NYSVMS 2022 End of Session Update
The New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYSVMS) represents thousands of veterinarians across the state and is the acknowledged and respected voice for the profession of veterinary medicine in New York State. Our mission is to protect, promote, and advance the science and profession of veterinary medicine and to work to ensure that New Yorkers have access to the highest caliber veterinary care available.
The NYSVMS Government Relations Committee, in collaboration with legislative counsel and the Grassroots Legislative Network (GRLN), advocates on behalf of the profession of veterinary medicine by monitoring legislation introduced by the state legislature that has a direct impact on the profession’s practice. NYSVMS held its third lobby day in May 2022. Board members met with Assemblymembers and Senators to discuss issues of importance to veterinarians and veterinary practice in New York State.
The legislative session began in January and most of the focus was on the state budget until the new fiscal year started April 1st; then the legislature’s focus shifted to non-fiscal issues until the session concluded in June.
The 2022 legislative session was the second year of the 2-year legislative session calendar so at the end of the calendar year all bills that have been introduced will “die” and when the legislature returns to session at the beginning of 2023 all bills will need to be reintroduced. Please see below for the status of the bills on the NYSVMS 2022 Legislative Agenda and other items of importance.
Strengthening a Veterinarian’s Ability to Treat Patients in a Timely Manner
NYSVMS continues to work on the issue of ensuring compounded medications are available for dispensing to patients.
NYSVMS strongly supports legislation sponsored by Senator Skoufis (S.4247-A) and Assemblymember Zebrowski (A.6704) that would permit a veterinarian to keep compounded drugs in stock for office use and sale pursuant to a non-patient specific regimen. While this bill did not pass in either the Senate or Assembly this year, NYSVMS continued to have important and productive conversations with legislators and offered amendments that would better articulate the goal of the legislation. NYSVMS has furnished answers to many questions from the legislature about compounding itself and the ability of veterinarians to dispense medications and has shared numerous examples of the challenges veterinarians face when it comes to treating patients with compounded medications. An important development occurred this spring when the FDA released final guidance on animal compounding, but the release of this guidance raised new questions and concerns from the State Education Department. We will continue to meet with sponsors, legislative chairs, and the State Education Department on this important issue and will address all questions and concerns until a final resolution has been reached.
Protecting a Veterinarian’s License to Practice Veterinary Medicine
NYSVMS worked throughout the 2022 session to combat legislation that would restrict or prohibit the performance of specific procedures or the use of particular medicinal protocols:
- Senator Gianaris (S.1125) and Assemblyman Zebrowski (A.2012) continue to sponsor legislation that would prohibit bark softening in dogs unless performed by a veterinarian where the procedure is medically necessary for a dog. NYSVMS strongly believes bark softening is a medical decision which should be left to the sound discretion of fully trained, licensed, and state supervised veterinary professionals operating within appropriate standards of practice. Further, NYSVMS already discourages bark softening unless the procedure is medically necessary for a dog, is a last alternative to euthanasia, or when the animal will be surrendered by the owner if the procedure is not performed. Therefore, NYSVMS believes the determination to perform bark softening should be done on a case-by-case basis where specifics of the situation can be reviewed and evaluated, rather than having a ban placed on the procedure altogether. A new bill, S.9445, was introduced by Senator Gianaris in May 2022; the new legislation contained amendments previously sought by NYSVMS. While the amendments included in S.9445 did not wholly encompass the changes recommended by NYSVMS, it did include most. The Senate passed this legislation, but the Assembly did not pass the bill; NYSVMS will continue to monitor this issue moving forward and to oppose an outright ban on bark softening.
- Legislation that would restrict the use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals (S.2871-A, Senator Kavanagh/A.3493-A, Assemblymember Rosenthal and S.8847/A.10097 by the same sponsors) did not move during the legislative session. These bills have the potential to restrict the practice of food animal veterinarians in a manner that could have a detrimental impact on animal welfare. The bills would also establish an onerous set of reporting requirements. NYSVMS looks forward to continued discussions on these bills and the opportunity to continue to educate legislators about the use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals and the guidelines followed by veterinarians to ensure use only as necessary.
- A bill that would require informed consent for euthanasia and limit the use of intracardiac injection (S.6209, Senator Serrano) never gained an Assembly sponsor and did not move during the 2022 legislative session. This legislation would require extensive conversation with a client whose pet required euthanasia, including discussion of all alternatives available, the benefits and risks of each method, and the negative impacts on an animal. NYSVMS has explained the challenges of this legislation to the sponsor and proposed amendments to the language that should be adopted if the bill moves forward. NYSVMS will continue to monitor this bill and ensure that conversations with the sponsor continue.
Protecting Veterinarians from Liability
NYSVMS has successfully opposed legislation that would impose additional liability on a veterinarian; NYSVMS has also worked with legislators to improve the language of bills that would expose veterinarians’ liability.
- Assemblymember Glick has long sponsored legislation (A.5779) that would establish a civil cause of action for wrongful death of a companion animal brought by a guardian for the animal that would be appointed by the court. Senator Brisport sponsors S.6027-B, which is very similar to Assemblymember Glick’s bill, and Assemblymember Rosenthal also carries a similar bill (A.3732). NYSVMS has closely monitored and opposed this type of legislation for many years on the basis that the bill could lead to costly court-ordered damages and could change the way SPCAs and animal control officers deal with injured, dangerous, or otherwise unadoptable animals. Passage of a guardianship or cause of action bill could also lead to lawsuits based on certain accepted veterinary practices. Neither house moved these bills out of Committee in 2022; NYSVMS will continue to oppose guardianship legislation in future sessions.
- Buoy’s Law (S.1289-B, Senator Brooks, and A.4978-B, Assemblyman Englebright) was originally drafted to impose a requirement on veterinarians prescribing or otherwise providing medication for an animal to notify the owner verbally and in writing of the potential risks and side effects of the medication. Through discussion with NYSVMS, the sponsors amended the legislation to more closely mirror the law in California; instead of requiring extensive disclosure, the bill was amended to require veterinarians share the name and description of a drug, directions for use and, if applicable, actions to be taken in the event of a missed dose, manufacturer instructions for proper storage (where available), any common reasonably anticipated adverse effects associated with the use of such drug and, if available, manufacturer precautions and relevant warnings. This bill passed both houses of the legislature; at the time of this writing, it has not yet been delivered to the Governor for signature or veto.
NYSVMS supported legislation creating standards for animal shelters and rescues in New York State.
The Companion Animal Care Standards Act for Shelters and Rescues (S.6870-B, Senator Addabbo, and A.6246-C, Assemblymember Paulin) requires that all animal shelters and rescues be licensed by the Department of Agriculture and Markets to ensure safe and humane conditions. The bill also creates a licensing and inspection program for regulated entities and requires licensed entities to provide training to all staff members and volunteers. This bill passed both houses of the legislature; at the time of this writing, it has not yet been delivered to the Governor for signature or veto.