The following bill monitored by the Board failed passage by the Legislature in 2011:
SB 747 (Kehoe) Continuing Education: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Patients
This bill would have required marriage and family therapists and licensed clinical social workers to take at least one continuing education course of two to five hours in length, that provides instruction on cultural competency, sensitivity, and best practices for providing adequate care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. The Board opted to take no position on this legislation at its meeting on May 18, 2011.
This bill was vetoed by the Governor.
AB 181 (Portantino and Beall) Foster Youth: Mental Health Bill of Rights
This bill would have created a mental health bill of rights for children in foster care and transition-age foster youth. The Board adopted a "support if amended" position on this legislation at its meeting on May 18, 2011. The Board requested minor amendments be made for clarity.
Status: This bill was held under submission in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 671 (Portantino) Child Welfare Services – Education and Training Requirements
This bill would have required a social work supervisor working for a county child welfare services agency to have a master's degree in a specified field of study, or education and experience deemed equivalent. The intent of this bill was to provide increased consumer protection for those utilizing the child welfare services system by ensuring that supervisors have appropriate education and training.
The Board adopted a "support if amended" position on this legislation at its meeting on May 18, 2011. The Board requested that the bill be amended to allow a Master's degree in all degree titles that are acceptable for licensure as a marriage and family therapist. Additionally, the Board felt that "equivalent education and experience" allowed in lieu of a Master's degree needed further definition, and that allowable exemptions to the law be more specifically detailed.
Status: This bill failed passage in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 675 (Hagman) Continuing Education
This bill would have prohibited certain courses from being accepted as meeting continuing education requirements for licensees under the jurisdiction of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Prohibited courses include those that advance or promote labor organizing on behalf of a union, and courses that advance or promote statutory or regulatory changes, political candidates, political advocacy, or political strategy. The Board adopted an "oppose" position on this legislation at its meeting on May 18, 2011. It is very important for the Board's licensees to know the law regarding their profession, understand the legislative process in order to be able to advocate for patients, and be informed of recent statutory and regulatory changes that affect their profession. It is unclear whether continuing education courses that discuss the legislative process and any changes to statutes and regulations affecting the profession would constitute "courses that advance or promote statutory or regulatory changes." In addition, it is unclear if the Board's mandatory continuing education course covering law and ethics may fall into one of the prohibited course categories.
Status: This bill failed passage in the Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee.
AB 774 (Campos) Health Facilities: Licensure
Under existing law, the licensure requirements for professional personnel in state and other government health facilities licensed by the State Department of Public Health (DPH) must not be less than the requirements for professional personnel in health facilities under private ownership. However, the requirement for licensure in a government health facility licensed by DPH may be waived for individuals gaining experience to qualify for licensure as a marriage and family therapist or a licensed clinical social worker for up to four years from the date employment began. DPH may extend the waiver for one year under certain circumstances.
While current law allows only DPH to grant a waiver, marriage and family therapists and clinical social workers are working in other California agencies and departments as well. These other agencies are not currently able to grant a waiver. This bill would require DPH and the State Department of Mental Health to grant a waiver and a waiver extension to a marriage and family therapist and a clinical social worker if certain criteria are met.
The Board opted to take no position on this legislation at its meeting on May 18, 2011.
Status: This bill died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 958 (Berryhill, B.) Regulatory Boards: Limitations Periods
This bill would have reduced the Board's statute of limitations period for filing an accusation against a licensee. The proposed timeframes are the first occurring of the following:
- Within one year after the Board discovers an alleged act or omission (current law gives the Board three years); or
- Within four years after the alleged act or omission occurs (current law gives the Board seven years).
The Board adopted an "oppose" position on this legislation at its meeting on May 18, 2011. The bill is contrary to the Board's mandate of public protection. Business and Professions Code §4990.16 states that "Protection of the public shall be the highest priority of the board in exercising its licensing, regulatory, and disciplinary functions. Whenever the protection of the public is inconsistent with other interests sought to be promoted, the protection of the public shall be paramount."
Status: This bill died in the Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee.
AB 993 (Wagner) Mediation and Counseling Services: Discipline and Immunity
This bill would have required a complaint made against a mediator or licensed mental health professional, made against that person while he or she was providing services required by the court, be made to the court that required the mediation or counseling services. If the court determined that unprofessional conduct has occurred, it must refer the matter to the licensing board for disciplinary action.
