SB 331: "An Act regulating licensed professional counselors; regulating use of the titles 'licensed professional counselor' and 'licensed counselor'; amending Rule 504(a)(3), Alaska Rules of Evidence; and providing for an effective date."

00SENATE BILL NO. 331 01 "An Act regulating licensed professional counselors; regulating use of the titles 02 'licensed professional counselor' and 'licensed counselor'; amending Rule 504(a)(3), 03 Alaska Rules of Evidence; and providing for an effective date." 04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 * Section 1. AS 08 is amended by adding a new chapter to read: 06 Chapter 29. Licensed Professional Counselors. 07 Article 1. Board of Professional Counselors. 08  Sec. 08.29.010. Board creation; membership. (a) There is established the 09 Board of Professional Counselors consisting of five members appointed by the 10 governor, one of whom is a public member and four of whom are licensed professional 11 counselors. 12  (b) In addition to the requirements for public members under AS 08.01.025, 13 the public member of the board may not 14  (1) ever have been a licensed professional counselor or employed in a

01 commercial or professional field related to counseling; or 02  (2) live in a household with a person who is or has been, or have an 03 immediate family member who is or has been, a licensed professional counselor or 04 employed in a commercial or professional field related to professional counseling; in 05 this paragraph, "immediate family member" means a parent, sibling, or child related 06 by blood, marriage, or adoption. 07  (c) Of the four counselor members of the board, at least one shall be employed 08 in the private sector and at least one shall be employed in the public sector. 09  Sec. 08.29.020. Duties of the board. (a) In addition to the duties specified 10 in AS 08.01, the board shall 11  (1) license professional counselors, establish criteria for supervisor 12 certification, and certify approved counselor supervisors under this chapter; the board 13 may provide for licensure in areas of counseling specialization; 14  (2) establish continuing education requirements for the renewal of a 15 license under this chapter; 16  (3) adopt, by regulation, a code of ethics that must be observed by 17 persons licensed under this chapter. 18  (b) The board may delegate to the Department of Commerce and Economic 19 Development, and the department may perform, a duty for which the board has 20 authority. 21 Article 2. Licensing Requirements. 22  Sec. 08.29.100. Unlicensed use of title prohibited. (a) A person who is not 23 licensed under this chapter may not 24  (1) profess to be a licensed professional counselor or a licensed 25 counselor; or 26  (2) make use of a title, words, letters, or abbreviations that may 27 reasonably be confused with the title of "licensed professional counselor" or "licensed 28 counselor." 29  (b) Violation of this section is a class B misdemeanor, except that a third or 30 subsequent conviction for violating this section is a class C felony. 31  Sec. 08.29.110. Qualifications for licensure. (a) The board shall issue a

01 professional counselor license to a person who applies for the license, submits the 02 required fee, and presents evidence satisfactory to the board that the person 03  (1) is at least 18 years of age; 04  (2) has not been convicted of a felony or of a crime involving moral 05 turpitude; however, if the applicant has been convicted of a felony or of a crime 06 involving moral turpitude, the applicant may rebut the presumption that the applicant 07 is unfit to practice professional counseling by submitting evidence of sufficient 08 rehabilitation and present fitness to perform the duties of a licensed professional 09 counselor; 10  (3) has submitted the statement of professional intent required under 11 AS 08.29.140; 12  (4) has passed a written examination as required by the board; the 13 board may provide that passing a nationally recognized examination for professional 14 counselors is sufficient to meet the examination requirement of this paragraph; 15  (5) has successfully completed either 16  (A) an earned doctoral degree in counseling or a related 17 professional field from a regionally accredited institution of higher education; 18 or 19  (B) an earned master's degree in counseling or a related 20 professional field consisting of at least 48 semester hours and at least 12 other 21 graduate semester hours in counseling during or after earning the master's 22 degree, for a total of at least 60 hours; and 23  (6) has at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience in the practice of 24 professional counseling performed over a period of at least two years under the 25 supervision of a supervisor approved under AS 08.29.210, with at least 1,000 hours of 26 direct counseling with individuals, couples, families, or groups and at least 100 hours 27 of face-to-face supervision by a supervisor approved under AS 08.29.210 unless, under 28 regulations of the board, the board allows the supervision to be by telephonic or 29 electronic means because of the remote location of the counselor. 30  (b) The board may, in its regulations, specify the areas of study that must be 31 covered in order to meet the educational requirements of (a) of this section.

