2019 Legislative Advocacy

The CVMA legislative team worked extensively to represent the veterinary profession on numerous bills this year. Below is a summary of key bills that affect the veterinary profession in California. To view the CVMA’s positions on other bills, visit the Legislative Action Center.

AB 5 (Gonzales) Worker Status: Independent Status – This bill codifies in statute a recent California Supreme Court decision that changes the parameters for qualifying independent contractor worker status in California. The CVMA recognized the huge impact this would have on independent contractor relief veterinarians and traveling specialists in the veterinary profession and was successful in securing an amendment to exclude veterinarians. Criteria in place for determining independent contractor status prior to this law being passed will continue to apply to veterinarians. The Governor signed this bill on September 8, 2019
CVMA Position: Support

AB 528 (Low) – Controlled substances: CURES database – This bill would change the mandated reporting time, for all dispensers of information on controlled substances required in the CURES database, from seven days to “not more than one working day after a controlled substance is dispensed.” For veterinarians who dispense controlled substances to clients in practice, this would create a huge burden of entering specified information every day into the CURES online reporting system. The CVMA worked with the Assembly and Senate Business and Professions Committee consultants as well as the author’s office to secure a provision for veterinarians to continue with the current seven-day reporting requirement. The bill was amended to include this provision on July 3. The Governor signed this bill on October 9, 2019.
CVMA Position: Support

AB 714 (Wood) Opioid Prescription Drugs: Prescribers – This bill makes changes to the current opioid prescription law and would require health care prescribers who dispense or prescribe opioids or benzodiazepines to also offer a naloxone prescription and opioid education to their clients. The CVMA recognized that this proposed legislation, while directed toward human health practitioners, would apply to veterinarians. In meetings with CVMA lobbyists, the Senate Policy Committee consultant recognized the issue and agreed to an exemption for veterinarians in the Senate Business and Professions Committee hearing on June 10, which the author supported. The bill was signed by the Governor on September 5th.
CVMA Position: Neutral

SB 202 (Wilk) Animal Blood Donors – This bill would modify the definition of a commercial blood bank to include the use of existing closed colony dogs as well as community-sourced animals where blood is collected from dogs owned by private citizens. The CVMA supports both models as long as a safe blood supply is ensured. The CVMA has worked closely with the author and the sponsor of this bill to ensure that a safe and adequate blood supply is available in California, while also taking into account animal well-being and public disclosure considerations. We also ensured that the term “guardian” was removed from the bill. The bill was sent to the Governor’s office for his signature. The Governor vetoed this bill. Read CVMA’s letter here.
CVMA Position: Support

SB 627 (Galgiani) Medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis products: veterinary medicine – Current law permits veterinarians to discuss the use of medicinal cannabis for animal patients with clients, but prohibits cannabis recommendations. This bill would permit “qualified” veterinarians to both discuss and recommend the use of medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis products for an animal patient “for any condition for which cannabis or cannabis products provide relief.” Qualified veterinarians would include only licensed veterinarians who have completed a medicinal cannabis continuing education program. The CVMA worked extensively with committee consultants and the author’s office on numerous amendments that remove the “qualified” status for veterinarians, continuing education requirement, and other key changes to the legislation. The bill was held in Assembly and may be heard again next year.
CVMA Position: Support

SB 639 (Mitchell) Medical services: credit or loan – This bill removes deferred interest lines of credit in health provider offices and proposes restrictions to how, where, and when lines of credit may be offered to patients. Veterinary practices commonly accept deferred interest credit lines, such as CareCredit, and report them to be instrumental in providing animal owners with financial options for both elective and emergency procedures for pets. The CVMA is part of a coalition of health care providers that has lobbied the author’s office regarding issues with this legislation. The author accepted numerous amendments that ease the restrictions on these credit options at the Assembly Business and Professions Committee hearing on June 25, which resulted in the CVMA removing its opposition. The bill was signed by the Governor on October 13, 2019.
CVMA Position: Neutral

AB 1230 (Quirk) Veterinary Medicine: declawing – This bill would have restricted veterinarians from performing a declaw procedure on an animal unless the procedure was being performed for a therapeutic purpose. The bill would have required a veterinarian to prepare and file a written statement with the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) if the veterinarian determined that a declawing was necessary for a therapeutic purpose. Veterinarians who failed to file with the VMB within 30 days of performing the procedure would have been subject to license revocation. The CVMA strongly believes that medical decisions should be made by the client in consultation with their veterinarian for the best interest of the animal patient. We successfully defeated this bill. Read CVMA’s letter here.
CVMA Position: Oppose
Bill failed to pass.

AB 366 (Bloom) Animals: blood, blood components & biologics – This bill would have prohibited the use of closed colony dogs and cats for harvesting blood and blood products in California by 2022, thereby forcing the closure of the two colony-based animal blood banks in California. The CVMA recognized that the restrictive nature of this bill would have resulted in major shortages of animal blood in California and would place an untenable burden on veterinary practices to fill the void. After extensive conversation with the author, consultants, and stakeholders, the CVMA was successful in representing the needs of the profession and the author chose not to advance the bill. Read CVMA’s letter here.
CVMA position – Oppose

The CVMA monitored and represented the profession on numerous other bills. For a complete list of bills on the CVMA’s Legislative Action Center click here.

© 2020 California Veterinary Medical Association

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