Today's Veterinary Business

APR 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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Page 49 of 67

48 Today's Veterinary Business Community The mere mention of "politics" sends many scurrying for cover. But the fact is political decisions shape, or threaten to shape, the veterinary industry and many matters affect- ing pet health and welfare. The new organiza- tion, PetsPAC, is de- signed to give a voice to and build political clout for organizations and pet owners who care about the quality of life of pets. Let me explain. What Is a PAC? A political action committee, or PAC, is a vehicle created by state legislatures and Con- gress to enable organizations and individuals to pool funds and speak as one voice on issues of common interest. Federal PACs, such as the American Veterinary Medical Asso- ciation Political Action Committee, focus on federal issues and may accept contributions from individ- uals only, not from corporations or unions. State PACs may accept money from individuals and cor- porations in most cases and enable interested parties to have an impact on state legislatures. Laws governing veterinarians and companion animal welfare almost always are the province of state legislatures and agen- cies. Other than with the Fairness to Pet Owners legislation, Congress rarely gets involved in laws affecting compan- ion animals or compan- ion animal veterinarians. What's surprising is that a PAC has never represented companion animal interests in the states, de- spite thousands of bills of interest being introduced every year in leg- islatures around the United States. That changes with PetsPAC. The Main Objectives PetsPAC will: • Focus exclusively on state legislatures and agencies in all matters affecting pets. Oppose bad legislation to stop it from becoming law. • Promote positive initiatives in a range of areas including veterinary practice, tele- medicine, animal welfare, animal abuse, access to pet-friendly housing and veterinary nursing. • Use a panoply of tools to have an impact, in some cases providing money to state veterinary medical associations to support their legislative work and in other cases investing directly in lobbyists, grassroots tactics and social media to generate legislative support. PetsPAC is able to accept contributions from everyone and is not limited to veterinarians like member PACs such as the AVMA PAC. And in most states, PetsPAC will be able to use direct con- tributions from companies and other organizations. The board of directors is being formed in the first half of 2018 and will be chaired by Charlotte Lac- roix, DVM, JD, a Today's Veterinary Business columnist and a lawyer who focuses her practice exclu- sively on veterinary medicine. The PetsPAC website, www.PetsPAC. com, is under construction and will accept direct contributions. Reaching Pet Owners A unique feature of PetsPAC will be outreach to pet owners across America; to inform them of import- ant issues happening in the states and provide them with an opportu- nity to get involved. Pet owners care deeply about their pets, and these concerns don't stop at the edge of politi- cal waters. People want to know what's going on and how it might affect them, and even more im- portantly, how to get involved to The Veterinary Innovation Council kicked off VMX 2018 with the launch of an exciting new platform serving veterinary professionals, industry and pet owners alike — one that gives them a say in legislative efforts and policymaking around the country. Community POLITICS & POLICY By Mark Cushing, JD PetsPAC packs a political punch The new political action committee will lobby on behalf of veterinary professionals, industry and pet owners. A unique feature of PetsPAC will be outreach to pet owners across America; to inform them of important issues happening in the states and provide them with an opportunity to get involved.

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