01  Sec. 08.29.120. Licensure by credential. (a) Except as provided in (b) of 02 this section, the board may issue a license under this chapter to a person who is 03 licensed in another jurisdiction to practice professional counseling if the board finds 04 that the other jurisdiction has substantially the same or higher licensure requirements 05 as this state. 06  (b) The board may not license under this section a person who is under 07 investigation in this or another jurisdiction for an act that would constitute a violation 08 of this chapter until the investigation is complete and disciplinary sanctions, if any, are 09 imposed. 10  Sec. 08.29.130. Licensure of foreign-educated applicants. The board may 11 issue a license under this chapter to a person who has completed an educational 12 program in a college or university in a foreign country if the applicant 13  (1) meets the requirements of AS 08.29.110 except for 14 AS 08.29.110(a)(5); and 15  (2) demonstrates to the satisfaction of the board that the applicant's 16 experience, command of the English language, and completed academic program meet 17 the standards of a relevant academic program of an accredited educational institution 18 in the United States. 19  Sec. 08.29.140. Statement of professional intent. An application for a license 20 under this chapter must include a statement of professional intent that describes the 21 intended use of the license, the client populations with whom the applicant will work, 22 areas of counseling specialization, if any, and the counseling procedures the applicant 23 plans to use, including the applicant's theoretical orientation and preferred intervention 24 strategies. 25  Sec. 08.29.150. License renewal. Renewal of a license under this chapter may 26 not be granted unless the licensee 27  (1) within the 24 months immediately preceding the renewal date, has 28 completed the continuing education requirements established by the board; and 29  (2) submits to the board written confirmation that the licensee's 30 statement of professional intent submitted under AS 08.29.140 remains accurate or 31 submits a new statement of professional intent.

01 Article 3. Miscellaneous Provisions. 02  Sec. 08.29.200. Confidentiality of communications. (a) A person licensed 03 under this chapter may not reveal to another person a communication made to the 04 licensee by a client about a matter concerning which the client has employed the 05 licensee in a professional capacity. This section does not apply to 06  (1) a communication to a potential victim, the family of a potential 07 victim, law enforcement authorities, or other appropriate authorities concerning a clear 08 and immediate probability of physical harm to the client, other individuals, or society; 09  (2) a case conference or case consultation with other mental health 10 professionals at which the patient is not identified; 11  (3) the release of information that the client in writing authorized the 12 licensee to reveal; 13  (4) information released to the board during the investigation of a 14 complaint or as part of a disciplinary or other proceeding; or 15  (5) situations where the rules of evidence applicable to the 16 psychotherapist-patient privilege allow the release of the information. 17  (b) Notwithstanding (a) of this section, a person licensed under this chapter 18 shall report incidents of 19  (1) child abuse or neglect as required by AS 47.17; 20  (2) harm or assaults suffered by an elderly person or disabled adult as 21 required by AS 47.24. 22  (c) Information obtained by the board under (a)(4) of this section is 23 confidential and is not a public record for purposes of AS 09.25.110 - 09.25.140. 24  Sec. 08.29.210. Supervisor certification. (a) The board shall approve and 25 certify a person as an approved counselor supervisor for the purposes of this chapter 26 if the person 27  (1) is licensed under this chapter as a professional counselor or is a 28 licensed clinical social worker, licensed marital and family therapist, licensed 29 psychologist, or licensed psychological associate; 30  (2) submits an application for certification and the appropriate fee; 31  (3) has five years of counseling experience;

