SB3850-HB 3834
Position: OPPOSED

Another FEE Added to Rabies Vaccines in Tennessee!  CALL TODAY!

Please call and e-mail or fax the committee members below.  They will have to hear from hundreds of pet owners to take our opposition seriously since the governor is trying to get over a million dollars from these rabies vaccinations!  The Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association is OPPOSED to this bill but they say that no one has been calling the committee yet.  The committee MUST hear from pet owners to let them know we are OPPOSED to this bill!  Tell every pet owner you know!



SB 3850-HB 3834 has been re-written to add $1 to each rabies vaccination in Tennessee.  Now there is another fee on rabies vaccinations planned by our legislature and governor.

Whether you've called and voiced your objection to SB 3850-HB 3834 or not, PLEASE call and write again.  A second amendment to the bill is outlined in a fiscal memo here and included at the end of this message.

It states that, in addition to the $1 fee added to each rabies vaccination, the governor plans to add a fifty cent surcharge to each vaccination to fund HOME-DELIVERED MEALS FOR ELDERLY CITIZENS.  Now, I am as sympathetic to elderly citizens as anyone else, but there is no reason in the world why pet owners should be paying for their meals.  The governor and legislature need to find another way to pay for things instead of trying to stick it to pet owners.  In fact, many seniors own pets, so they would have to pay these fees that would be used to buy the meals!

That would make a total of $1.50 added to each rabies vaccination in the state.  Each additional fee makes it more likely that some animals would go unvaccinated and that someone in Tennessee would be bitten by an animal with rabies.

Everyone needs to call AND write the House Health & Human Resources Committee right away!  This is URGENT.  If you don't act then you will be paying these fees in just a few weeks, and so will everyone else in Tennessee.

To voice your opposition to these state-added fees on vaccination certificates, please contact the following committee members by 4/27/10.  Be polite but tell them that this is a public safety issue.  If they add additional fees to pet vaccinations there will be people who will not vaccinate their pets.  That means an increase in the odds that someone in Tennessee will get rabies. You can ask them if it will happen in their district?  How are they going to explain a case of rabies to their constituents or to the media?

House Health and Human Resources Committee

Rep. Joe Armstrong, Chair
Phone (865) 357-1524
Nashville office Phone (615) 741-0768
Fax (615) 253-0316

Rep. Joey Hensley, vice chair
Phone (615) 741-7476


Note: all phone numbers below are area code 615

         Charles Curtiss 741-1963
         Vince Dean  741-1934
         John DeBerry  741-2239
         Lois DeBerry  741-3830
         Vance Dennis  741-2190
         Joshua Evans  741-2860
         Dennis Ferguson 741-7658
         Henry Fincher  741-1875
         Dale Ford  741-1717
         Curtis Halford  741-7478
         Michael Harrison 741-7480
         Sherry Jones  741-2035
         Debra Maggart  741-3893
         Jason Mumpower 741-2050
         Gary Odom  741-4410
         Mary Pruitt  741-3853
         Bob Ramsey  741-3560
         Barrett Rich  741-6890
         Jeanne Richardson 741-2010
         David Shepard  741-3513
         Tony Shipley  741-2886
         Mike Turner   741-3229
         Mark White   741-4415

SB 3850 – HB 3834



SB 3850 – HB 3834

April 15, 2010

SUMMARY OF AMENDMENTS (016012, 016675):  Deletes all language after the enacting clause and authorizes the Commissioner of Health to charge a registration fee for each
vaccination certificate that does not exceed the cost of the program. Creates a $0.50 surcharge on the fee for the sole purpose to fund congregate or home-delivered meals for elder citizens under
programs administered by the Department of Human Services or the Commission on Aging and Disability and adds the severability clause.


Increase Local Expenditures – Exceeds $100,000*

*Article II, Section 24 of the Tennessee Constitution provides that: no law of general application shall impose increased expenditure requirements on cities or counties unless the General Assembly shall provide that the state share in the cost.


 Increase State Revenue - $1,000,000/Rabies Vaccination Certificate Fee
 $500,000/Congregate or Home-Delivered Meals Programs
 Decrease State Expenditures - $1,000,000/General Fund

 (The $1,000,000 in rabies vaccination fee revenue is reflected in the Governor’s FY10-11 Recommended  Budget)

 Assumptions applied to amendments:

• According to the Department of Health, there will be a fee of $1 per registration established that will result in $1,000,000 in service fee revenue.
• Currently, the rabies vaccination program is 100 percent funded through the General Fund. This will result in a decrease in $1,000,000 in General Fund expenditures for the program. The $1,000,000 in increased revenue will not completely fund the program.
• The Governor’s proposed budget proposes to replace $1,000,000 of General Fund dollars with $1,000,000 service fee revenue in the program’s budget.

SB 3850 – HB 3834 2

• The $0.50 surcharge on the fee will result in $500,000 [($1,000,000/$1) x $0.50] in revenue to fund congregate and home-delivered meals for elder citizens that are enrolled in programs administered by the Department of Human Services and the Commission on Aging and Disability.


This is to duly certify that the information contained herein is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

James W. White, Executive Director

From the Tennessee Veterinary Medicine Association, concerning SB 3850- HB 3834


We Need Your Help!

The TN Department of Health has proposed a bill which will place a tax on the rabies vaccine to help fill a hole in their budget. It is HB3834 by Rep. Janis Sontany (D-Nashville) and SB3850 by Senator Doug Jackson (D-Dickson). The proposed amendment will become the bill, The TVMA testified against the legislation before the House Health Committee on Tuesday, April 6. The bill has been delayed twice since then and is on the calendar for Tuesday, April 27. In the Senate, the bill passed the General Welfare Committee and will be heard in the Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee on Tuesday, April 27.

