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Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board
The State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, the predecessor of the State Veterinary Medical Examining Board, was established in 1923. Current statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§32-2201 through 32-2296.
The Board regulates the profession of veterinary medicine in Arizona. It licenses and regulates veterinarians, veterinary medical premises and crematories, and certifies and regulates veterinary technicians. The Board also reviews complaints made against licensees, conducts investigations and resolves complaints. The Board consists of nine members, appointed by the Governor to four-year terms. Five members are licensed veterinarians, one is a certified veterinary technician and three are public members. One public member represents the livestock industry. The Board is a 90/10 agency which means it retains 90 percent of the fees collected and remits 10 percent to the State General Fund. The Board relies primarily on licensing and certification fees (Vet Board Website). Civil penalties are deposited in the State General Fund (Auditor General Performance Audit: 97-7).
The State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, created in 1923, consisted of three members, appointed by the Governor to three-year terms. The Board issued licenses to persons qualified to practice veterinary medicine in the state. Certain practitioners were grandfathered, and granted a license without having to take an examination. The Board was required to issue an annual report by July 15 each year. See Laws 1923, Chapter 15.
In 1928 the state code relating to veterinary medicine was revised, and according to the Legislative Code Committee of the Eighth Legislature, “presented no changes in the law of substance.” See Proclamation calling the Eighth Legislature of Arizona into its fifth special session, dated November 9, 1928.
Two measures were enacted in 1947. The first provided per diem of $15 per day to Board members. The second directed the Governor to appoint a state veterinarian. The appointment was to be confirmed by the Senate and was passed as an emergency measure. See Laws 1947, Second Special Session, Chapter 26 and Laws 1947, Chapter 47.
Laws 1953, Chapter 80 increased the fee to apply for a license to practice from $10 to $25 and required an applicant to receive at least a 70 percent average (rather than a 60 percent average) to pass the licensing examination. The law also eliminated the reciprocal license and required that exams be scheduled at least twice a year, in January and June. The license renewal fee increased from $2 to $10 and a late fee of $20 was authorized. The 1953 law also added due process provisions, requiring notice and an opportunity for a hearing before the Board could revoke or suspend a license to practice. It classified violations of the law as a misdemeanor, increased the fine to a minimum of $50 with a maximum of $200, and established a prison term of not less than 30 days with a maximum term of six months.
An omnibus bill enacted in 1962 related to salaries and expenses for state officers and employees, increased per diem for Board members to $20 per day and included a supplemental appropriation of $150 to the Board for personal services. See Laws 1962, Chapter 98.
Laws 1967, Chapter 76 repealed and completely rewrote state laws regarding veterinary practice. The law established the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board which replaced the State Board of Veterinary Examiners. Records, property, equipment as well as unexpended and unencumbered funds were transferred to the new Board. While the overall responsibilities of the Board remained essentially the same, some substantive changes were made regarding applications, examinations and temporary permits. The number of Board members increased from three to five, and terms increased from three years to five years. Per diem remained at $20 per day. The fee for an original application was set at $100; the fee for renewal was $25 and a penalty fee for late renewals was set at $50.
Laws 1970, Chapter 15 addressed malpractice and penalties; allowed the National Board examination to be administered in place of a written exam by the Board, and clarified the license requirements for veterinarians who were employed by the state.
An omnibus bill was enacted in 1978 which increased the number of Board members from five to seven; allowed the Board to establish continuing education requirements; allowed veterinary students in their last semester of study to work under the supervision of a veterinarian without having to obtain a license; established a passing grade of at least 75 percent on both the National Board written exam and the practical exam; established requirements for a nonresident to obtain a permit and revised the licensure exemption for veterinarians who lived within 25 miles of the state border. The law authorized certification of veterinary technicians and outlined related application and licensure requirements. The law also increased the fee for an ongoing license to practice from $100 to $150; and increased renewal and late fees. The definition of unprofessional conduct was expanded to include use of dangerous drugs, gross incompetence, gross negligence, ethics violations, fraud and distribution of narcotics for illegal purposes. The law revised requirements related to hearings and appeals; authorized the Board to appoint an investigator and classified violations as a class 2 misdemeanor. Finally, the law provided protection from liability in cases where a veterinarian provided emergency aid gratuitously and in good faith. See Laws 1978, Chapter 155.
Laws 1980, Chapter 205 established licensure requirements for veterinary premises, including application, fees, expiration, renewal, revocation, suspension and fines. Veterinary premises include a building, office, hospital, residence, kennel, mobile unit or vehicle. The law also provided a limited exemption from licensure for veterinarians who attended a college of veterinary medicine located outside the United States if that person worked under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian while completing requirements for state licensure. In addition, the law authorized the Board to inspect certain records, issue subpoenas and impose civil penalties in an amount up to $500.
Laws 1984, Chapter 341 authorized the Board to employ personnel, eliminated the requirement for a person to be a U.S. citizen in order to apply for a license, and modified requirements related to licensure, fees, and penalties. See also Arizona Auditor General Report No. 84-2.
Laws 1988, Chapter 186 increased the rate of compensation for Board members, increased veterinary technician certificate fees, and prescribed additional grounds for disciplinary action.
In 1989, omnibus legislation was adopted that modified requirements for licensure, examinations, inspections, civil penalties, disciplinary actions and dispensing drugs and devices. The bill also rewrote the law related to premises licensure and provided the Board a limited exemption from the Administrative Procedures Act related to rulemaking requirements until July 1, 1990. See Laws 1989, Chapter 223.
