Legislative

Emergency volunteer veterinarians, CVI exemption removal and service animal bills signed into law

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Following the close of the legislative session last month, Gov. Inslee signed veterinary and animal related bills into law. The Uniform Voluntary Health Practitioners Act was enacted, which will allow volunteer health practitioners, including veterinarians, who are licensed and in good standing in another state, to practice in Washington while an emergency declaration is in effect. Regardless of whether the practitioner is licensed in Washington or another state, they must provide services through a host entity, adhere to their scope...

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Legislation across the U.S. affects veterinary medicine

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States continue to work through important veterinary issues including antimicrobial resistance, prescription drug monitoring programs, scope of practice, continuing education, and euthanasia. On the topic of antimicrobial resistance, a bill introduced in Illinois would allow a food-producing animal to receive a medically important antibiotic only if a licensed veterinarian has visited the farm operation within the past 6 months and the antibiotic is deemed necessary to treat or control the spread of a disease. In the face of a growing nation-wide opioid...

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Gender pay equity, sexual harassment, and criminal history disclosure laws adopted by Washington Legislature

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Washington legislation that allows co-workers to freely discuss how much money they’re paid has been signed into law and will become effective mid-June. The new law is aimed at supporting gender pay equity by giving female employees the opportunity to find out whether they’re being undercompensated without fear of retaliation. Amendments made to the existing law apply to employers regardless of the number of employees and prohibit Washington employers from discriminating among employees with similar jobs by providing less wages and...

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Legislative session adjourns – HEAL-WA and opioid bills fail

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The 2018 Washington State Legislature adjourned sine die on Thursday March 8, the first on-time adjournment in several years. WSVMA’s Heal-WA legislation granting veterinarians and veterinary technicians access to the online medical publication program never made it out of the Senate. Despite overwhelming support from legislators, the WSVMA bill couldn’t compete with the over 800 bills introduced into the short 60-day session. The legislation will carry over to the 2019 legislative session where we’ll work for passage again. House Bill (HB)...

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Mid-session legislative report

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Wednesday, February 14 was crossover for bills to pass out of the House of origin. Committee consideration now starts in committees of the opposite house.  Bills must be passed out of committee by February 23. HEAL- WA – WSVMA’s House Bill 2445, which opens access to online medical and veterinary journals for veterinarians and veterinary technicians, passed the House unanimously. It will be heard in the Senate Health Care Committee on February 22. Humane Societies - The WSVMA testified in opposition to...

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Legislative Report – expanded veterinary services by non-profits and opioid bills frame the session

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The 2018 session of the Washington State legislature convened for a 60-day legislative session on Monday January 8. After a 2017 session that required three 30-day special sessions the legislature is committed to adjourn on time in 2018.  To do so, they will be required to work at a very fast pace, and so far, several hundred bills have been introduced, as well as dozens of committee hearings held.  This is different than most sessions where the first week is...

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States consider Emergency Response and Veterinary Opioid Training

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As state legislatures approach the start of the legislative year, lawmakers in several states have begun to pre-file bills and regulations for consideration. Along-with these pre-filed bills, other legislatures have continued to work through the holiday season and have proposed bills and regulations that impact various areas of veterinary medicine. In light of recent environmental disasters, three states- Florida, New York, and Washington - have proposed legislation geared towards emergency preparedness and veterinary care of animals impacted by extreme weather. In...

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Washington paid sick leave for employees begins January 1, 2018

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In November 2016, Washington voters passed Initiative 1433, a ballot measuring concerning labor standards. I-1433 raised the minimum wage last January and starting January 1, 2018, requires all employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The purpose of the initiative is to promote public health, family stability and economic security, balanced with the demands of the workplace. I-1433 directed the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) to adopt and implement rules to carry out and enforce the initiative, including...

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2017 Washington election results, Parshley wins seat on city council

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Democrat Manka Dhingra defeated Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund in election night ballots 55.34% to 44.66%.  Democrats gained a 25-24 majority in the Washington State Senate.  More than $9 million will have been spent on this legislative race, making it the most expensive in state history. Incumbents won in all other legislative elections around the state during this special election. In the race for Seattle Mayor, Jenny Durkan won over Cary Moon 60.02% to 39.38%. Both Dingra and Durkan will take office immediately after...

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Tell Congress to protect Loan Forgiveness Program

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Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which forgives student debt for individuals who have served at least 10 years in the nonprofit or public sectors, is a crucial tool for veterinarians. Many veterinarians who have chosen nonprofit or public sector careers are counting on PSLF, particularly because these careers are often less lucrative than those in the private sector. Now, some members of Congress are considering cutting or eliminating PSLF. This move could devastate veterinarians who are counting on the program and...

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