BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 107
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 1, 2009

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                Kevin De Leon, Chair

                AB 107 (Galgiani) - As Introduced:  January 12, 2009 

          Policy Committee:                              Business and  
          Professions  Vote:                            10 - 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)Costs associated with computer programming changes and  
            workload increases would be approximately $110,000 from the  
            Veterinary Medical Board Contingent Fund for 2009-10 with an  
            on-going annual cost of $70,000 from the same fund.

          2)This bill would increase licensing revenue by approximately  
            $25,000 in the first and second years, growing to $50,000 in  
            2011-12 and continuing to grow by $25,000 a year as 100 new  
            veterinarians are licensed each year.

          3)The Department of Consumer Affairs estimates this will result  








                                                                  AB 107
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            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  
            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) and the California Cattlemen's Association,  
            that there is a lack of agricultural veterinarians in  
            California, which is adversely impacts, the dairy industry.   
            They believe contend 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  








                                                                  AB 107
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            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  
            various reasons.  Small animal veterinarians generally make  
            more money from pet owners who are willing to pay for  
            expensive treatments for sick or injured animals. Ranchers, on  
            the other hand, tend 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 is less physically demanding.  

            The shortage could directly affect the safety of the nation's  
            food supply as veterinarians 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, eight 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.

           4)Prior Legislation  . This bill is virtually identical to AB 1760  
            from 2008 that was vetoed due to the late passage of the  
            2008-09 budget.  In the message the governor wrote, "I am only  
            signing bills that are the highest priority for California.  
            This bill does not meet that standard and I cannot sign it at  
            this time." 


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