31 May IVMA Legislative Session 2017 Wrap Up

The 2017 Session of the Indiana General Assembly adjourned Sine Die just after Midnight on April 21.  Of the 1,261 bills in introduced this session, 272 passed the General Assembly.  Governor Eric Holcomb signed 271 into law and vetoed one.   The vetoed bill allowed governmental entities (state and local) to charge a fee for public records requests that take more than 2 hours to honor.

The IVMA identified two issues prior to Session that needed to be addressed – membership on the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and the ability to delegate vaccines under direct supervision. IVMA lobbyists worked with the Holcomb administration to include those provisions in the bill for the Professional Licensing Agency.   The bill, HEA 1308, passed and was signed by Governor Holcomb.

After July 1, 2017, any licensed veterinarian in the state may serve on the Board.   Prior to passage, they had to reside in a certain district and faculty of the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine were prohibited from serving.   The new law also allows a veterinarian to delegate vaccines to anyone under their direct supervision.  There was also discussion this session regarding additional funding for the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue.   Ultimately that did not occur.  Senate Bill 82 was also introduced this Session – this would made equine teeth floating exempt from the veterinary practice act. This bill was not heard.

IVMA members need to be aware of the opioid epidemic in Indiana. There were several bills that passed this session dealing with prescribing of controlled substances.  IVMA lobbyists were successful in getting licensed veterinarians exempted from the new laws. However, legislators and law enforcement officials noted that if there starts to be evidence that veterinarians are the source of some of these drugs “hitting the streets”, this will be revisited next year.

Also of note, there are issues that may be assigned to interim study committees this year.  There are in excess of 200 requests for the Legislative Council to consider.  They will meet on May 25, 2017 to announce those issues.  Of most concern to IVMA is HR 3.   The resolution, introduced by Rep. Tim Brown, MD, calls for a study of the impact of extending the sales tax to includ services.   This would include services provided by a veterinarian.   Rep. Brown is the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee which increased the likelihood that such an assignment would be made.

The IVMA Legislative Committee will monitor the Legislative Council for this and other issues and act accordingly.   The legislative presence provided by IVMA to monitor potential impacts to the profession is an important one.  This MEMBER BENEFIT is sometimes forgotten, but it is critically important!