On February 15, the Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business unanimously voted in support of LD 1885, as amended, which seeks to increase Maine’s veterinary workforce through updates to the state’s Veterinary Medicine Loan Program. The program provides competitive, need-based, forgivable loan for Maine students pursuing a career as a veterinarian.
While, the final version of the committee bill is not yet available, it would expand the state’s loan program to future practitioners of veterinary medicine in specialties related to emergency and critical care (instead of exclusively livestock) and ensure those who will work in underserved geographic areas in the state would benefit. Changes made by the committee would increase the number of annual loans available from two to a maximum of eight and increase loans to $35,000 per year for up to four years.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Maine Federation of Dog Clubs recognize the serious shortage of veterinarians practicing in Maine. The inability to secure veterinary care when needed negatively impacts the health and welfare of all animals, including dogs.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Maine’s legislative session is scheduled to end on April 20, 2022. If lawmakers do not understand LD 1885, as amended, is a priority for residents, the bill may not advance before the deadline for passage.
Maine residents are encouraged to immediately email their state lawmakers requesting funds for LD 1885, as amended, and its passage this session.
- Identify your state senator’s email by clicking on the first letter of your town or city
- Identify your state representative’s email by searching for your town or city
- In the subject line write, “Support and fund LD 1885, veterinarian workforce”.
- Share your experience trying to get timely veterinary services in Maine.
- Be certain to provide your name and address.
For more information on these or other legislative issues in Maine, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.