By Jordan Bourque
On November 19, 2020, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved VMB’s proposed rulemaking amending sections 2040 and 2041, Title 16 of the CCR, to revise its criminal conviction substantial relationship and rehabilitation criteria. According to the initial statement of reasons, the regulations are an effort to adhere to the mandates required under AB 2138 (Chiu and Low) (Chapter 995, Statues of 2018). On November 19, 2020, the final rulemaking was filed with the Secretary of State and the changes became effective the same day.
The Board originally noticed its intent to amend sections 2040 and 2041, Title 16 of the CCR on June 28, 2019. AB 2138 required the Board to establish the criteria on or before July 1, 2020. At the Board’s October 2019 meeting, staff reported that the proposed regulation was pending review with OAL. [25:1 CRLR 96] On January 30, 2020, the Board reviewed and approved the modified text for resubmission to OAL. At that time, a concern was raised by a member of the public that certain language was too broad and could be misused to include crimes, misconduct, and acts unrelated to the practice of veterinary medicine. On February 10, 2020, the Board issued a 15-day notice of availability of modified text, and the comment period ended on February 25, 2020. There were no comments received during the 15-day comment period. The Board modified the regulatory proposal and submitted an Addendum to Final Statement of Reasons to resolve the substantive concerns.
The final rulemaking establishes the criteria for determining when a crime is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, and duties of a licensee for the Board to consider when disciplining applicants or licensees for a criminal conviction. It also establishes the criteria for determining whether an applicant or licensee has made a showing of rehabilitation when the Board is considering denial, suspension, or petition for reinstatement of a license on the ground of a criminal conviction.
The Board states in its final statement of reasons that it receives approximately 3,220 initial license applications per year (750 veterinarians, 970 Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVT), and 1,500 Veterinary Assistant Controlled Substances Permit holders (VACSPs)), and historically denies a minimal number (between 0 and 4) of initial license applications annually. The Board further states that it anticipates that these regulatory changes will impact primarily VACSP applicants, and not veterinarian or RVT applicants, “because the VACSP population is entry-level and has a significantly greater number of applicants with a criminal history.” The Board notes that veterinarians and RVTs have greater educational and professional experience requirements to licensure, and significantly fewer criminal convictions, so the Board “does not anticipate an expansion of veterinarian licensees and RVT registrants resulting from the proposed regulations.”