The language in the amendment is very vague and the Department of Health plans to outline the details in the rulemaking hearing process. It is contemplated that the tax on the rabies certificate would be around $1, but the bill does not state an exact amount. Currently TVMA is in discussions with the TN Department of Health.

We need your help now. If your Representative is a member of the House Health & Human Resources Committee (or you know a member), please contact them no later than Monday, April 26 by phone or by sending an email. If your Senator is on the Senate Finance Ways & Means Committee (or you know a member), please contact them as well by lunch on Tuesday, April 27.

Members of the Committees and their contact information is listed below. For other information, go to

TVMA's Position
We take a strong position that the proposed Rabies Tax will continue to discourage rabies vaccinations by pet owners across the state thus adding to the Rabies Public Health Risk for the people and pets of Tennessee.

The TVMA supports Rabies Control in the State along with Tennessee veterinarians volunteering their time and expertise to the Health Departments.

We are convinced since there is not a reliable way to truly know the number of pet's vaccinated state wide; we anticipate that the tax on Rabies Vaccine will be much more than the suggested $ 1.00 per rabies vaccine (e.g. Davidson County only reports approx. 85,000 and Hamilton County only reports approx. 67,600 rabies vaccine administered yearly).

To our knowledge, there is not a precedent where the State of Tennessee has ever singled out and taxed an individual medical procedure or service from a medical profession to fund a state run program.

Background information -- the following was provided to the Health & Human Resources Committee on April 6:

I. Public Health Concern
Increased cost of Rabies Vaccine will discourage pet owners from vaccinating their pets for rabies
A number of counties and municipalities already require a separate & additional pet license fee after the rabies vaccine is administered ranging from a few dollars to as much as $50.00 per year
Increased cost will only negatively affect the responsible pet owners trying to do the right thing with their pets
This Rabies Tax will also put an undue hardship on the programs where veterinarians vaccinate the homeless citizen's animals as well as certain stray animal populations at no charge
As the number of animals vaccinated for Rabies decreases, the protective barrier between rabid animals and humans becomes less likely to prevent the exposure of rabies to the human population of Tennessee
Due to the rabies problem in Tennessee we currently have in place an aerial and ground rabies baiting programs for the wild animals in parts of the State to help protect our human and animal population

II. Veterinarian Support of State Rabies Control
Veterinarians across the state volunteer their time & expertise to serve on their county's Health Department Rabies Control Boards
Veterinarians give discounted Rabies Vaccines for community Rabies Clinics on designated weekends in cooperation with county Health Departments to help reach a population of pets that would not get vaccinated
Veterinarians support the Health Departments and Animal Control Agencies with animal bite investigations along with needed quarantine facilities and when required sample preparation for rabies testing

III. Medical Procedure of Rabies Vaccine Administration
State Law allows dogs and cats from as young as 3 months of age and requires dogs and cats over 6 months of age to be vaccinated for Rabies by a licensed veterinarian or under the supervision of a veterinarian
Rabies vaccine is purchased and administered solely by an individual veterinarian as a medical procedure to the pet owner's animal
Public health concerns and local ordinances dictate how pets are vaccinated for rabies. However, it is in the pet owner's and pet's best interest that these medical decisions be made within a veterinary-client-patient relationship.
Depending on: 1) the species or medical condition of the animal: 2) city or county ordinances: 3) and the age of the animal will all be determining factors of the TYPE of rabies vaccines administered along with the possible FREQUENCY (1yr. versus 3yr.) of the vaccine

Members of the Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee

Sen. Randy McNally, Chair - 615-741-6806,
Sen. Douglas Henry, Vice-Chair - 615-741-3291,
Sen. Tim Burchett, Secretary - 615-741-1766,
Sen. Diane Black - 615-741-1999,
Sen. Joe Haynes - 615-6679,
Sen. Roy Herron - 615-741-4576,
Sen. Jim Kyle - 615-741-4167,
Sen. Mark Norris - 615-741-1967,
Sen. Doug Overbey - 615-741-0981,
Sen. Bo Watson - 615-741-3227,
Sen. Jamie Woodson - 615-741-1648,

Members of the House Health & Human Resources Committee

Rep. Joe Armstrong, Chair - 615-741-0768,
Rep. Joey Hensley, Vice-Chair - 615-741-7476,
Rep. Joanne Favors, Secretary - 615-741-2702,
Rep. Charles Curtiss - 615-741-1963,
Rep. Vince Dean - 615-741-1934,
Rep. John DeBerry - 615-741-2239,
Rep. Lois DeBerry - 615-741-3830,
Rep. Vance Dennis - 615-741-2190,
Rep. Joshua Evans - 615-741-2860,
Rep. Dennis Ferguson - 615-741-7658,
Rep. Henry Fincher - 615-741-1875,
Rep. Dale Ford - 615-741-1717,
Rep. Curtis Halford - 615-741-7478,
Rep. Mike Harrision - 615-741-7480,
Rep. Sherry Jones - 615-741-2035,
Rep. Debra Maggart - 615-741-3893,
Rep. Jason Mumpower - 615-741-2050,
Rep. Gary Odom - 615-741-4410,
Rep. Mary Pruitt - 615-741-3853,
Rep. Bob Ramsey - 615-741-3560,
Rep. Barrett Rich - 615-741-6890,
Rep. Jeanne Richardson - 615-741-2010,
Rep. David Shepard - 615-741-3513,
Rep. Tony Shipley - 615-741-2886,
Rep. Mike Turner - 615-741-3229,
Rep. Mark White - 615-741-4415,

Thank you for your support!
Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association

PO Box 803
Fayetteville, TN 37334
Phone: 931-438-0070
Fax: 931-433-6289