BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 317


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          Date of Hearing:  April 21, 2015


                   ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS


                                Susan Bonilla, Chair


          AB 317  
          (Maienschein) - As Amended March 26, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Veterinary medicine:  temporary shelter facility.


          SUMMARY:  Exempts an organization, that establishes a temporary  
          shelter facility for the purpose of providing veterinary medical  
          care, shelter and food and water during a state of emergency by  
          a veterinarian licensed in another state, from a premises  
          registration permit if the shelter meets certain conditions,  
          including posting a notice about the use of a temporary shelter,  
          complying with sanitary standards and ceasing operation within  
          60 days of establishment. 


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Permits a health care practitioner licensed in another state  
            or territory of the United States (US) who offers or provides  
            health care for which he or she is licensed, if the health  
            care is provided only during a state of emergency as  
            specified, when an emergency overwhelms the response  
            capabilities of California health care practitioners and only  
            upon the request of the Director of the State Emergency  
            Medical Services Authority (EMSA).  (Business and Professions  
            Code (BPC) Section 900)
          2)Requires all premises where veterinary medicine, veterinary  








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            dentistry and veterinary surgery are being practiced to be  
            registered with the Veterinary Medical Board (VMB).  (BPC  
            Section 4853)


          3)Defines "premises" as a building, kennel, mobile unit or  
            vehicle as specified.  (BPC Section 4853)


          4)Requires all premises where veterinary medicine, veterinary  
            dentistry or veterinary surgery is practiced, and all  
            instruments, apparatus and apparel used in connection with  
            those practices, to be kept clean and sanitary at all times  
            and conform to minimum standards established by the VMB.  (BPC  
            Section 4854)


          5)Authorizes the VMB to suspend or revoke registration of a  
            veterinary premise when the licensee manager, as specified,  
            ceases to become responsible for management of the registered  
            premises and no substitution is available, or when the  
            licensee manager's license has been suspended or revoked.   
            (BPC Section  4853.6(a)(b))


          6)Permits the VMB to inspect, at any time, the premises on which  
            veterinary medicine, veterinary dentistry or veterinary  
            surgery is practiced.  However, the VMB's inspection authority  
            does not extend to premises that are not registered with the  
            VMB.  (BPC Section 4809.5)


          7)Defines "State of war emergency" to mean the condition which  
            exists immediately, with or without a Governor's proclamation,  
            whenever the state or nation is attacked by an enemy of the US  
            or upon a warning from the federal government indicating that  
            such an enemy attack is probable or imminent.  (Government  
            Code (GC) Section 8558).  









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          8)Defines "State of emergency" to mean the duly proclaimed  
            existence of conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the  
            safety of persons and property within the state caused by such  
            conditions as air pollution, fire, flood, storm, epidemic,  
            riot, drought, sudden and severe energy shortage, plant or  
            animal infestation or disease, the Governor's warning of an  
            earthquake or volcanic prediction, an earthquake, or other  
            conditions, other than conditions resulting from a labor  
            controversy or conditions causing a "state of war emergency,"  
            which, by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely to be  
            beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and  
            facilities of any single county, city and county, or city and  
            require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions  
            to combat, or with respect to regulated energy utilities, a  
            sudden and severe energy shortage requires extraordinary  
            measures beyond the authority vested in the California Public  
            Utilities Commission.  (GC Section 8558)



          9)Defines "Local emergency" to mean the duly proclaimed  
            existence of conditions of disaster or of extreme peril to the  
            safety of persons and property within the territorial limits  
            of a county, city and county, or city, caused by such  
            conditions as air pollution, fire, flood, storm, epidemic,  
            riot, drought, sudden and severe energy shortage, plant or  
            animal infestation or disease, the Governor's warning of an  
            earthquake or volcanic prediction, an earthquake, or other  
            conditions, other than conditions resulting from a labor  
            controversy, which are or are likely to be beyond the control  
            of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of that  
            political subdivision and require the combined forces of other  
            political subdivisions to combat, or with respect to regulated  
            energy utilities, a sudden and severe energy shortage requires  
            extraordinary measures beyond the authority vested in the  
            California Public Utilities Commission.  (GC Section 8558)









