Testimony - 2013 Legislative Session
House Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget Committee
Presented by Kansas Veterinary Medical Association
Monday, February 4, 2013
Chairman Hoffman and members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear today and comment on the budget of the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners.
I am Gary Reser, executive director of the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association. The KVMA represents and advocates on behalf of the Kansas veterinary profession through legislative, regulatory, educational, communications, and public awareness programs.
The KVMA respectfully requests the members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget Committee to vote “no” on moving the FY 2014 and FY 2015 budgets of the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners to the Kansas Dept. of Agriculture (KDA) and vote “no” on merging the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners with KDA.
The KVMA objected to the merger of the board of examiners with KDA twice previously in my 17 years with the Association and the reasons for opposing the merger are as strong and viable now as then.
Parenthetically, the KVMA had no knowledge of the proposed merger prior to it appearing in the Governor’s budget and obviously no opportunity to participate in discussions on the issue.
It has been the observation of the KVMA during my tenure that the Board’s management and operations has performed in an efficient and conscientious fashion and has routinely looked for cost savings opportunities. The cost consciousness applied to internal operations as well as to various veterinary licensing and inspection fees. How would the merger impact those fees?
“Administrative efficiencies” have only been mentioned in passing in the budget message with no specifics, or contradictory specifics, forthcoming.
The Board of Veterinary Examiners, as you well know, is a stand alone, one hundred per cent fee funded licensing body with regulatory and enforcement authority independent of extra layers of departmental oversight, insulated from political pressures and separated from those it regulates. The KVMA feels strongly this would change with the merger.
Performance evaluations of state veterinary boards across the nation indicate extra layers of oversight and reporting requirements result in diminished and diluted public service.
Everyone hopes for efficiencies and cost savings in government. These have not been defined in this proposal. Please keep in mind an even more important goal. It is the Board’s statutory directive to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. The merger may very well damage that effort.
Thank you again for the chance to visit with you today.