ALERT: Effective January 1, 2018, the titles for Marriage and Family Therapist Interns, and Professional Clinical Counselor Interns will change. More Information

Approved Legislation - 2012

For further information regarding legislation see California's Legislative Information website which provides the bill's language, history, status, and analysis as provided by the California State Legislature. For further information regarding approved legislation, contact the Board office at (916) 574-7830.

You can download the current version of the Board's Statutes and Regulations Relating to the Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy, Educational Psychology, and Clinical Social Work. The Board's Statutes and Regulations contain sections of the California Business and Professions Code and the California Code of Regulations. The publication also contains miscellaneous code sections from the California Health and Safety Code and the California Welfare and Institutions Code.

The following bill becomes effective January 1, 2013:

SB 1575 (Chapter 799, Statutes of 2012) was signed by the Governor on September 29, 2012. This bill changes the effective date of the Board's upcoming restructure of its examination process from January 1, 2013, to January 1, 2014.

The examination restructure will affect the timing of the exams and the exams taken for LMFT, LCSW, and LPCC applicants. These applicants will be required to pass both the California law and ethics examination and the clinical examination to obtain a license.

  • The California law and ethics examination will be taken during the registration period while the applicant gains experience hours.
  • The clinical examination will be taken once the registrant has completed all supervised work experience, education requirements, and passed the California law and ethics examination.

The new exams will replace the standard written and the clinical vignette exams currently in place. This will now begin on January 1, 2014.

As January 1, 2014 draws closer, the Board will provide further information on how this will affect current registrants at the time the restructure takes place, as well as how it will affect those already in the exam cycle. The Board will also provide additional information on the new California law and ethics examination and the clinical examination.

The following bill became effective on July 3, 2012:

SB 632
On July 3, 2012, the Governor signed SB 632 into law. SB 632 is an urgency measure, and therefore becomes law effective immediately.

SB 632 is a clean-up measure to SB 363 (Chapter 384, Statutes 2011), a measure that clarified and amended supervision and experience requirements for Californians seeking licensure as a marriage and family therapist. Specifically, SB 363 allowed marriage and family therapist trainees to counsel clients while not enrolled in a practicum course if that lapse in enrollment is less than 90 days, and is immediately preceded and followed by enrollment in practicum. SB 363 was in response to schools voicing concern over how the practicum requirement, which goes into effect on August 1, 2012, would operate during intersession and summer break when students may not be able to enroll in a practicum course. Schools argued that this could create continuity of care issues for the client as well as a barrier to licensure if the trainee is not able to gain enough direct client hours due to not being enrolled in practicum.

Under SB 363, the 90-day exemption period was intended to only apply to marriage and family therapist trainees who begin graduate study on or after August 1, 2012. However, when SB 363 was signed into law it inadvertently applied to all trainees regardless of when they began graduate study. This posed a hardship to schools as they were not prepared to offer practicum classes until August 2012 and were unable to create courses instantaneously to meet the requirement. As a result, students currently counseling clients are in danger of losing the hours they have worked since January 1, 2012 if they are unable to enroll in a practicum course.

SB 632 would restore the original intent of SB 363 by allowing trainees who begin graduate study before August 1, 2012 and complete that study before December 31, 2018 to gain hours of experience and counsel clients outside of the required practicum. This bill also contains a provision that would clarify that this correction is applied retroactively dating back to January 1, 2012, which is the date SB 363 became law.

SB 632 also clarifies that trainees who begin graduate study after August 1, 2012 or complete graduate study after December 31, 2018 may counsel clients while not enrolled in a practicum course if the period of lapsed enrollment is less than 90 calendar days, and if that period is immediately preceded by enrollment in a practicum course and immediately followed by enrollment in a practicum course or completion of the degree program.

The complete text of SB 632 can be found here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120SB632

The following Board-Sponsored bills will become effective on January 1, 2012:

SB 363 (Emmerson) Marriage and Family Therapists
This bill proposes three amendments to clarify the law as it relates to marriage and family therapist (MFT) interns and trainees. The amendments are as follows:

  1. MFT Trainee Practicum: Amends the law to allow a trainee to counsel clients outside of practicum if the period outside of practicum is less than 90 calendar days and if that period is immediately preceded and immediately followed by enrollment in a practicum course.
  2. Client-Centered Advocacy: Under current law, the number of client-centered advocacy hours that an MFT intern may obtain is limited only by the amount of direct supervisor contact hours acquired by the intern. For example, if an intern received the minimum number of direct supervisor contact hours for 104 weeks, that individual could potentially receive credit for 1,146 hours of client-centered advocacy.