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          THIS BILL:


          1)Exempts an organization that establishes a temporary shelter  
            facility, in order to provide veterinary medical care,  
            shelter, and food and water during a state of emergency by a  
            veterinarian, who is regularly licensed from another state,  
            from a premises registration requirement if the following  
            conditions are met:


             a)   A notice is posted in a conspicuous location stating  
               that the temporary shelter facility is being used for the  
               diagnosis and treatment of animals affected by the state of  
               emergency and that the diagnosis and treatment is provided  
               by a veterinarian who is licensed in another state or  
               territory of the US;


             b)   The temporary shelter facility complies with sanitary  
               requirements, as specified; and,


             c)   The temporary shelter ceases operations within 60 days  
               after its establishment unless the VMB grants an extension  
               of this date to protect the public health and safety of the  
               animals within the temporary shelter.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.  This bill is keyed fiscal by the  
          Legislative Counsel.  


          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose.  This bill is sponsored by the  American Society for  
            the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  (ASPCA).  According to  








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            the author, "?an overwhelming number of Americans reported on  
            a recent poll that they would not evacuate their homes during  
            a disaster if it means leaving their pets behind.  It is  
            important that we authorize animal welfare responders to  
            establish temporary facilities to ensure the health and safety  
            of Californians as well as their animals. 

            Mid-disaster is no time to try to grapple with these  
            logistical issues - [this bill] will make California prepared  
            to evacuate every person and every pet when confronted by our  
            next wildfire, flood, mudslide or other major disaster."


          2)Background.  The author notes that 2015 marks the 10th  
            anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  The disaster highlighted  
            awareness across the nation about the need to deploy resources  
            to provide services for displaced or lost animals including  
            proper care and shelter during an emergency.  According to the  
            sponsor, in the event of Hurricane Sandy, many individuals had  
            to move to temporary shelters which did not always allow  
            animals.  The ASPCA reports that it established temporary  
            shelters to house those animals along with stray animals.  


            This bill aims to make it clear that an organization seeking  
            to establish a temporary shelter facility, for the purpose of  
            animal care during a state of emergency, as determined by the  
            appropriate authority, will be exempt from the current  
            premises requirements for veterinary care facilities as long  
            as specific conditions are met.  


            Veterinary Medical Board.  The VMB's mission is to protect  
            consumers and animals through development and maintenance of  
            professional standards, licensing of veterinarians, registered  
            veterinary technicians and premises, and diligent enforcement  
            of the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.  To that end, the VMB  
            licenses and regulates veterinarians, registered veterinary  
            technicians, veterinary hospitals and mobile practices.  








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            Under current law, BPC Section 4853 requires all premises  
            where veterinary medicine is practiced to obtain a premises  
            permit from the VMB.  There are currently over 3000 licensed  
            premises in California and more than 11,000 licensed  
            veterinarians.  In order to obtain the premises permit,  
            applicants must submit an application which needs to include  
            the type of practice, the number of employees, the business  
            model, business owner information and a $200 registration fee.  
             The VMB reports that the application process for a premises  
            permit takes between three and four weeks.  In the case of a  
            declared state of emergency, this process could be viewed as  
            prohibitive for organizations to apply for and receive the  
            appropriate premises license currently required to provide  
            veterinary services.  


            In order to alleviate the potential barrier for organizations  
            to establish temporary shelters for the sole purpose of  
            veterinary medical care, shelter, food and water for emergency  
            animal assistance, this bill would exempt organizations from  
            having a premises permit as long as they post a notice that  
            the shelter is temporary, it complies with the sanitation  
            standards under existing law and the shelter ceases to exist  
            within 60 days after its establishment unless the VMB grants a  
            specific exemption.  


            As highlighted on the website,  
             http://www.ready.gov/caring-animals  , most shelters for people  
            do not allow animals due to public health reasons; therefore,  
            pet emergency planning is necessary.  As written, in order for  
            a temporary shelter to be established without the proper  
            premises permit, this bill would require a declaration of a  
            state of emergency order as defined in GC Section 8858.  