The Board adopted an "oppose" position on this legislation at its meeting on May 18, 2011, noting that a person acting as a licensed mental health professional would fall under jurisdiction of the Board. The bill would have also removed the discretion of the licensing entity to judge, using its particular set of laws, whether their licensee should be subject to disciplinary action.
Status: This bill died in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
AB 1205 (Berryhill, B.) Certified Applied Behavior Analysts
This bill would have required that no person hold him or herself out to be a behavior analyst, or an assistant behavior analyst, unless the person is licensed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences. The Board opted to take no position on this legislation at its meeting on May 18, 2011.
Status: This bill was held under submission in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 462 (Blakeslee) Special Education Advocates: Certification
This bill would have required the Board to issue voluntary certifications to special education advocates who successfully passed a test and completed a certification program required by a special education local plan area. The Board adopted an "oppose" position on this legislation at its meeting on August 18, 2011. The Board noted that this bill offered no additional public protection, as certification is voluntary. In addition, the scope of practice of a special education advocate is not similar to the scope of practice for any of the Board's current licensees.
Status: This bill died in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
SB 544 (Price) Professions & Vocations: Regulatory Boards
This bill would have provided healing arts boards under the Department of Consumer Affairs with additional regulatory tools and authority for investigating and prosecuting violations of the law, in an effort to reduce the average timeframe for enforcement investigations to 12 to 18 months. The Board adopted a "support if amended" position on this legislation at its meeting on May 18, 2011. The Board supports the intent of this bill, which was to protect consumers from potentially dangerous practitioners by improving the efficiency and increasing the accountability of healing arts boards in their investigations of enforcement matters. However, it had several suggested amendments intended to address concerns and to increase the efficiency of the process.
Status: This bill died in the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee.
The following bills monitored by the Board failed passage by the Legislature in 2010:
AB 1310 (Hernandez) Healing Arts: Database
This proposal would have allowed the Board to collect the following demographic information from persons licensed or registered with the Board:
- Educational background and training, including, but not limited to, degree, related school name and location, and year of graduation, and, as applicable, the highest professional degree obtained, related professional school name and location, and year of graduation.
- Birth date and place of birth.
- Race and ethnicity.
- Location of high school.
- Number of hours per week spent at primary practice location, if applicable.
- Description of primary practice setting, if applicable.
- Primary practice information, including, but not limited to, primary specialty practice, practice location ZIP Code, and county.
- Information regarding any additional practice, including, but not limited to, a description of practice setting, practice location ZIP Code, and county.
Personally identifiable information collected pursuant to the provisions of this bill shall be confidential and not subject to public inspection. The Board adopted a position of "support" on this legislation at its meeting on May 6, 2010.
This bill was held under submission in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
AB 612 (Beall) Child Custody Investigations
This proposal would have prohibited the use of "unproven, nonscientific theories" in making a determination related to a child custody proceeding. The Board adopted a position of "oppose" at its meeting on May 6, 2010.
The hearing for this bill was canceled at the request of the author in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
SB 389 (Negrete McLeod) Fingerprint Submission
This law would have required, beginning January 1, 2011, specified entities under the Department of Consumer Affairs to require, as a condition of licensure renewal, the submission of fingerprints by licensees for whom an electronic record of the submission of fingerprints no longer exists with the Department of Justice (DOJ). The Board adopted a position of "oppose unless amended" at its meeting on May 6, 2010. The Board had asked the author's office to exempt the Board from the requirements of the bill because recently approved regulatory changes allowed the Board to require licensees complete a state and federal level criminal offender record information search conducted through DOJ before his or her license renewal date. These regulations went into effect on October 31, 2009.
This bill failed passage in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
SB 686/SB 1203 Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor Licensing and Certification
These proposals would have allowed the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs to license or certify alcohol and other drug counselors under three different levels of practitioner.
At its meeting on July 28, 2010, the Board voted to take no position on SB 686. SB 1203 was introduced on August 20, 2010 as a gut and amend bill, and made minor changes to the language in SB 686.
SB 686 had been re-referred to the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources.
