BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  SB 1584|
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                              UNFINISHED BUSINESS


          Bill No:  SB 1584
          Author:   Padilla (D)
          Amended:  8/14/08
          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

           SENATE FLOOR  :  21-15, 5/12/08
          AYES:  Alquist, Calderon, Cedillo, Corbett, Ducheny,  
            Florez, Kehoe, Kuehl, Lowenthal, Migden, Negrete McLeod,  
            Padilla, Perata, Ridley-Thomas, Romero, Scott, Simitian,  
            Steinberg, Torlakson, Wiggins, Yee
          NOES:  Aanestad, Ackerman, Ashburn, Battin, Cogdill,  
            Correa, Cox, Denham, Dutton, Harman, Hollingsworth,  
            Maldonado, Margett, McClintock, Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Machado, Oropeza, Runner, Vincent

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  49-27, 8/18/08 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Veterinary medicine:  fees

           SOURCE  :     Veterinary Medical Board
                                                           CONTINUED





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           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.

           Assembly amendments  require the Veterinary Medical Board  
          (VMB) to appoint a voluntary, advisory, multidisciplinary  
          committee to assist, advise, and make recommendations for  
          the implementation of rules and regulations necessary to  
          ensure proper administration of the Veterinary Medicine  
          Practice Act, specify the membership terms and the  
          composition of the Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT)  
          committee, amends the RVT exam eligibility requirements,  
          require the VMB to prioritize its investigative and  
          prosecutorial resources, establish a priority list for  
          investigative and prosecutorial resources, require the VMB  
          to report annually and make publicly available the number  
          of disciplinary actions it takes, as specified, specify  
          that veterinarians designated by the VMB to review and  
          investigate allegations must be employed by the state  
          either full time or part time and have not been out of  
          practice for more than four years, require the VMB to  
          provide a notice of deficiencies and a reasonable time for  
          compliance prior to further action for any violations found  
          as a result of an inspection, permit the VMB to issue an  
          interim suspension in case where violations represent an  
          immediate threat to the public and animal health and  
          safety, and require the VMB to consider, in making  
          regulations covering the assessment of civil penalties,  
          whether a violation is minor.

           ANALYSIS  :    

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

          2. Requires the VMB to establish an advisory committee on  







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             issues pertaining to the practice of veterinary  
             technicians, to be known as the 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.Requires the VMB to appoint a voluntary, advisory,  
             multidisciplinary committee to assist, advise, and make  
             recommendations for the implementation of rules and  
             regulations necessary to ensure proper administration of  
             the Act.  The committee shall consist of no more than  
             nine members, appointed by the VMB.

           2.Specifies the membership terms and the composition of  
             the RVT committee.

           3.Amends the RVT exam eligibility requirements to permit  
             that education or a combination of education and  







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             clinical experience may constitute the equivalent of the  
             current graduation requirement, as specified.

           4.Increases the regulatory ceiling on certain fees for  
             RVTs, veterinarians, and veterinary premises.

           5.Requires a school or institution to pay for the actual  
             costs of an onsite inspection conducted by the VMB, as  
             specified.

           6.Requires every person registered by the VMB who changes  
             his/her mailing address to notify the VMB of the new  
             mailing address within 30 days of the change.  States  
             that the VMB shall not renew the registration of any  
             person who fails to comply with this section unless the  
             person pays a penalty fee.

           7.Requires the VMB to prioritize its investigative and  
             prosecutorial resources to ensure that the most  
             problematic veterinarians and RVTs are identified and  
             disciplined expeditiously.

           8. Establishes a priority list for investigative and  
             prosecutorial resources.

           9.Requires the VMB to report annually and make publicly  
             available the number of disciplinary actions it takes,  
             as specified.

          10.Requires VMB to provide a notice of deficiencies and a  
             reasonable time for compliance prior to further action  
             for any violations found as a result of an inspection.

          11.Permits the VMB to issue an interim suspension in case  
             where violations represent an immediate threat to the  
             public and animal health and safety.

          12.Requires the VMB to consider, in making regulations  
             covering the assessment of civil penalties, whether a  
             violation is minor.

           Background
           
           Funding Board Operations  .  The VMB licenses and regulates  







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          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 Assembly Appropriations Committee  
          analysis:

          1. Annual special fund revenues of $480,000 from increased  
             fees ($440,000) and additional citations ($40,000).   
             [VMB Contingent Fund]

          2. Special fund costs of $170,000 in 2009-10 and $150,000  
             in 2010-11 for one position to support the advisory  
             committee and for presumed additional citations and  
             appeals related to a more targeted enforcement program.

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  4/29/08 - unable to reverify at time  
          of writing)

          California Veterinary Medical Board (source)

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  4/29/08 - unable to reverify at  
          time of writing)

          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  







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          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  
          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  







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          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.  
           

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  
          AYES:  Aghazarian, Arambula, Beall, Berg, Brownley,  
            Caballero, Charles Calderon, Carter, Coto, Davis, De La  
            Torre, De Leon, DeSaulnier, Dymally, Emmerson, Eng,  
            Evans, Feuer, Fuentes, Furutani, Galgiani, Hancock,  
            Hayashi, Hernandez, Huffman, Jones, Karnette, Krekorian,  
            Laird, Leno, Levine, Lieber, Lieu, Ma, Mendoza, Mullin,  
            Nava, Nunez, Parra, Portantino, Price, Ruskin, Salas,  
            Saldana, Solorio, Swanson, Torrico, Wolk, Bass
          NOES:  Adams, Anderson, Benoit, Berryhill, Cook, DeVore,  
            Duvall, Fuller, Gaines, Garcia, Horton, Houston, Huff,  
            Jeffries, Keene, La Malfa, Maze, Nakanishi, Niello,  
            Plescia, Silva, Smyth, Spitzer, Strickland, Tran,  
            Villines, Walters
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Blakeslee, Garrick, Sharon Runner, Soto


          JJA:do  8/19/08   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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