other funding are needed by the MRC. However, because she determined the regulation of horse racing is not a core function of government, Judge Gearin declined to order such funding.
Canterbury Park also announced yesterday that it has joined with the MHBPA in a lawsuit filed in Scott County Minnesota District Court, Court File 70-CV-11-13433, requesting that the State of Minnesota and its Department of Management and Budget be ordered to continue funding of the MRC, notwithstanding the budget impasse, so that Canterbury Park may continue to operate under the regulation of the MRC. As in the Ramsey County proceeding, Canterbury and the MHBPA believe the MRC should be funded during any budget impasse continuing into July because the monies needed to provide such funding are supplied 100% by payments from racetracks and other racing industry sources. A hearing on a motion by Canterbury and the MHBPA for injunctive relief that would order the continuation of such funding effective July 1 is scheduled for this morning, June 30.