Take Action – Tell Congress to oppose mandatory prescription writing 

Tell Congress to oppose mandatory prescription writing! On February 10, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT-4th) reintroduced the so-called “Fairness to Pet Owners Act” (H.R. 4023). Like its predecessor in the previous Congress, H.R. 1406, the legislation would require a veterinarian to provide a client with a written prescription for domesticated household animals, whether or not requested by the client. The veterinarian would be prohibited from charging for the prescription or asking a client to sign a liability waiver related to writing the prescription. 

The legislation, cosponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3rd), was referred to the House Energy & Commerce Committee. While currently reviewing the legislation, the AVMA was vehemently opposed to similar language in the 112th Congress.

It is burdensome and unnecessary to require a written prescription be provided, regardless of whether or not the client is having the prescription filled by the veterinarian. Clients already have the flexibility to fill a prescription at their veterinary clinic or off-site at a pharmacy of their choice. The AVMA is supportive of a client’s right to choose where they have their prescription filled.

At the same time, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is working on a report with its findings and recommendations following a public workshop it held in October 2012, which examined the competition and consumer protection issues in the pet medications industry. Veterinarians and the AVMA participated as panelists throughout the workshop. It seems premature to consider a “solution,” such as this sweeping federal mandate, prior to publication of the report and clear identification of whether a problem actually exists.

Please contact your House of Representatives’ member in opposition to the Fairness to Pet Owners Act (H.R. 4023) today!

Take Action – Tell Congress veterinarians must be able to legally carry controlled substances to treat our nation's animals 

U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Angus King (I-Maine) introduced the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, S. 1171. This bipartisan legislation will allow veterinarians to legally carry and dispense controlled substances to protect the health and welfare of the nation’s animals, ensure public safety, and safeguard the nation’s food supply. 

Veterinarians and U.S. Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) introduced companion legislation, H.R. 1528 and we asked you to contact your Representatives to voice your support for this issue. More than 10,000 of you took action.

We need your support again. Tell your U.S. Senators TODAY that veterinarians must be able to legally carry and use controlled substances for the health and welfare of the nation’s animals, to safeguard public safety and to protect the nation’s food supply.

This legislation amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) which currently prohibits veterinarians from transporting controlled substances to treat animal patients outside of their registered locations.

Veterinarians treat multiple species of animals in a variety of settings. Unfortunately, the CSA makes it illegal for veterinarians to take and use controlled substances outside of the locations where they are registered, often their clinics or homes.

This means that it is illegal for veterinarians to carry and use vital medications for pain management, anesthesia and euthanasia on farms, in house calls, in veterinary mobile clinics, or ambulatory response situations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which enforces the law, has informed organized veterinary medicine that without a statutory change, veterinarians are in violation of the CSA and cannot legally provide complete veterinary care. The DEA has already notified veterinarians in some states that they are in violation of the law.

Tell your Senators that veterinarians need to legally be able to transport controlled substances to the locations of the animal patients, not only for the health and welfare of the nation’s animals, but for public safety. Support S.1171, the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, NOW

Governor Signs WSVMA immunity legislation 


May 15, 2013 – Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law Substitute Senate Bill 5102, WSVMA’s legislation granting veterinarians immunity from criminal and civil liability for good faith reporting of animal cruelty. Sen. Kirk Pearson, 39th legislative district, was the bill’s sponsor. WSVMA member and representative from the 35th district, Dr. Kathy Haigh, sponsored the House version, HB 1186.

A veterinarian's immunity will be limited to situations where the veterinarian receives no financial benefit from the suspected animal cruelty case, beyond payment for services rendered prior to making a report of suspected animal cruelty. The “no financial benefit” clause was added to the bill after two convicted animal abusers testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee that veterinarians who report abuse gain financially by making false reports and then profiting from the care of seized animals.

Passage of the bill has been a longtime goal of the WSVMA Animal Welfare Committee and Executive Board. It was originally planned to be introduced during the 2012 legislative session but challenging the Prescription Monitoring law became more critical as veterinary practices struggled to comply with a burdensome new reporting requirement.

The law takes effect July 28, 2013.

Caption of the photo: (l to r) WSVMA exec VP Candace Joy, Sen. Kirk Pearson, WSVMA legislative advocate Greg Hanon, Gov. Jay Inslee, WSVMA first VP Dr. Erin Hicks, and two of Sen. Pearson’s staff members.


