News From The Capitol: Week 1

News From The Capitol: Week 1

Laws that can negatively impact veterinarians, animals, or animal health should never be passed. Your GVMA membership gives our profession a voice. Together, we’re able to keep veterinary medicine in our state uncompromised. 

Settling In         

January 18, 2019                                          

The legislature convened for the first day of the 2019 session on Monday.  The largely organizational day culminated with the swearing-in of Governor Brian Kemp, other constitutional officers, and newly elected members of the House and Senate.

As the week concluded, everyone was settling into their new positions.  Kemp vowed unity and unveiled his priorities during three major addresses: his inauguration speech on Monday, his address to the business community on Wednesday and his first State of the State report on Thursday.  Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan was calm and determined as his presided over the Senate.  And newly sworn-in legislators took to the podium during morning orders to speak their mind.

Schedule Announced

The legislature can meet up to forty working days and one of the House and Senate’s first orders of business was to set a schedule through legislative day 11, which will be Friday, February 8.  Next week the legislature will not officially meet but will begin budget deliberations, starting with funding recommendations by Kemp and his team.  They will reconvene on January 28.

Committee Membership Update

As is customary at the state of each legislative biennial, a number of changes are made to committees.  On the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa) maintains his membership.  Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla) moves off the committee and is replaced by two newly elected metro Atlanta legislators: Zahra Karinshak (D-Duluth) and Sheikh Rahman (D-Lawrenceville).  Other members include Vice Chairman Lee Anderson (R-Grovetown), Secretary Ellis Black (R-Valdosta), Bill Heath (R-Bremen), Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge), Freddie Powell Sims (D-Dawson) and Larry Walker (R-Perry).

The House was still finalizing committee assignments as of this writing; they will be included on the next legislative report.

Priority Issues

The profession is gearing up for another proactive legislation session.  While bills have not been formally introduced, the Association is preparing to pursue passage of the following issues:

  • Adding a veterinary technician to the state board. This was inadvertently left out of the comprehensive practice act update from last year.
  • Creating a professional health program to aid in recovery efforts of impaired veterinarians.
  • Rebranding “veterinary technicians” as “veterinary nurses” to reflect their current role and responsibilities in patient care.
  • Changing regulatory or statutory language to allow veterinarians to dispense non-controlled drugs from a hospital supply in emergency care situations. The GVMA is actively working with the Georgia Board of Pharmacy and the Georgia Pharmacy Association on this effort.


Veterinary Medicine Day at the Capitol

Wednesday, January 30 is Veterinary Medicine Day at the state capitol.  Make plans to join colleagues for a fun and informative day on the hill.  Programming begins around 8am and will wrap up mid-afternoon.  Go to to register.