            Emergency Declarations.  The Governor has the authority to  








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            issue emergency declarations for state of emergencies and  
            state of war emergencies.  Local emergencies are declared by  
            the local governing body of a city, county or city and county.  
             Under current law, emergencies may be declared for multiple  
            reasons, including fires, floods, earthquakes, and storms or  
            riots, among others.  Under the provisions of this bill, an  
            organization would be authorized to establish a temporary  
            shelter and be exempt from the premises requirement for any  
            state of emergency declaration ordered as defined in GC 8558.   



            Disasters and Animals.  As noted, the Hurricane Katrine  
            disaster of 2005 heightened the awareness and need for  
            effective emergency plans at the local, state and federal  
            level, including emergency plans for pets.  As a result, the  
            Federal Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of  
            2006 was passed, which amended the Stafford Disaster Relief  
            and Emergency Assistance Act to include that state and local  
            emergency preparedness planning address the needs of  
            individuals with household pets and service animals following  
            a major disaster or emergency.  In addition, the need for pet  
            care in the event of emergencies led several animal welfare  
            and animal care organizations to establish disaster response  
            teams to provide emergency assistance including the ASCPA and  
            the Veterinary Medical Association among others.  


            In the event of a declared state of emergency, this bill would  
            authorize temporary shelter facilities for the purpose of  
            providing veterinary medical care, shelter and food and water  
            to operate in California for a limited period of time without  
            a premises permit as required for all other animal veterinary  
            care services.  


          3)Current Related Legislation.  AB 316 (Maienschein) of the  
            current legislative session, permits a veterinarian licensed  
            in another state to be called into California by law  








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            enforcement, animal control or a humane officer, to attend to  
            cases of animal cruelty or animal fighting as requested and  
            permits the establishment of temporary shelters for the  
            purpose of assisting in the investigation.  STATUS: This bill  
            is pending in the Assembly Committee on Business and  
            Professions.  


          4)Previous Related Legislation.  AB 1810 (Hayashi), Chapter 538,  
            Statutes of 2010, exempted from liability veterinarians or  
            registered veterinarian technicians who provide services  
            during any state of war emergency, a state of emergency, or  
            local emergency, among numerous other provisions.


          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:


          The  American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals   
          writes in support, "[this bill] clarifies existing disaster  
          response law to ensure that veterinarians licensed in another  
          state that have been called on by California to respond to a  
          declared emergency have the ability to establish temporary  
          animal shelters.  [BPC Section] 900 authorizes the CalEMSA to  
          request health professionals from other states to assist during  
          a declared emergency.  However, it is unclear whether that  
          section authorizes veterinarians to establish temporary shelters  
          to house displaced animals."


          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION:


          None on file. 


          










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          POLICY ISSUE:





          As currently written, this bill will exempt organizations that  
          establish a temporary shelter facility to provide veterinary  
          medical care, shelter, food and water during a state declared  
          emergency by a veterinarian licensed in another state to be  
          exempt from the premises permit required by existing law.  





          However, it is unclear if an organization that establishes a  
          temporary facility for veterinary medical care after a declared  
          emergency would be exempt from the premises requirement if the  
          organization used California-licensed veterinarians.  The author  
          may wish to consider clarifying that a temporary shelter  
          established after a declaration of an emergency could be exempt  
          from the premises permit if they used a California-licensed  
          veterinarian as well.  


          


          AMENDMENT:  





          As currently written, this bill permits a temporary shelter to  








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          exist for the sole purpose of providing veterinary medical care  
          in the event of a state-declared emergency and permits the care  
          of those animals to be conducted by a veterinarian who is  
          regularly licensed in another state.  In order to make it clear  
          that the veterinarian practicing from another state has an  
          active license and has not been disciplined, the author may wish  
          to include a provision that the veterinary license be in good  
          standing and not be subject to disciplinary actions in another  
          state. 





          On page 2, line 7, after "licensed" insert:  in good standing  


          


          REGISTERED SUPPORT:


          


          American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  
          (sponsor)  


          Contra Costa Humane Society


          RedRover


          Tony La Russ's Animal Rescue Foundation










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          REGISTERED OPPOSITION:


          None on file. 




          Analysis Prepared by:Elissa Silva / B. & P. / (916) 319-3301