News From The Capitol: Week 7

News From The Capitol: Week 7

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.


Legislative Days 26-29                                                                                                March 8, 2019

Crossover Day Passes

The critical Crossover Day milestone was Thursday.  While the Senate adjourned shortly before 7pm, the House worked until after 11pm.  Their debate included hate crimes legislation and an abortion measure that was so contentious it threatened to derail the chamber’s remaining business.

Legislators were back to work on Friday, but met only briefly to assign newly-received legislation to committees.  The Capitol was quickly vacated after the chambers adjourned and members will spend a much-needed break at home over the weekend.  Next week, they will be in session Monday through Thursday.  Eleven legislative days remain for members to shepherd bills to final passage.  Adjournment is scheduled for April 2.

These measures remain active after Crossover Day.  Bills that are lost appear at the end of the report and will be removed next week.


Priority Issues

SB 76: Practice Act Updates                                                                Sen. Ellis Black, R-Valdosta

Lost in the Senate Rules Committee

This legislation seeks to make two clean-up changes to the Practice Act the legislature adopted last year.  It adds a veterinary technician as a seventh member of the State Board and rebrands “veterinary technicians” as “registered veterinarian nurses.”  Both amendments come at the request of the Association.

As the session has progressed, it has become clear that the effort to rebrand veterinary technicians lacks the necessary support.  As a result, the bill was not placed on the Senate’s final debate calendar before Crossover Day and is lost for the year. In an effort to move ahead with the provision to add a veterinary technician to the State Board, the Association will work with the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee to incorporate the necessary language into Senate Bill 75, creating the Professional Health Program (described below).


SB 75: Professional Health Program                                                   Sen. Ellis Black, R-Valdosta

Pending in the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee

This legislation allows the state board, via the Secretary of State’s Office, to contract with a professional health program to provide rehabilitative services to impaired veterinarians.  A similar program exists but it limited to physicians and other professionals licensed by the Georgia Composite Medical Board.  This is a priority of the Association’s Wellness Committee.  The bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee