BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  SB 1584|
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 1584
          Author:   Padilla (D)
          Amended:  As introduced
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE BUS., PROF. & ECON. DEVEL. COMMITTEE :  5-3, 4/14/08
          AYES:  Ridley-Thomas, Calderon, Corbett, Simitian, Yee
          NOES:  Aanestad, Denham, Harman
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Florez

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  8-5, 4/28/08
          AYES:  Torlakson, Cedillo, Corbett, Florez, Kuehl,  
            Ridley-Thomas, Simitian, Yee
          NOES:  Cox, Aanestad, Dutton, Runner, Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Ashburn, Oropeza


           SUBJECT  :    Veterinary medicine:  fees

           SOURCE  :     Veterinary Medical Board


           DIGEST  :    This bill increases the fee amount charged for  
          veterinarian licensing, registered veterinary technician  
          registration, registered veterinary technician schools and  
          creates new fees to be paid by these licensees for services  
          provided to them by the Veterinary Medical Board.

           ANALYSIS  :    

           Existing Law
           
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          1. Provides for the licensing and regulation of  
             veterinarians, registered veterinary technicians and  
             veterinary hospitals by the Veterinary Medical Board  
             (VMB) in the Department of Consumer Affairs.

          2. Requires the VMB to establish an advisory committee on  
             issues pertaining to the practice of veterinary  
             technicians, to be known as the Registered Veterinary  
             Technician (RVT) Committee.

          3. Provides that the duties of the RVT Committee include,  
             among other things, advising and assisting the VMB in:

             A.    The examination of applicants for veterinary  
                technician registration.

             B.    The inspection and approval of schools.

             C.    Developing regulations to establish animal  
                health care tasks and the appropriate degree of  
                supervision.

          4. Requires the VMB to set (by regulation) and collect  
             various fees, including, but not limited to, a licensing  
             examination fee for veterinarians, a registration fee  
             for veterinary technicians, a diversion program  
             registration fee, and an application fee for schools  
             seeking approval of a registered veterinary technician  
             curriculum.

          5. Requires the VMB to establish diversion program  
             (Program) criteria and provides that the Program cannot  
             accept more than 100 participants.  Additionally,  
             authorizes the VMB to establish diversion evaluation  
             committees (DEC) and provides for the DEC composition  
             and duties.

          This bill:

           1.Increases the maximum fee and creates new fees the VMB  
             may charge for various licensing and regulatory  
             activities as follows:

             A.    Registered veterinarian technician application  







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                exam fee from $200 to $350.

             B.    Initial registered veterinarian technician  
                registration fee from $100 to $350.

             C.    Biennial registered veterinarian technician  
                renewal fee from $100 to $350.

             D.    School application fee from cost of approval  
                process to a flat $300 fee plus actual cost.

             E.    Failure to report a change in mailing address  
                from $15 to $25 for veterinarians and new fee for  
                registered veterinarian technicians.

             F.    Diversion program registration fee from $1,600  
                to $4,000.

             G.    Veterinarian application exam fee from $100 to  
                $350.

             H.    Board exam fee for veterinarians from $150 to  
                $350.

             I.    Veterinary Medicine Practice Act exam for  
                veterinarians from $50 to $100.

             J.    Initial veterinarian license fee from $250 to  
                $500.

             K.    Biennial veterinarian renewal fee from $250 to  
                $500.

             L.    Veterinarian temporary license fee from $125 to  
                $250.

             M.    Veterinary premise fee from $100 to $400.

             N.    Issuance of a duplicate veterinarian license  
                from $10 to $25.

             O.    Duplication or other services (other than a  
                license) from making a charge to the cost of  
                rendering the service.







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             P.    Delinquency fee from $25 to $50.


           2.Requires registered veterinarian technicians to notify  
             the VMB of any changes to their mailing address within  
             30 days of the change.

           3.Updates various code sections to reflect the change in  
             the name of the technician from animal health technician  
             to registered veterinary technician.

           Background
           
           Funding Board Operations  .  The VMB licenses and regulates  
          approximately 17,000 licensees including, approximately  
          9,800 veterinarians, 4,200 registered veterinary  
          technicians and 2,600 veterinary hospitals.  The VMB has  
          remained within its statutory limits and has not sought  
          legislation to increase the fee ceilings since 1992 (in  
          over 16 years).  According to the VMB, it increased its  
          fees through the regulatory process on October 1, 2007, to  
          the current statutory maximums, not to fund new programs,  
          but to cover increasing costs of existing business  
          operations.  The fee increase in October 2007 was minimal  
          due to the current statutory fee ceilings and is not  
          sufficient to offset a dwindling Contingent Fund. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  Yes   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee analysis:

                          Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

           Major Provisions           2008-09    2009-10     2010-2011   Fund  

          Fee revisions       $218      $436      $436      Special*
          (revenues)

          *Veterinary Medical Board Contingent Fund

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  4/29/08)








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          California Veterinary Medical Board (source)

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  4/29/08)

          California Veterinary Medical Association

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the Veterinary  
          Medical Board, it understands that fee increases impact  
          business, the profession and consumers and does not propose  
          increases without considering all options.  However, now,  
          based on projections of a Contingent Fund deficiency by the  
          year 2011-2012, outlined in fund conditions projections  
          prepared by the Budget office of the Department of Consumer  
          Affairs, the VMB believes it must request an increase in  
          its fee ceilings.  The VMB states that the proposed fee  
          ceilings are based on an annualized inflation rate of three  
          percent.

          The VMB is mandated by law to maintain a minimum of three  
          months of revenue in its Contingent Fund to insure funding  
          for existing programs and to offset increases in the cost  
          of doing business.  For example, according to the VMB, in  
          the last few years the hourly rate for the Office of the  
          Attorney General increased from $139 to $158, increasing  
          the annual expenditure from $240,000 to $425,000.  The VMB  
          points out that other expenditure increases over the last  
          few years include examination development costs, employee  
          compensation and benefits, retirement, worker's  
          compensation, rent and advancements in information  
          technology systems.  Additionally, a transition to online  
          licensing, scheduled to begin in 2010, required a  
          conversion to an automated Applicant Tracking System and a  
          one-time cost in 2007 of $83,000.  Operating cost increases  
          are deducted directly out of the VMB's Contingent Fund.

          According to the VMB, it is continually evaluating ways to  
          control or reduce expenditures and maintain a viable  
          Contingent Fund.  Currently, the VMB has reduced the number  
          of examination development workshops each year and is  
          considering the possibility of using the national  
          veterinary technician examination instead of a California  
          examination.

          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    According to its letter of  







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          opposition, the California Veterinary Medical Association  
          (CVMA) indicates it is unable to support this bill at this  
          time due to significant concerns with the several facets of  
          the VMB's performance.

          The CVMA states it has had ongoing frustrations with the  
          VMB's inspection and enforcement program.  In particular,  
          it is concerned about the fact that while veterinarians  
          must comply with the law, the VMB's inspectors and  
          consultants have been unable to apply consistent, clear,  
          and fair enforcement standards to countless cases.  Thus,  
          the CVMA argues that the fee increase could reinforce the  
          current, defective system of enforcement practice

          The other main concern the CVMA has with the Board is the  
          dominance of the RVT Committee.  In particular, it is the  
          CVMA's contention that the RVT Committee has been  
          significantly exceeding its directive and the CVMA is  
          concerned that the new fees could be used to bolster the  
          Committee's current controversial legislative and  
          regulatory platform.

          Finally, the CVMA points out that in many cases, the bill  
          proposes to raise the fee caps by double if not triple the  
          current level while the VMB has not spelled out how they  
          plan to utilize the various fee increases.  Therefore, the  
          CMVA indicates it opposes this bill until it has a better  
          understanding of the need for the fees, and the way they  
          will be applied to address consumer protection and proper  
          enforcement.  
           

          JJA:do  4/29/08   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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