State Legislative Analysis

 State Legislative Update - November 2013

State Legislative Update
Prepared by Department of State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
AVMA Communications Division
November 15, 2013​​

Regulatory update

The California Veterinary Medical Board made several significant changes to its practice regulations. The board updated minimum standards for fixed veterinary premises, including a requirement to designate a veterinarian as a “licensee manager,” responsible for premise compliance. The board also adopted standards for small animal mobile clinics, including a requirement that a veterinarian remain on the operational site and maintain autonomy for all medical decisions made. The new definition of “Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship” allows a designated veterinarian to provide care in the absence of client communication or absence of the originally prescribing veterinarian. Another important change is expansion of the terms “dental operations” and “preventive dental procedures,” as part of the practice of veterinary medicine, now defined to include the application of a scaler to any portion of an animal’s tooth, gum or any related tissue for the prevention, cure or relief of a wound, fracture, injury or disease.

The Delaware Board of Veterinary Medicine issued changes to its veterinary technician rules, stating that an applicant for such a license who does not pass the required examination within one year after the date of approval of the application must re-apply for licensure and submit the application fee. Any applicant who re-applies after Oct. 1, 2013, must have received a degree from a veterinary technician program accredited by the AVMA or from a foreign veterinary program approved by the AVMA.

California enacts lead ammunition ban

California became the first state to ban lead ammunition for hunting with the signing of AB 711. Proponents cited studies showing that lead ammunition is harmful to the environment and wildlife, while opponents argued that the research conclusions are based on incomplete studies and that eliminating lead ammunition is a backdoor political move to place stringent regulations on hunters at a time when alternative ammunition is not available.

Washington State voters defeat GMO label initiative

On Nov. 5, Washington State voters appeared to have defeated a ballot initiative that called for foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) to be labeled. The vote was roughly 54% to 46%, with a large number of mail-in ballots still to be counted. Initiative 522 would have made Washington the first in the nation to require such labeling, likely providing momentum to other states to follow suit. In 2012, California voters defeated a similar measure. Connecticut and Maine have passed laws that would require food manufacturers to label products that contain GMO, but neither law will take effect unless several other nearby states adopt similar legislation.  Several countries require GMO labeling. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require foods containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled because it considers them “functionally equivalent” to conventionally grown crops.

Initiative 522 was the most expensive in Washington State history and attracted national attention. The food industry claimed that the initiative would raise food prices and labels would mislead consumers into thinking that products that contain GMO are unhealthy. Supporters argued that consumers have a right to know what is in their food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a large percentage of crops grown by U.S. farmers are genetically engineered, including 90% of the feed corn used for animals.

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.