House of Delegates Wrap-Up, Annual Session 2014

Updates July 30 and 31, 2014: the Declawing of Domestic CatsPregnant Sow Housing, and Veterinary Dentistry policies have been updated on our website.

The AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) held its Annual Session on July 24th and 25th. This meeting consists of the general annual business of the HOD, which includes elections of AVMA officers and council members, in addition to the consideration of four proposed bylaws amendments (including one postponed from the Winter Session in January) and seven proposed resolutions.

Prior to the meeting of the full HOD to vote on the proposed bylaws amendments and resolutions, the HOD members break into reference committees for initial discussion. The reference committees provide their recommendations for action when the HOD meets in full. Although the HOD members are informed of the recommendations of the AVMA Executive Board, House Advisory Committee, and reference committee, each member of the HOD casts a vote on the bylaws amendment or resolution.

Two AVMA officers were elected by the HOD: Dr. Rebecca Stinson was elected AVMA Vice-President, and Dr. Joseph Kinnarney was chosen as AVMA President-Elect. Dr. Kinnarney will succeed Dr. Ted Cohn as AVMA President in 2015. (Dr. Cohn officially takes the office of President on July 29, succeeding Dr. Clark Fobian, and will serve until July 2015.)

A number of AVMA members were running unopposed for AVMA council positions, and the HOD voted to confirm them as a group. Several elections were held for contended positions, and the results were as follows: Dr. Terry Lehenbauer (Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents); Dr. Bruce Coston (Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents); Charles Broaddus, Adam Eichelburger and Mary Grace Stobieski (Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine); Joni Scheftel (Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine). In addition, an election was held for one open position on the House Advisory Committee; Dr. Melanie Marsden was elected to this position.

Now, on to the nuts and bolts of the meeting:

Proposed Bylaws Amendment 2—AVMA Mission Statement and Objectives was referred to the Executive Board for return to the HOD in January 2015, with 70.9% of members voting in favor of referral.

Proposed Bylaws Amendment 3—Council on Veterinary Research was approved on the Consent Agenda.

Proposed Bylaws Amendment 4—House of Delegates generated much discussion. This bylaws amendment was a product of the governance discussion and several years’ work by a task force and team that performed in-depth analysis of the AVMA’s governance system and produced a report with recommendations for governance changes to evolve the organization. The bylaws amendment was amended by the House in response to a change proposed by the House Advisory Committee. Because any decisions made by the HOD are effective immediately, two provisos were made to the bylaws amendment to prevent conflict with the existing HOD until the governance changes could be implemented in a systematic manner. The HOD voted to approve the proposed bylaws amendments, with 64.9% voting in favor. A motion was made to take the final vote on the amended bylaws amendment (that’s a mouthful, huh?) by roll call vote instead of electronic vote, but the roll call vote would require a 2/3 majority to pass and 2/3 was not obtained (57.4% voted in favor). Another motion was made to refer the proposed bylaws amendment back to the Executive Board, to be returned to the HOD in January 2015, but 71.8% of the HOD voted in opposition to this motion. In the end, the HOD defeated proposed bylaws amendment 4-2014 with 73.3% voting to defeat it.

For proposed Bylaws Amendment 5—Executive Board, a similar proviso amendment was needed to allow currently-serving Board members to complete their terms; in other words, the proviso amendment stated that the changes in term limits would apply to Executive Board members elected after the close of the 2014 HOD Annual Session. This proposed bylaws amendment was approved with a vote of 92.5% in favor of passage.

Moving on to the proposed resolutions:

Resolution 3—Revised Policy on Pregnant Sow Housing was approved by the House, with a vote of 99% in favor.

Resolution 4—Revised Policy on Declawing of Domestic Cats was amended as follows: a new second sentence was inserted that reads, “The decision to declaw a cat should be made by the owners in consultation with their veterinarian.” The amendment was passed with 97.9% in favor, and the HOD unanimously approved the amended resolution. The link in this blog post does not show the amended resolution – the updated policy will be posted on our website within the next few weeks.

Resolution 5—Revised Policy on Judicious Therapeutic Use of Antimicrobials was approved by the House with a vote of 93.2% in favor.

Resolution 6—Revised Policy on Veterinary Dentistry was approved by the House with 73.7% vote in favor.

No vote was taken on Resolution 7 because it had been withdrawn by the submitting group prior to Reference Committee meetings.

Resolution 8—Revised Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics was referred to the Executive Board for return to the HOD at the 2015 Winter Session, with 50.2% voting in favor of referral.

Resolution 9—Interest Rate on Veterinary Student Loans was approved by the House with 91% voting in favor of passage.

All of the policies will be updated on our website within the next couple of weeks. Look for more in-depth coverage of the HOD meeting in an upcoming issue of JAVMA News.

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