Oklahoma House of Representatives Passes H.B. 3202 Freeing Horse Teeth Floaters

J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · April 8, 2010

Oklahoma City, Okla.—The freedom to earn an honest living as a horse teeth “floater” in Oklahoma moved closer to becoming a reality today as the state’s House of Representatives adopted the same changes to legislation that would allow trained husbandry practitioners to file down (also called floating) horses’ teeth that the Senate adopted late last month. The legislation is expected to be presented next week to Governor Brad Henry for his signature.

“H.B. 3202 is a bill that will restore jobs for me and fellow horse teeth floaters by doing one simple thing: getting the government out of the way,” said Bob Griswold, a floater, farrier and a leading supporter of the legislation. “We are one step closer to going back to work to provide the best service at the best prices to horse owners in Oklahoma.”

Once enacted, H.B. 3202 will require the Oklahoma Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to license any practitioner who provides proof of either 80 hours of hands-on training in horse teeth floating at a recognized dentistry school, or certification by the International Association of Equine Dentistry or similar private certification organization.

Authored by Rep. Don Armes (R-Faxon), H.B. 3202 first passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on March 4. The Oklahoma Senate passed the bill on March 31, but only after including a provision that prohibited horse owners from having horse teeth floaters pick up narcotics that owners purchased from veterinarians. The House of Representatives passed the Senate’s additional language today by a vote of 58 to 37.

The bill allows floaters to pick up widely prescribed sedatives only from veterinarians and only when horse owners order them and does not allow floaters to administer sedatives. Importantly, the bill also prohibits floaters from picking up from veterinarians’ narcotics and other dangerous drugs that are not used in horse teeth floating, despite the misinformation delivered through a desperate smear campaign directed by Dr. Joe Carter and three other veterinarians who sought to use the Trojan Horse of drug abuse to keep floaters from working in the state.

“Fortunately, the vast majority of senators and house members recognized such claims as nothing more than a power grab by a rich special interest group that wanted to keep out the competition,” said Lee McGrath of the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that has litigated and lobbied for horse teeth floaters in Minnesota, Texas and Oklahoma. “In the end, the bill recognizes that horse owners should be free to choose who works on their horses and restores the right to pursue an honest living to hard working floaters, like Bob Griswold.”

“This bill is a step in the right direction,” McGrath said. “Especially in this economy, the government needs to do all it can to make it easier for entrepreneurs in every occupation to earn an honest living and sometimes that means getting out of the way.”