SB 1203 had been re-referred to the Assembly Rules Committee.
SB 1282 (Steinberg) Applied Behavioral Analysis Services: California Behavioral Certification Organization
A previous version of this bill established the California Behavioral Certification Organization (CBCO), a nonprofit organization that provides for the certification and registration of applied behavioral analysis practitioners if they submit a written application, pay fees as required by CBCO, meet specified educational and professional requirements, and submit fingerprints. At its meeting on May 6, 2010, the Board voted to take an "oppose" position on this bill.
This bill was amended on June 24, 2010, and the above language from the previous version was removed. The bill then stated that it is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation clarifying the duties of health care service plans and insurers to inform consumers about the coverage provided to them for the diagnosis and treatment of autism and pervasive developmental disorders under the existing mental health parity law.
This bill had been re-referred to the Assembly Rules Committee.
The following bill monitored by the Board was vetoed by the Governor in 2009:
AB 244 (Beall) Mental Health Parity
This bill will require health care service plan contracts which provide hospital, medical, or surgical coverage, and health insurance policies issued, amended or renewed on or after January 1, 2010 to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness of a person of any age under the terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions. At its meeting on May 22, 2009, the Board adopted the position of "support" on this bill.
The following Board-sponsored legislation was vetoed by the Governor in 2008:
SB 1218 (Correa) MFT Educational Requirements
This bill would have made a number of changes relating to the education requirements of MFTs, including:
- Permitting MFT Interns to gain a portion of the required supervision via teleconferencing;
- Allowing applicants to count experience for performing "client centered advocacy" activities toward licensure as a MFT;
- Requiring applicants for MFT licensure to submit W-2 forms and verification of volunteer employment for each setting in which the applicant gained experience;
- Increasing the graduate degree's total unit requirement from 48 to 60 semester units (72 to 90 quarter units);
- Increasing the practicum by three semester units and 75 face-to-face counseling and client centered advocacy hours;
- Providing more flexibility in the degree program by requiring fewer specific hours or units for particular coursework, allowing for innovation in curriculum design; and,
- Deleting the requirement that an applicant licensed as a MFT for less than two years in another state to complete 250 hours of experience in California as an intern prior to applying for licensure.
SB 1779 (Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development) Omnibus Bill
This proposal would have made several substantive and non substantive changes to the statutes relating to the Board, including:
Prohibiting the board from publishing on the internet for more than five years the final determination of a citation and fine of one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) or less against a registrant or licensee.
- Marriage and Family Therapist Act Title
Adding the title of "Marriage and Family Therapist Act" to MFT licensing law.
- Out-of-State Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Eligibility
Making a technical change to language relating to eligibility for out of state LCSW applicants that clarified that an applicant must currently hold a valid license from another state at the time of application.
- MFT Experience Requirements
Clarifying that no hours of experience gained more than six years prior to the date of application for MFT examination eligibility can be counted towards the experience requirements.
- Unprofessional Conduct
- Adding to the provisions of unprofessional conduct for all licensees the act of subverting or attempting to subvert any licensing examination or the administration of an examination.
- Deleting the following language from the unprofessional conduct statutes: Conviction of more than one misdemeanor or any felony involving the use, consumption, or self-administration of any of the substances or any combination thereof.
- Adding to the unprofessional conduct statute for LEP's failure to comply with telemedicine statute.
- ASW Supervision
Permitting ASWs to gain up to 30 hours of direct supervisor contact via videoconferencing and allowing group supervision to be provided in one-hour increments, as long as both increments (full two hours) are provided in the same week as the experience claimed.
- Miscellaneous Provisions
Repealing code sections containing obsolete language
The following legislation monitored by the Board was vetoed by the Governor in 2008:
AB 239 (DeSaulnier) Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors
This bill provided for the regulation and licensure of alcoholism and drug abuse counselors by the Board. The Board did not take a position on this legislation during its discussion of the bill on May 30, 2008, but instead tabled the discussion until the next meeting.
AB 1887 (Beall) Mental Health Parity
This bill required health care service plan contracts which provided hospital, medical, or surgical coverage, and health insurance policies issued, amended or renewed on or after January 1, 2009 to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness of a person of any age under the terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions. At its meeting on May 30, 2008, the Board adopted the position of "support" on this bill.