    Client-centered advocacy is defined in the Business and Professions Code as including, but not limited to, "researching, identifying, and accessing resources, or other activities related to obtaining or providing services and support for clients or groups of clients receiving psychotherapy or counseling services." However, in order to properly prepare them for clinical practice, the majority of an MFT intern's experience hours should be gained by providing psychotherapy. This bill proposes to limit the client centered advocacy allowed for an MFT intern to 500 hours.
  3. Supervision of MFT Interns: Under current law, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs) are not allowed to supervise MFT interns. However, all of the other licensees of the Board of Behavioral Sciences are able to supervise these interns. This bill proposes to allow LPCCs to supervise MFT interns if they meet the additional training and education requirements that are required of them by law in order to treat couples and families.

Chapter 384, Statutes of 2011

SB 704 (Negrete McLeod) Healing Arts: Licensees: Board of Behavioral Sciences
This bill proposes a restructuring of the examination process for the Board's Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCCs) and Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) licensees.

Under current law, applicants must take and pass a standard written examination upon completion of examination eligibility requirements, including completion of experience requirements. Once an applicant passes the standard written examination, they are eligible to take a clinical vignette examination. An applicant must pass both examinations to be eligible for licensure.

Effective January 1, 2013, SB 704 requires applicants for licensure to pass two new exams: a California law and ethics examination and a clinical examination. These new exams would replace the standard written and the clinical vignette exams currently in place.

Under this bill, the timing of when examinations would be taken change. The California law and ethics examination will be taken during the registration period while the applicant gains experience hours. The clinical examination will be taken once the registrant has completed all supervised work experience, education requirements, and passed the California law and ethics examination. Chapter 387, Statutes of 2011

SB 943 (Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development) – Board Omnibus Bill
This bill proposes technical clean-up amendments to the Board's marriage and family therapy, licensed educational psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, and licensed professional clinical counselor statute. The bill also proposes amendments which either includes LPCCs in statute where the Board's other licensees are already included, or makes LPCC law consistent with the law for the Board's other licenses. Chapter 350, Statutes of 2011

The following Board-Supported bills will become effective on January 1, 2012:

AB 956 (Hernandez, R.) Marriage and Family Therapy: Interns and Trainees: Advertisements
This bill requires marriage and family therapist interns and trainees to inform each client, prior to performing professional services, that they are an unlicensed intern or trainee, provide the name of his or her employer, and to indicate that he or she is under the supervision of a licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed psychologist, or a licensed physician and surgeon certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. It also requires marriage and family therapist interns and trainees to be clear in their advertising that they are not yet licensed, and are under supervision. It prohibits the acronym "MFTI" unless "marriage and family therapy intern" is spelled out in the advertisement. Chapter 166, Statutes of 2011

SB 146 (Wyland) Healing Arts: Professional Clinical Counselors
This bill adds licensed professional clinical counselors (LPCCs) to statutory code sections consistent with the inclusion of other Board licensees. Key amendments include adding LPCCs to the list of mandated reporters, and adding LPCCs to the list of practitioners that are defined as a psychotherapist. Chapter 381, Statutes of 2011

SB 541 (Price) Regulatory Boards: Expert Consultants
This bill will allow boards under the jurisdiction of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to contract with an expert consultant without being subject to the provisions of the State Contract Act, if the expert is providing any of the following services:

  • Providing an expert opinion on enforcement related matters;
  • Assisting the board as a subject matter expert in exam development, exam validation, or occupational analysis; or
  • Evaluating the mental or physical health of a licensee or applicant for licensure.

The intent of this bill is to clear up ambiguity as to whether current law applies to the DCA's subject matter experts. A formal consulting services contract is a lengthy process which may greatly inhibit the ability of DCA boards and bureaus to utilize subject matter experts. Chapter 339, Statutes of 2011

SB 718 (Vargas) Elder or Dependent Abuse
Current law requires mandated reporters of elder or adult physical abuse to report suspected abuse by telephone immediately or as soon as possible and submit a written report within two working days. This bill allows a mandated reporter of elder or adult physical abuse to report suspected instances of abuse by telephone or by a confidential Internet reporting tool immediately or as soon as practicably possible, and if reported by telephone, then submit a written report or Internet report within two working days. Chapter 373, Statutes of 2011

The following Board-monitored bills will become effective on January 1, 2012:

AB 1424 (Perea) Franchise Tax Board and Board of Equalization; Suspension of Professional License for Unpaid Tax Debt
This bill requires the Board to issue a temporary license to an individual whose name appears on either the FTB or BOE list of delinquent tax obligations. The temporary license would be valid for 90 days, allowing the Board to make a final determination if the license should be suspended. The Board must then suspend the license unless a release is received from BOE or FTB during that time. If the Board fails to take action, the FTB or BOE will suspend the license.

At its meeting on May 18, 2011, the Board adopted an "oppose unless amended" position on this legislation. The Board recommended this bill be amended to allow the board to suspend the licenses of individuals with outstanding tax liabilities based on the model currently used for individuals in violation of a judgment or order for child support. Update: This bill was amended on September 2, 2011 to more closely model the suspension process currently used for individuals in violation of a judgment or order for child support. Chapter 455, Statutes of 2011