Sec. 21. 6 V.S.A.
§ 20. VERMONT LARGE ANIMAL VETERINARIAN EDUCATIONAL LOAN REPAYMENT FUND(a) There is created a special fund to be known as the Vermont large animal veterinarian educational loan repayment fund that shall be used for the purpose of ensuring a stable and adequate supply of large animal veterinarians throughout the state. The fund shall be established and held separate and apart from any other funds or monies of the state and shall be used and administered exclusively for the purpose of this section. The money in the fund shall be invested in the same manner as permitted for investment of funds belonging to the state or held in the treasury.(b) The fund shall consist of:(1) Sums appropriated or transferred to it from time to time by the general assembly, the state emergency board, or the joint fiscal committee when the general assembly is not in session.(2) Interest earned from the investment of fund balances.(3) Sums from any other public or private source accepted for the benefit of the fund.(c) The agency shall administer the fund and make sums available for loan repayment awards. The agency may contract with a Vermont nonprofit entity for administration of the program, which shall administer awards in compliance with the requirements of Section 108(f) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Sec. 22. LARGE ANIMAL VETERINARIANS; EDUCATIONAL LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM; PROPOSAL AND REPORT(a) There is created a committee to explore the development of a loan repayment program to recruit and retain licensed veterinarians to meet the existing need for large animal veterinarians throughout the state. The committee shall also consider other incentives and outreach efforts to ensure that Vermonters are able to obtain the necessary education or training to work in this field. The committee shall review available Vermont veterinarian workforce data and consider priorities and criteria on which to base awards. It shall develop recommendations for a loan repayment program, including details concerning the proposed application process. The committee shall identify potential funding sources.(b) The members of the committee shall be:(1) The secretary of agriculture, food and markets or the secretary's designee, who shall serve as chair and shall call the first meeting of the committee on or before July 1, 2009.(2) The Vermont state veterinarian or the state veterinarian's designee.(3) The president of the Vermont veterinary medical association or the president's designee.(4) The secretary of commerce and community development or the secretary's designee.(5) A member of the Vermont workforce development council to be selected by the governor.(6) A representative of the higher education community to be jointly selected by the speaker of the house and the senate committee on committees.(7) The director of the area health education centers program of the University of Vermont or the director's designee.(8) The president of the Vermont student assistance corporation or the president's designee.(c) On or before December 1, 2009, the committee shall present a detailed proposal to the senate and house committees on education and on agriculture outlining recommendations designed to promote the purposes of this section.Sec. 23. EDUCATIONAL LOAN REPAYMENT; 2009 INTERIM(a) If private funds are deposited into the Vermont large animal veterinarian educational loan repayment fund created in Sec. 21 of this act before a loan repayment program is developed and implemented under Sec. 22 of this act, then notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the secretary of agriculture, food and markets may use the money to repay a portion of the outstanding educational loans of one or more licensed veterinarians in exchange for the service commitment to work in the large animal veterinary field in Vermont for a defined number of years, which shall be defined by contract; provided the secretary shall not divulge the identity of the private source or sources of funding to the award recipient. The secretary may enter into a contract with an entity, such as the area health education centers program of the University of Vermont, to help administer the provisions of this section, and may pay the entity for its administrative costs from fund monies. Payment of awards shall be made directly to the educational loan creditor of the award recipient and shall be available only to a veterinarian who:(1) Is licensed in Vermont;(2) Provides large animal veterinarian services in Vermont; and(3) Has outstanding educational debt acquired in the pursuit of an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited college or that exceeds the amount of the loan repayment award.(b) For purposes of this section, "large animal veterinarian" means a doctor of veterinary medicine accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture who spends at least 60 percent of his or her working veterinary hours in Vermont treating or otherwise servicing food animals, including beef or dairy cows, sheep, pigs, poultry, and others identified by the secretary.(c) The secretary shall report to the senate and house committees on education and on agriculture regarding:(1) Private monies received under subsection (a) of this section, within 14 days after receiving the money.(2) The decision to make some or all of the private monies available for educational loan repayment under this section and the criteria on which the award decisions will be made, at least 14 days prior to announcing publicly the availability of the funds.(3) The payment of awards, within 14 days after making payment to the creditor of the award recipient.(d) This section shall take effect on passage and shall remain in effect until June 30, 2010.