AB 2543 (Berg) Geriatric and Gerontology Workforce Expansion Act
This bill established the California Geriatric Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists Loan Assistance Program of 2008. This program would have provided loan assistance to MFTs, LCSWs, ACSWs and MFT Interns who provide geriatric service in California. Funds for the loan repayment program would have been derived from a $10 surcharge added to licensure issuance and renewal fees. At its meeting on May 30, 2008, the Board adopted the position of "support" on this bill.
SB 823 (Perata) Private, Postsecondary and Vocational Education
This bill would have created a new regulatory structure and a new bureau within the Department of Consumer Affairs to regulate private postsecondary education.
SB 1505 (Yee) Mental Health Services Provider Education Program Fee
This Board sponsored legislation would have increased funds directed into the Mental Health Services Provider Education Program by increasing the license renewal surcharge by $20, for a total of $30 for a biennial renewal for MFT and LCSW. This Board sponsored content of this bill was deleted and replaced with content unrelated to the board.
The following bills failed passage in the legislature during the 2008-2009 legislative session:
AB 64 (Berg) Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act
This proposal would have set up a registry of volunteer health practitioners licensed in other states. It would have permitted these volunteers to provide health services through a host entity during a declared emergency. At its meeting on May 31, 2007, the Board took a position of "support if amended" on this bill. This bill was held in Senate Appropriations Committee.
AB 509 (Hayashi) Suicide Prevention
This proposal would have established the Office of Suicide Prevention (OSP) under the Department of Mental Health (DMH). The OSP would have been required to coordinate and implement a statewide suicide prevention strategy modeled after the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, among other tasks. The Board's Policy and Advocacy Committee recommended a position of "support" to the full Board, who, at its meeting on May 31, 2007, adopted the Committee's recommendation. The Board received a letter from Assembly Member Hayashi regarding this legislation, stating that the Governor has agreed to create the OSP by Executive Order. This bill was held on the Assembly floor.
AB 612 (Ruskin) Child Custody Investigations
This proposal would have permitted a court, as part of a child custody evaluation, to grant a motion for the psychological testing or diagnosis of a parent intended to produce a diagnosis only for good cause shown. The bill also would have required the child custody evaluator that conducts the testing or diagnosis to summarize the data-gathering procedures, information sources, and the amount of time spent conducting the testing or diagnosis, and to present all relevant information, including information that does not support the conclusions reached. This bill was held on the Senate floor.
AB 1367 (DeSaulnier) Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
This proposal would have established title protection and licensure for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors, with the program to be administered by the Board of Behavioral Sciences. The contents of this bill were amended into AB 239. This bill was held in Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 1486 (Calderon) Licensed Professionals Counselors
This bill provided for the licensure and regulation of Professional Counselors by the Board. The Board adopted a position of "support" on this bill. This bill was held in Senate Appropriations Committee.
AB 1925 (Eng) License Suspension for Unpaid Tax Liabilities
This bill allowed the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) to suspend a license issued by the Board if the licensee has failed to pay taxes for which a notice of state tax lien has been recorded by the county recorder's office. The Board adopted a position of "oppose unless amended" at its meeting on May 30, 2008. The board asked the author to amend the bill to allow the licensing entity that issued the license (the Board) to suspend the license of an individual with outstanding tax liabilities. This bill was held in Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.
SB 993 (Calderon) Psychologists: Scope of Practice
This proposal would have established the requirements to become a "Medical Psychologist" and would have permitted a Medical Psychologist to administer and prescribe psychotropic medication. This bill was held in Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.
The following are Board positions on legislation that did not pass.
AB 446 (Negrete McLeod) - Licensees: Settlement Agreements
- Position: Support
This bill would prohibit a licensee from including any term in a civil settlement that prohibits the other party from filing a complaint with, or otherwise cooperating with the Board of Behavioral Sciences. It would also allow the board to pursue disciplinary action against a licensee who permits a so called "gag clause" to be included in a settlement agreement.
AB 1625 (Klehs) - Signature of State Government Report
- Position: None
This bill would require any report to a legislative or executive entity to be signed by the executive officer, an agency head or board chair that the contents are true, accurate, and complete, subject to a misdemeanor penalty.