Legislative Update - July/August 2017

Capitol Report

by Thomas Hagerty, DVM

    The 2017 session of the Minnesota legislature is over and Veterinary Medicine has again fared very well. The rural veterinary loan forgiveness program was funded extremely well. This request was included in the Higher Education budget bill. It includes $375,000 per year in 2018 and 2019. This is included in the base budget which means that it will be funded at $375,000 every year in the future unless there is action sometime to cut it. Previous efforts to fund the program led to $ 225,000 in 2009 and $250,000 in 2013. These were one year appropriations only. This was successful because the MVMA and others have been requesting funding every year at the legislature. Special appreciation is due Dean Ames, Dr. Laura Molgaard and others and a group of veterinary students who testified before committees in the House and Senate and visited legislators in their offices during the Veterinary Day at the Capitol. The MVMA worked closely with Dr.  Ames and the College of Veterinary Medicine and with animal industry representatives to accomplish this endeavor. Our lobbyists, Cullen Sheehan and Cory Bennett were actively involved in seeing this request to fruition.  

    The Rural Veterinary Loan Forgiveness Program is administered by the Minnesota Office of Rural Health in the MN Department of Health which administers other health related loan forgiveness programs as well.  If you would like more information please contact Brenda Flattum, Program Administrator (Brenda.flattum@state.mn.us).  The criteria is set for which counties qualify for this program. It is available for final year veterinary students or licensed veterinarians who have graduated no more than 3 years ago from the University of Minnesota. A qualifying veterinarian must agree to serve 5 years in a designated rural area and be involved at least 50% in the care of food animals. The veterinarian receives $15,000 per year on his or her loan for 5 years or $75,000 total.   The additional funding received for this program will allow for five veterinarian applicants to receive funding in 2018.  

    The USDA s Veterinary Medicine loan repayment program is intended for veterinary shortage areas throughout the country and has its own criteria for qualification. It pays up to $25,000 per year on the loan up to three years again for a total of $75,000.  

    The Board of Animal Health budget, contained in the Agriculture Policy and Finance Bill, was fully funded on their request for the biennium. The College of Veterinary Medicine and the VDL received base funding under the approved University of Minnesota budget in the Higher Education Bill.    As this session ends we begin preparations for the 2018 session which will begin on January 20th, 2018. 

    A number of bills were introduced this past legislative session that pertained to veterinary medicine as reported in an earlier Capitol Report. These bills did not make it out of the legislative committee deadline processes in the House and Senate. These bills, however, because they were introduced in the first year of the biennium will be available for review and action in the 2018 legislative session. 

    The MVMA s Legislative affairs committee will meet on November 16, 2017 and in February of 2018 to prepare and implement the legislative agenda for the 2018 Legislative Session. Bills that were introduced but not acted upon in the 2017 session will be reviewed again at these two meetings. The committee will also look at any new legislative proposals that are expected in 2018.  

    Remember that your contribution to VET PAC helps us to access legislators that are important to us in getting our message out and receiving hearings in appropriate committees.  We also encourage MVMA members to contact the MVMA office if they would like to have us arrange a legislator clinic or office visit set up for you.

Archived Capitol Report:

2017 May/June Capitol Report

2017 March/April Capitol Report

2017 January/February Capitol Report

2016 November December Capitol Report

2016 September/ October Capitol Report

2016 July/August Capitol Report

2016 May/June Capitol Report 

2016 March/April Capitol Report 

2016 January/February Capitol Report


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