State-by-State Advocacy Resource

 State Legislative Update May 2013

State Legislative Update
Prepared by Department of State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
AVMA Communications Division
May 15, 2013
State Legislative Update May 2013
New state laws cover ownership of primates, animal shelter requirements and commercial dog breeders
Nearly half of the nation’s state legislatures have adjourned for the year, but several significant measures have been enacted in recent weeks:
  • Arkansas SB 1171 authorizes the prescribing of controlled substances through electronic means or fax.
  • Arkansas HB 1391 prohibits the import, possession, sale and breeding of apes and certain other primates, except by qualified facilities.
  • Florida SB 674 imposes on animal shelters, humane organizations and animal control agencies a duty to prepare and maintain records for the preceding three years regarding total number of animals taken in, the disposition of all animals and their euthanasia policies.
  • Maine LD 426 authorizes the legal guardian or personal representative of a licensed veterinarian who dies or is incapacitated to contract with another veterinarian to continue the operations of the practice for up to 24 months after the death or incapacitation, or until the practice is sold, whichever occurs first.
  • North Dakota SB 2116 expands the size of the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners by adding a public member and a veterinary technician.
  • North Dakota SB 2211 strengthens animal cruelty penalties and provides for immunity for veterinarians who render emergency treatment to a sick or injured animal.
  • West Virginia SB 202 creates a spay-neuter program and fund to provide grants to nonprofit organizations and programs in the state.
  • West Virginia SB 437 regulates commercial dog-breeding operations, defined as any person who maintains 11 or more unsterilized dogs over the age of one year for the exclusive purpose of actively breeding them as household pets for sale.
Court watch
A retired veterinarian, Dr. Ronald Hines, filed suit on April 8, 2013, in federal court against the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. The board suspended the veterinarian’s license for one year, fined him $500 and ordered that he retake the law portion of the veterinary licensing examination as punishment for providing veterinary information and advice over the Internet for a fee without having a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). Dr. Hines is challenging the Texas administrative rule, patterned after language in the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act, which states that a VCPR cannot be established solely through telephonic or other electronic means. The lawsuit alleges that the board infringed on Dr. Hines’ free speech rights and does not have any rational basis for disallowing Internet advice. Dr. Hines says that he does not attempt to cure animals without a physical examination, but merely examines available information and records to give pet owners a clearer idea of their options.
Nineteen states recognize AVMA’s 150th anniversary
So far, governors in the following states have issued proclamations or letters honoring veterinarians to acknowledge the AVMA’s 150th anniversary this year: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. The Iowa House of Representatives issued a similar resolution. The proclamations and letters will be displayed during the AVMA’s annual convention July 19-23 in Chicago. The AVMA would like to express its appreciation to the state veterinary medical associations for their assistance in securing the acknowledgments.
 The link at the top or bottom of this page will take you to the latest chart of significant pending bills and regulations from around the country.