BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1760
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 9, 2008

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mark Leno, Chair

                  AB 1760 (Galgiani) - As Amended:  March 24, 2008 

          Policy Committee:                              Business and  
          Professions  Vote:                            9 - 0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:              

           SUMMARY  

          This bill makes various changes to the Veterinary Medicine  
          Practice Act and the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB), which  
          governs veterinarians practicing in California. Specifically,  
          this bill: 

          1)Requires the governor to appoint one public member to the VMB.  


          2)Requires the VMB to waive the examinations requirements for  
            out-of-state veterinarians who wish to practice in California  
            and meet certain requirements.

          3)Requires the VMB to offer a licensing examination at least  
            twice a year.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)This bill would increase licensing revenue by approximately  
            $25,000 in the first year, $50,000 in the second year and  
            continuing to grow by $25,000 a year as 100 new veterinarians  
            are licensed each year.

          2)Costs associated with computer programming changes and  
            workload increases would be approximately $85,000 for 2008-09  
            with an on-going annual cost of $70,000.

          3)The Department of Consumer Affairs estimates this will result  
            in an increase of 100 veterinarians in California each year.   
            Currently, approximately 12% of veterinarians treat farm  
            animals.  If the purpose of this bill is to attract more  








                                                                  AB 1760
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            agricultural veterinarians, this legislation would result in  
            12 more of these veterinarians in the state each year with a  
            net annual cost of $3,750 per newly licensed agricultural  
            veterinarian.

           COMMENTS  

           1)Rationale  . This bill is primarily designed to increase the  
            number of veterinarians and veterinary technicians who treat  
            farm animals in California. The sponsors, the Western United  
            Dairymen (WUD), note that there is a lack of agricultural  
            veterinarians in California and it is adversely impacting the  
            dairy industry.  They believe that the shortages are not only  
            due to a decline in the number of graduates, but also because  
            there are no incentives for large animal/agricultural  
            veterinarians to practice in California.  
           
             According to the California Veterinary Medical Association  
            (CVMA), there are approximately 7,500 veterinarians in  
            California and 222 graduate from veterinary schools in the  
            state each year.  The author notes that in order to combat the  
            shortage of agricultural veterinarians it is critical that the  
            state find a way to keep veterinarians who graduate from  
            California's veterinary schools, and to attract veterinarians  
            from other states.

            This bill provides a modest incentive for veterinarians by  
            requiring the VMB to offer the licensing exam more often and  
            by waiving examination requirements for out-of-state  
            veterinarians who wish to relocate to California. However,  
            these incentives are not specifically targeted to agricultural  
            veterinarians, they are available to all veterinarians wishing  
            to practice in the state. 

           2)Large-Animal Veterinarian Shortage  .  The nation is currently  
            facing a shortage of large-animal veterinarians who treat farm  
            animals.  According to recent studies conducted for the  
            American Veterinary Medical Association, it is expected that  
            the demand for "food supply" (agricultural) veterinarians will  
            increase by as much as 14 percent by 2016 and that at the same  
            time the nation will have an ongoing decrease of 4 to 5  
            percent annually in the number of veterinarians willing to  
            treat farm animals.  

            Most veterinarians gravitate toward treating small animals for  








                                                                  AB 1760
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            various reasons. Primarily, small animal veterinarians  
            generally make more money from pet owners that are willing to  
            pay for expensive treatments for sick or injured animals.  
            Ranchers, on the other hand, will tend to choose to slaughter  
            a sick or injured animal rather than invest in costly  
            veterinary care. For veterinarians with large student loans,  
            the ability to make a larger income to pay off those loans  
            could become a necessity.  In addition to the higher earning  
            potential, working with small animals can be less physically  
            demanding for a veterinary.  Treating animals that weigh over  
            1,000 pounds day in and day out can take a significant toll on  
            a veterinarian's health.

            The shortage could directly affect the safety of the nation's  
            food supply because it is veterinarians that are responsible  
            for monitoring the health of the livestock. The recent recall  
            of 143 million pounds of beef from the Hallmark/Weston Meat  
            Packing Company in San Bernardino County has greatly increased  
            the awareness of the vulnerability of the food supply and the  
            need for increased oversight and for more veterinarians  
            willing to provide care for these animals. 

           3)Other States' Legislation  . Currently, 8 states (including Ohio  
            and Pennsylvania) are attempting to address the shortage of  
            agricultural veterinarians by offering student loan  
            forgiveness programs and eight other states are considering  
            similar legislation.


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Julie Salley-Gray / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081