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Legislative Affairs

Here in Massachusetts

At the beginning of each two year legislative session, our state Representatives and Senators file proposed pieces of legislation (bills). The Legislative Committee is responsible for reviewing all proposed legislation pertaining to veterinarians, veterinary medicine and animals in Massachusetts. There are many factors that are considered when reviewing a proposed piece of legislation.

  • Is the bill aligned with positions established by the Animal Welfare or other specialty MVMA committees?

  • Is the bill practical?

  • Can the bill do what is proposes?

  • How will veterinarians be affected?

  • What are other states doing regarding this same issue?

  • What will be the after-effects of the bill?


After what is often a lengthy discussion, the Legislative Committee determines how the MVMA may or may not proceed. The categorization of bills is aligned with the system used by the AVMA and is as follows:

  • Active pursuit of passage

  • Support

  • Non-support

  • Active pursuit of defeat

  • No action

  • Requires more information


From this point on, the Legislative Committee, in conjunction with the MVMA’s legal team, monitors every step these bill take as they move through the legislative process. Many times, nothing is done other than monitoring. Less often, the MVMA takes an strong position and works diligently to achieve the outcome most desirable to our members.


The ongoing process is a combination of conversations with allied organizations, negotiation with opposing entities and face-to-face meetings and dialogue with our legislators over the life of the bill.


Ultimately, the MVMA strives to cultivate higher visibility on Beacon Hill for the MVMA and the veterinarians we represent, and to establish MVMA as the key source for information about the health and well-being of animals.

 

2017-18 Legislative Session

 

Bills We Support

S. 450, H. 419: An Act preventing the trafficking in ivory and rhino horns
These bills would clamp down on illegal ivory and rhino horn sales by limiting the sale, trade and distribution of these products within the state. It will ensure the Commonwealth doesn’t play a role in the unprecedented global poaching crisis by bringing Massachusetts law in line with federal regulations limiting the trade in ivory and rhino horn. Elephants are being killed at an unsustainable rate; 35,000 African elephants were slaughtered in 2012 alone to satisfy the ivory market – an average of 96 per day.

  • Sponsors:

    Senator Lewis, Representative Ehrlich

  • Status: in Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

S. 457: An Act to provide additional funding for animal welfare and safety programming.
This bill would enable additional monies to be directed to the Mass Animal Fund. Its purposes are to “… offset costs associated with the vaccination, spaying and neutering of homeless dogs and cats, to offset costs associated with the vaccination, spaying and neutering of dogs and cats owned by low-income residents and to assist with the training of animal control officers consistent with section 151C of chapter 140.” Currently, income in the Fund comes from a donation option on Line 33f on the state income tax return. Administrative fines issued pursuant to Section 37 of Chapter 129 (“Enforcement actions; jurisdiction of commissioner of agriculture, district and superior courts”) would now go to the Fund.

  • Sponsor: Senator Montigny

  • Status: in Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

S. 533, H. 554: An Act concerning the use of certain insurance underwriting guidelines pertaining to dogs harbored upon the insured property
This bill would prohibit Massachusetts homeowners insurance companies from discriminating or charging higher premiums for coverage based on breeds of dog.

  • Sponsors: Senator Gobi, Representative Lewis

  • Status: in Committee on Financial Services

S. 1127, H. 2426:  An Act protecting abandoned animals in vacant properties

These bills would require owners of rented or foreclosed properties to check them for abandoned animals within 3 days after tenants move out; if abandoned animals are found, they must be reported to the local animal control officer or other authorities.

  • Sponsors: Senator Eldridge, Representative D. Rogers

  • Status: in Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government

S. 1145, H. 416: An Act enhancing the issuance of citations for cruel conditions for animals

These bills would permit animal control officers and humane law enforcement officers to write a citation when farm animals are kept in cruel conditions, which would include filthy and dirty confinement, exposure to excessive animal waste, garbage, dirty water, noxious odors, or dangerous objects that could injure or kill. The law currently only applies to dogs.

