State Legislative Update February 2014
With 38 state legislatures currently in session, the AVMA is monitoring numerous bills of importance to veterinary medicine. Here is a sample of measures introduced in recent days:
- Colorado SB 101 would establish as a deceptive trade practice use of certain titles relating to veterinary technicians by persons who do not possess those credentials.
- Hawaii HB 2106 would require pharmacists to complete a training program to dispense veterinary prescriptions.
- Idaho H 396 would require prescribers, except veterinarians, to register annually for online access to a controlled substances prescription database.
- Indiana SB 295 would apply standards of care for commercial dog breeders and brokers to private animal rescue operations.
- Kentucky HB 222 would generally require the use of sodium pentobarbital or its derivatives to euthanize a dog or cat in the custody of an animal shelter.
- Maryland SB 660, SB 659, HB 667 and HB 665 would restrict specified procedures, such as surgically debarking or silencing a dog or cat, ear cropping a dog, tail docking a dog, cutting off the dewclaw of a dog or surgical birth of a dog.
- Mississippi HB 1272 and SB 2177 would exempt veterinarians from reporting under the state’s prescription monitoring program.
- New Jersey S 874 and A 1648 would allow animal physical therapy by a licensed physical therapist in collaboration with the client’s veterinarian.
- New Jersey A 1186 and S 903 would require veterinarians to provide written notification to animal owners if boarded animals are not subject to 24-hour supervision.
- New York SB 6218 would require written informed consent by an animal owner before a veterinarian can euthanize a companion animal.
- Oklahoma HB 2764 and SB 1729 would prohibit the use of carbon monoxide chambers for animal euthanasia.
- Rhode Island H 7198 would provide that no city or town may enact an ordinance specific to any breed of dog or cat except if it pertains to spaying or neutering.
- Utah SB 120 would exempt from the veterinary license requirement employees of animal shelters who administer certain vaccinations.
The Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine amended its rules to ensure that veterinary premises, whether fixed or mobile, are inspected at least every two years.
The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners now requires veterinarians to maintain at their place of business for five years records of controlled substances in their possession. The rules also specify in detail what should be included in those records.
The New Mexico Animal Sheltering Board updated its regulations that are applicable to public and private facilities. The regulations cover board operations, licensure and exemptions, professional ethical standards, euthanasia methods, and technicians. Carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide gas may no longer be used for euthanasia of dogs and cats in shelters.
The North Dakota Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners made various changes to its licensure rules, including the addition to the definition of unprofessional conduct the advertising, stating, or implying that a veterinarian is a certified or recognized specialist in a given field unless he or she is a diplomate of a specialty board recognized by the AVMA.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a suit in federal court against his California counterpart, charging that a state applying battery cage standards to other states violates the interstate commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution. In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 2, a measure requiring egg producers to provide hens sufficient space to stand up, turn around and fully extend their wings in their cages. These size and space standards take effect in 2015. In 2010, California enacted legislation providing that these standards also apply to out-of-state producers who sell their product in California. The Missouri lawsuit claims that the California law infringes on interstate commerce by effectively imposing new requirements on out-of-state farmers in an effort to protect California farmers from a financial disadvantage with their counterparts in other states. The California law cites concerns about protecting people from salmonella and other illnesses. Koster said Missouri farmers would need to spend about $120 million to remodel their cages or lose sales to one of their most important markets, which will likely force some Missouri egg producers out of business.
New veterinary school partnership
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) signed an agreement with the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to establish a professional veterinary medicine program in Alaska, a first of its kind in the state. This partnership is modeled after a similar program between the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. For the first two years at UAF, students will take basic science courses with an emphasis on Alaska life, including marine and terrestrial wildlife, fish, sled dog husbandry, sled dog sports medicine and non-traditional livestock such as bison, yak and reindeer. In the final two years, students will attend Colorado State and focus on their clinical skills. Classes are slated to begin in the fall of 2015 and Alaska residents will enjoy enrollment preference. UAF and money allocated by the state legislature helps fund the program, although it will be funded mostly through student tuition.
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.