Laws 1991, Chapter 85 increased per diem compensation for Board members from $50 to $100; allowed the Board to employ hearing officers and other personnel for investigative, professional and clerical assistance; and authorized the Board to contract with other state and federal agencies. The law also modified the licensure qualifications for veterinarians who are licensed in another state and set the application fee at $750.
Laws 1992, Chapter 144 made various changes to licensing requirements and eliminated the exemption from state licensing requirements previously granted to graduates of foreign veterinarian colleges working under supervision of a state licensed veterinarian.
In 1995 the membership of the Board increased from seven members to eight, adding an additional lay person. See Laws 1995, Chapter 156.
In April 1997, the Arizona Auditor General issued a performance audit that was critical of certain Board practices. In November 1997, as part of the sunset review process, the Joint Committee of Reference recommended several modifications to the responsibilities of the Board, emphasizing disciplinary actions, investigations and records retention. Legislation was enacted in 1998 stating the primary duty of the Board is to protect the public from unlawful, incompetent, unqualified, impaired or unprofessional practitioners of veterinary medicine. The legislation also increased the number of lay members on the Board, revised the powers and duties of the Board, and required, rather than allowed, the Board to appoint a committee to investigate charges and to consult with their Assistant Attorney General on questions of law arising from an investigation. See Laws 1998, Chapter 170 and Arizona Auditor General Report No. 97-7.
Laws 2001, Chapter 144 modified examination requirements and replaced the specific exam that a candidate must pass by substituting the National Board Examination for the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination. The law also modified the composition of the investigative committee to two veterinarians and three public members and changed reporting requirements regarding animal abuse.
Laws 2004, Chapter 215 authorized the Board to license, regulate and inspect facilities that provide animal cremation services. The law also revised regulations for veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary premises.
Laws 2010, Chapter 182 modified veterinary licensure and technician certification, revised reporting requirements related to animal abuse, and addressed investigations of misconduct and violations of law.
Laws 2011, Chapter 209 changed the term for Board members from five years to four years, and modified the membership of the Board by adding one certified veterinarian technician in place of a public member. The law also modified the makeup of the investigative committee and allowed the Board to issue a decree of censure and to impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation.
Laws 2012, Chapter 181 allowed the Board to establish a substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation plan for veterinarians and veterinarian technicians and to contract with a private organization to implement the plan. The law allowed the Board to allocate up to five percent of licensing renewal fees to fund the plan.
Laws 2014, Chapter 51 authorized the Board to issue a ‘faculty member license’ and outlined specific requirements and limitations. The law also allowed the Board to issue an emergency temporary permit to an out of state veterinarian who volunteers their services during a declared state of emergency.
Laws 2018, Chapter 37 modified requirements to obtain a veterinary faculty member license, providing that an applicant for a veterinary faculty member license is not required to have graduated from a veterinary college accredited by the American Veterinarian Medical Association. The applicant is required to have graduated from a veterinary college.
Three measures were enacted in 2019 that impacted statutes related to the practice of veterinary medicine. Laws 2019, Chapter 4 outlined requirements related to prescribing controlled substances for several agencies. Section 3 of the measure exempts veterinarians from electronic prescribing requirements regarding opioids until the Board determines that electronic prescribing software is widely available for veterinarians. The Board is required to notify the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy when that determination is made.
A second measure, Laws 2019, Chapter 195 allowed the Board to authorize its executive director to issue licenses, certifications, registrations, preceptorships, reinstatements and waivers to eligible applicants who meet the requirements identified in the statute. The measure also addressed temporary licenses. Section 32-3124.I states: “This section applies to a health profession regulatory board to the extent that this section does not conflict with the board’s current statutory authority relating to temporary licensure.” The Board may adopt rules to carry out the new provisions. See https://www.azleg.gov/legtext/54Leg/1R/laws/0195.pdf
A third enactment in 2019 requires the Board to regulate the unauthorized practice of the profession by investigating complaints and referring verified complaints to the county attorney or attorney general for prosecution. See Laws 2019, Chapter 227.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§32-2201 through 32-2296.
- Arizona Administrative Code §§R3-11-101 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 1923, Chapter 15
- Laws 1928, 5th Special Session, Executive Proclamation
- Laws 1947, Chapter 47 and Laws 1947, Second Special Session, Chapter 26
- Laws 1953, Chapter 80
- Laws 1962, Chapter 98
- Laws 1967, Chapter 76
- Laws 1970, Chapter 15
- Laws 1978, Chapter 155
- Laws 1980, Chapter 205
- Laws 1984, Chapter 341
- Laws 1988, Chapter 186
- Laws 1989, Chapter 223
- Laws 1991, Chapter 85
- Laws 1992, Chapter 144
- Laws 1995, Chapter 156
- Laws 1998, Chapter 170
- Laws 2001, Chapter 144
- Laws 2004, Chapter 215
- Laws 2010, Chapter 182
- Laws 2011, Chapter 209
- Laws 2012, Chapter 181
- Laws 2014, Chapter 51
- Laws 2018, Chapter 37
- Laws 2019, Chapter 4, Chapter 195, and Chapter 227
Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board website.
Performance Audit- 1984- Report No. 84-2
Performance Audit- 1997- Report No. 97-7
Related collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 87 – Veterinarian Medical Examiners