  • Sponsors: Senator Montigny, Representatives DuBois and Puppolo

  • Status: S. 1145 in Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government; H. 416 in Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

S. 1155, H. 1080: An Act to protect puppies and kittens 

These bills would prevent the sale of dogs or cats less than 8 weeks of age, provide a remedy when sick dogs and cats are sold, regulate certain breeders, and ensure the sources pet shops receive puppies and kittens from adhere to certain standards and don’t have multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

  • Sponsors: Senator Spilka, Representative Benson

  • Status: in Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government

S. 1159, H. 2419: Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns (PAWS II)
These bills would update a number of provisions in Massachusetts animal cruelty laws to increase reporting, update penalties, and prohibit certain cruel acts. It would build upon changes to the state’s animal cruelty laws made with passage of the PAWS Act in 2014.

  • Sponsors: Representative Kafka, Senator Montigny, and Senator Tarr

  • Status: in Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government

S. 1898, H. 418: An Act relating to the treatment of elephants
These bills would ban elephants from traveling shows in Massachusetts. While Ringling will be closing its doors, other circuses continue to use these majestic animals for entertainment in the state.

  • Sponsors: Representative Lori Ehrlich, Senator O’Connor Ives

  • Status: in Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. Hearing held May 2nd.

H. 441: An Act to promote the care and well-being of livestock
This bill would create a livestock care board to advise the Agricultural Commissioner on actions regarding keeping and treatment of livestock and the viability of farms and related businesses involved in keeping livestock.

  • Sponsor: Representative Kulik

  • Status: in Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

Bills We Oppose

 

H. 1997: An Act relative to licensure of equine dentists

This bill would create licensing for lay floaters.

  • Sponsor: Representative Scibak

  • Status: in Joint Committee on Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure, Hearing July 18th.

H. 2145: An Act relative to equine dentistry.

This bill would amend the current definition of veterinary medicine to include lay floaters.

  • Sponsor: Representative Scibak

  • Status: in Joint Committee on Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure


Newly Enacted Law in Massachusetts


An Act Relative to Substance Abuse, Treatment, Education and Prevention

 

This law is only applicable to human medicine. This law does not regulate veterinarians and how they write prescriptions. Veterinarians are exempt from the prescription monitoring program and exempt from all CE requirements cited in this new law.


DPH Notice - March 15, 2016



Current Initiatives

 

Across the Nation

The AVMA takes the lead on all national initiatives, with the MVMA supporting the AVMA Governmental Relations Division through communications with our Senators and Congressional Representatives.

Here are the bills that we are tracking in conjunction with the AVMA.

Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act

UPDATE:
The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act passed through Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on August 1, 2015.

The MVMA is most appreciative to the amazing Government Relations Team at the AVMA and to all the MVMA members who contacted their legislators regarding this important legislation. You all participated in this success. 

Fairness to Pet Owners Act

 - See what the AVMA has to say.

- See the MVMA's letter to Representative Joseph P. Kennedy, III



Find your elected officials.

Serlin Haley Legislative Updates

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
2014 March - Serlin Haley Update PDF (37.14 KB) Administration 6/20/2014
2014 June - Serlin Haley Update PDF (72.53 KB) Administration 3/10/2015
2014 August - Serlin Haley Update PDF (90.87 KB) Administration 3/10/2015
2014 September - Serlin Haley Update PDF (149.37 KB) Administration 3/10/2015
2015 February-March - Serlin Haley Update PDF (59.77 KB) Administration 6/2/2015
2014 December - Serlin Haley Update PDF (131.46 KB) Administration 6/2/2015
2014 April - Serlin Haley Update PDF (80.02 KB) Administration 6/29/2016
2014 July - Serlin Haley Update PDF (54.79 KB) Administration 6/29/2016
2015 June - Serlin Haley Update PDF (65.1 KB) Administration 6/29/2016
2015 December - Serlin Haley Update PDF (59.74 KB) Administration 6/29/2016
2016 January - Serlin Haley Update PDF (88.95 KB) Administration 6/29/2016
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