State Legislative Update- September 2013

State Legislative Update
Prepared by Department of State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
AVMA Communications Division
September 16, 2013
State Legislative Update September 2013 
New Illinois laws on emergency dispensing and sale of unfit pets
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law H.B. 2517, which extends the state’s veterinary practice act for an additional 10 years. The legislation makes many changes to the law and adds a provision allowing a veterinarian to dispense up to five days’ worth of noncontrolled-substance medication or up to three days’ worth of controlled-substance medication in an emergency situation, even in the absence of a traditional veterinarian-client-patient relationship. There are several conditions for the emergency dispensing, including unavailability of the prescribing veterinarian or if the client is not in reasonable proximity to the initial prescriber to obtain a refill in a timely manner.
Gov. Quinn also signed into law S.B. 1631, requiring pet stores to give purchasers of dogs or cats a refund or replacement for animals that are later determined to be unfit for sale due to illness or disease.  Pet owners may be reimbursed for the cost of veterinary care for diagnosis and treatment of the dog or cat, not to exceed the purchase price, if they keep the animal and a veterinarian determines it was sick or diseased when sold. The new law also requires pet stores to report any outbreak of diseases to the state Department of Agriculture and inform customers if a quarantine is declared.
New Jersey passes laws on animal cruelty and veterinary students’ work
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie approved S. 1303 and A. 495, which make significant revisions in the definitions and penalties for animal-cruelty offenses, including those against dogs used in law enforcement or search and rescue. Gov. Christie also signed S. 2504, which exempts work performed by veterinary students from the definition of the practice of veterinary medicine, if done under instruction or supervision of a licensed veterinarian.     
Regulatory update
In updating and clarifying its regulations, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners ruled that for purposes of establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship, a veterinarian can obtain sufficient knowledge of an animal by making medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises on which the animal is kept only if the animal is a member of a herd. The board defines “herd” as a “group of animals of the same species, managed as a group and confined to a specific geographic location” but may not include “dogs, cats, any animal in individual training, or any animal that competes as an individual.”
The board rejected the argument that there should be a separate standard of care for veterinarians working in shelters to allow them to administer core vaccines without a veterinarian individually examining each animal. According to the board’s commentary, anything less than standard veterinary care in the shelter context will only serve to defeat the fundamental public purpose of a shelter by exposing the animal-adopting public to diseased and injured animals that have received inadequate veterinary care. The board believed that maintaining the standard of care is particularly important in the shelter context, given the vital role of shelters in protecting the public from abandoned, diseased and injured animals.
Court watch
A federal jury in Texas recently found that the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), the nation’s largest equine breed registry and membership organization, conspired to bar cloned horses from its horse registry and monopolized the U.S. market for high-quality, registered quarter horses. The jury did not award any damages. The plaintiffs in the case, Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture v. American Quarter Horse Association, are a rancher and a joint venture that breed cloned horses, and they claim that their cloned horses are virtually worthless without AQHA registration. Clones and their offspring are not eligible for registration with AQHA. Post-trial proceedings will likely determine the injunctive relief to be issued. AQHA announced its intention to appeal the verdict. 
AVMA at National Conference of State Legislatures
AVMA once again exhibited at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ annual summit, held this year in Atlanta, Ga.  The convention brought together more than 800 legislators from across the country to discuss various topics under debate in state legislatures.  The AVMA had a booth in the exhibit hall and was able, with the help of several local veterinarians, to interact with legislators and legislative staff and discuss with them many veterinary-related issues.  Several legislators heard about animal welfare and pharmacy concerns from AVMA representatives. The goal of the booth was to help educate legislators and staff on issues that affect the practice of veterinary medicine and promote the AVMA and state VMAs as vital sources of information when these topics are considered in legislatures. 
White House opposes breed-specific legislation
The latest evidence that public momentum is growing against breed-specific legislation (BSL) is a recent White House statement that the Obama Administration does not support this type of law. The statement, a response to an anti-BSL petition which received more than 30,000 signatures, states that “research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources,” and instead recommends the community-based approach favored by the AVMA to prevent dog bites. The statement relies on research and findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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.