March 12 , 2009
Volume VI, No. 25
Legislative Update - Bill Status As First Deadline Looms
This week is an important deadline week in the Illinois General Assembly. All bills must pass a committee in the house of origin (House bills must pass a House committee and Senate bills must pass a Senate committee) or the bills are dead. Every one of the bills that the ISVMA has been working on has already received a hearing in committee and the following is a status update on the key bills:
* denotes the bill is an initiative of the ISVMA
The status of all bills being worked on by ISVMA is available for members to check at http://capwiz.com/isvma/issues/bills/. Members can link to each bill on this list and read a short description, read the entire bill text, and use the "Take Action Now" link to contact your legislators to communicate your thoughts and position on the bill.
How a Bill Becomes a Law in Illinois
We are often asked by members to describe how a bill becomes a law. It is a very convoluted process with many possible twists and turns. The Legislative Research Unit developed a flow chart that demonstrates how complicated the process can be.
In a nutshell, a bill has to pass both the House and Senate (in identical form) before it can be approved or vetoed by the Governor. There are several steps a bill must take in each chamber before it is approved.
ISCAVMA Holding Annual Symposium Auction
The 2009 SAVMA Symposium will be held March 26th-29th in Columbus Ohio at The Ohio State University. This year, 70 students will use the last 4 days of their spring break to further their veterinary education and represent Illinois in a variety of academic and sporting events.
ISCAVMA relies heavily on the funding raised through their symposium auction to help defray travel and lodging costs. This year’s auction will run from March 9th-13th and can be accessed via the ISCAVMA website. Item bids will be updated daily and people can bid on any item listed; bids can be submitted to a firstname.lastname@example.org. Detailed directions will also be posted on the website.
ISCAVMA appreciates your continued support and looks forward to representing Illinois at the 2009 SAVMA Symposium.
Register Now for the ISVMA Spring Seminar Series
ISVMA is excited to announce the 2009 Spring Seminar Series! This is the first license renewal cycle in which veterinarians must obtain 40 hours of CE and veterinary technicians must obtain 15 hours. Therefore, we have expanded our program and we are offering concurrent sessions for veterinary practice owners/managers and veterinary technicians/assistants.
Full program information (including course descriptions, speaker bios, directions and schedule) is available on the ISVMA website.
Registration is open and limited for each venue. Please register early!
The practice owner/manager program is called, "Hard Times Management: Improving Your Hospital in a Recessionary Time." The presenters include Christine A. Merle, DVM, CPA, CVPM; Judy Jennings, MBA; and Fran Hoyt, CPA from Maloney & Company.
The veterinary technician/assistant program will be presented by Mr. Angel Rivera CVT, VTS (ECC). He will speak on a number of topics including: Veterinary Nursing: Ethics and Professionalism; 20 essential tools of monitoring, diagnostics and assessments to use in the critically ill ICU patient; Basic Patient Parameter Assessment (Triage); and How to become an indispensable part of a winning team and increase practice profitability through the appropriate use of staff.
The 2009 ISVMA Spring Seminars will be offered at three locations:
8:30 a.m. Registration opens
The ISVMA wishes to thank the sponsors of the 2009 ISVMA Spring Seminar Series:
About the Photo
The Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido) is a large bird in the grouse family. Once abundant, this North American species has become extremely rare or extinct over much of its range due to habitat loss. There are current efforts to help this species survive and one of the projects is at a Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Newton, IL. One of the most famous aspects of these creatures is the mating ritual called booming.
Greater Prairie-Chickens are territorial birds and often defend their booming grounds. These booming grounds are the area in which they perform their displays in hopes of attracting females (see picture 1 above where a female watches a male perform). Their displays consist of the male inflating air sacs located on the side of his neck and snapping his tail (see picture 2 above). The booming grounds usually have very short or no vegetation. The male prairie chickens stay on this ground displaying for almost two months. The breeding season usually begins in the United States starting in Late March throughout April. The one or two most dominant males will do about 90% of the mating.
After mating has taken place, the females will move about one mile from the booming grounds and begin to build their nests. Hens lay between 5 and 17 eggs per clutch and the eggs take between 23 and 24 days to hatch. There are between five and 10 young per brood. (INRIN, 2005). The young are raised by the female and fledge in one to four weeks, are completely independent by the tenth to twelfth week, and reach sexual maturity by age one (Ammann, 1957).
Greater Prairie Chickens prefer undisturbed prairie and were originally found in tall grass prairies. They can tolerate agricultural land mixed with prairie, but the more agricultural land the less prairie chicken. Their diet consists primarily of seeds and fruit but during the summer they also eat insects and green plants. These birds were once widespread all across the oak savanna and tall grass prairie ecosystem. The prairie chicken was almost extinct in the 1930s due to hunting pressure and habitat loss. They now only live on small parcels of managed prairie land. It is thought that their current population is about 459,000 individuals. In May 2000, the Canadian Species at Risk Act listed the Greater Prairie-Chicken as extirpated in its Canadian range (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario).
The Prairie chickens are not threatened by severe winter weather. When the snow is thick they "dive" in to the snow to keep warm. A greater threat to the prairie chickens comes in the spring rains. These sometimes drenching rains can wreak havoc on their chicks. Another major natural threat is drought. A drought can destroy food and make it difficult for the chicks.
Human interactions are by far the greatest threat to this species. The conversion of native prairie to cropland is very detrimental to these birds. It was found in a radio telemetry study conducted by Kansas State University that "most prairie chicken hens avoided nesting or rearing their broods within a quarter-mile of power lines and within a third-mile of improved roads." (Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks) It was also found that the chickens avoided communication towers and rural farms.
In response to the drastic decline of the prairie-chickens due to the loss of grasslands, the Prairie-Chicken Foundation of Illinois was organized in 1959 with the single purpose of preserving the prairie-chicken in Illinois. In 1961 the first sanctuary of 77 acres was acquired in Jasper County. Between 1961 and 2003 in Jasper County, 12 tracts totaling 2346 acres were developed as grasslands in Jasper County, mostly by private groups and individuals working in cooperation with the Prairie-Chicken Foundation of Illinois, The Illinois Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, the Illinois Natural History Survey, the IDNR and AmerenCIPS. In Marion County, seven tracts totaling 1207.5 acres were purchased between 1967 and 2001 for prairie-chicken management. These grasslands currently support the last remaining Illinois prairie-chicken populations.
In addition to habitat loss, another problem facing prairie chickens is the Ring-necked Pheasant. Pheasants are a non-native, parasitic species that will lay their eggs in prairie chicken nests. The pheasant eggs hatch first; this causes the prairie chickens to leave the nest thinking that the young have hatched. In reality the eggs did not hatch and the young often die because the mother is not there to incubate the eggs.
Adults of both sexes are 14 inches long, medium sized, stocky, and round-winged. Their tails are short, round, and dark. Adult males have a yellow-orange comb over their eyes. Males also have dark, elongated head feathers that can be raised or lain along neck. A circular, orange unfeathered neck patch can be inflated while displaying. Adult females have shorter head feathers and lack the male's yellow comb and orange neck patch.
I photographed these Greater Prairie-Chickens on my 40th birthday (April 7, 2004) while sitting in a blind at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area. I couldn't think of a more enjoyable way to spend that milestone birthday!
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