2013 WSVMA Legislative Reports

provided by Greg Hanon, WSVMA Legislative Advocate

Wee One - January 18, 2013
Week Two - January 25, 2013
Week Three - February 1, 2013
Week Four - February 8, 2013
Week Five - February 15, 2013
Week Six - February 22, 2013
Week Seven - March 1, 2013
Week Eight - March 8, 2013
Week Nine - March 15, 2013
Week Ten - March 22, 2013
Week Eleven - March 29, 2013
Week Thirteen - April 12, 2013
Week Fourteen - April 19, 2013

Legislative Reports Archive - View past years Legislative Reports.

Recent Legislative Successes

WSVMA's Immunity Legislation passes

NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. A new section is added to chapter 16.52 RCW to read as follows:
A veterinarian lawfully licensed in this state to practice veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry who reports, in good faith and in the normal course of business, a suspected incident of animal cruelty that is punishable under this chapter to the proper authorities is immune from liability in any civil or criminal action brought against such veterinarian for reporting the suspected incident. The immunity provided in this section applies only if the veterinarian receives no financial benefit from the suspected incident of animal cruelty beyond charges for services rendered prior to the veterinarian making the initial report."

EFFECT: Provides that the immunity does not apply if the veterinarian benefits financially from the suspected animal cruelty, aside from payment for services provided prior to reporting.

WSVMA’s Prescription Monitoring Program legislation signed in to law

Governor Chris Gregoire signed WSVMA’s Substitute Senate Bill (SSB) 6105 into law on March 29, 2012, exempting veterinarians from the current Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) requirements and establishing a new program for reporting the dispensing of controlled substances. The new law goes into effect June 7, 2012. Veterinary practices can stop submitting reports as of June 7 while a new program is developed and put into place.

The amended law directs the WS Department of Health (DOH) and the Veterinary Board of Governors to work on the new program. When the WSVMA met with legislative staff at DOH to discuss moving forward, it was agreed that the WSVMA would bring forth a list of recommendations to be considered.

It will take twelve months or more to develop the program’s framework and see it through the public rulemaking process, all but ensuring that reporting will be on hiatus until sometime in 2013. Once the rulemaking is finalized next year, reporting will begin again, only it will likely be on a quarterly basis.

With the new program, reporting will once again be to Health Information Designs, Inc. (HID). There will be an option to report by paper means and the mechanism to do that will be developed along with the other reporting guidelines. One of the biggest frustrations with the current model has been with reporting veterinary information to a system designed for human patients. The WSVMA will work with DOH to determine which client/patient/drug information is appropriate for veterinary practices to report rather than trying to adapt our information to their current fields.

Technician Bill 2470 Signed into Law

The WSVMA bill that changes veterinary technician training made its way to the Governor’s desk on March 18 for signing after passing both the House and Senate. Senate Bill 6745 eliminates on-the-job training for technician licensure as of July 1, 2015, giving those who wish to get practical experience a full five years to complete it before sitting for the national exam. Most importantly, passing the bill allows continued use of the Veterinary Technician National Exam in the state of Washington. Had the bill not passed, graduating technicians or those completing five years of training would not be able to sit for the exam as of the end of 2010.

WSVMA successful in passing legislation – Governor Gregoire signs bill into law

House Bill 1271 Regarding the preparing and administration of drugs by registered or licensed veterinary personnel passed the legislature and was signed into law this afternoon by Governor Chris Gregoire. The WSVMA worked with the Veterinary Board of Governors and the Board of Pharmacy to draft the legislation that closes a loophole in the law that has prevented licensed veterinary technicians the ability to prepare and administer legend drugs and controlled substances under the supervision of a veterinarian. Letters from the WSVMA and the Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians were sent to Governor Gregoire highlighting the pertinent points of the bill and encouraging her to sign it into law. 

Sincere appreciation goes to Dr. Kathy Haigh, veterinarian and state representative who sponsored the bill and lent her time and support in testifying and assisting the WSVMA in its successful passage and Greg Hanon, WSVMA’s Legislative Advocate, who was instrumental in shepherding the bill through the process. Thanks also go to Dr. Debi Wallingford, WSVMA President, Dr. Harmon Rogers from the Veterinary Board of Governors, Department of Health staff, and to Dr. Carrie La Jeunesse, WSVMA President-Elect, who took the time to travel to Olympia to testify before the House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources.



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