01  (4) provides to the board for its approval or disapproval a statement 02 that details the person's supervision philosophy, orientation, and experience; and 03  (5) meets other criteria that may be established by the board in 04 regulations. 05  (b) Certification under (a) of this section remains in effect, without the need 06 for renewal of the certification, until the person's licensure as a professional counselor 07 is revoked, suspended, or otherwise lapses. 08  Sec. 08.29.220. Disclosure statement. A client may not be charged a fee for 09 professional counseling services unless, before the performance of the services, the 10 client was furnished a copy of a professional disclosure statement that contained 11  (1) the name, title, business address, and business telephone number of 12 the professional counselor; 13  (2) a description of the formal professional education of the 14 professional counselor, including the institutions attended and the degrees received 15 from them; 16  (3) the professional counselor's areas of specialization and the services 17 available; 18  (4) the applicable fee schedule listed by type of service or hourly rate; 19  (5) at the bottom of the first page of the statement, the following 20 sentence: "This information is required by the Board of Professional Counselors which 21 regulates all licensed professional counselors," followed by the name, address, and 22 telephone number of the board's office. 23  Sec. 08.29.230. Limitation of practice. Notwithstanding that a specific act 24 is within the definition of the "practice of professional counseling," a person licensed 25 under this chapter may not perform the act if the person lacks appropriate education 26 or training related to the act. 27  Article 4. General Provisions. 28  Sec. 08.29.400. Grounds for denial of license or for disciplinary sanctions. 29 The board may impose a disciplinary sanction under AS 08.01.075 on a person 30 licensed under this chapter or deny a license to a person when the board finds that the 31 person

01  (1) is using or has used alcohol, drugs, or other substances to an extent 02 that impairs the licensee's ability to engage in the practice of professional counseling; 03  (2) has been convicted of a felony and has not been sufficiently 04 rehabilitated to merit the public trust; 05  (3) is under investigation in this or another jurisdiction for an act that 06 would constitute a violation of this chapter; a sanction may be imposed after the 07 investigation is completed; 08  (4) used fraud, deception, misrepresentation, or bribery in securing a 09 license under this chapter or in obtaining permission to take an examination required 10 under this chapter; 11  (5) is incompetent or has committed misconduct, fraud, 12 misrepresentation, or dishonesty in the performance of the functions of a licensed 13 professional counselor; 14  (6) violated, or assisted another individual to violate, a provision of this 15 chapter or a regulation adopted under this chapter; 16  (7) impersonated a person who holds a license under this chapter; 17  (8) has had a license to practice counseling revoked or suspended in 18 another jurisdiction upon grounds for which the license issued under this chapter could 19 be revoked or suspended; this paragraph does not apply to revocations or suspensions 20 for failure to pay a renewal fee in another jurisdiction; 21  (9) assisted another person who is not licensed under this chapter in an 22 attempt to represent the person to the public as a licensed professional counselor; 23  (10) was issued a license based on a material mistake of fact; 24  (11) used an advertisement or solicitation that is false, misleading, or 25 deceptive to the general public or the person to whom the advertisement was primarily 26 directed; or 27  (12) failed to respond within 30 days to a written communication from 28 the board concerning an investigation by the board or failed to make available to the 29 board a relevant record with respect to an investigation about the licensee's conduct 30 or background. 31  Sec. 08.29.490. Definitions. In this chapter,

01  (1) "practice of professional counseling" means the diagnosis and 02 treatment of mental and emotional disorders that are referenced in the standard 03 diagnostic nomenclature for individual, group, and organizational therapy, whether 04 cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of human relationships and 05 systems; "practice of professional counseling" includes 06  (A) the professional application of assessments and treatments 07 of psychotherapeutic services to individuals and groups for the purpose of 08 treating the diagnosed emotional and mental disorders; 09  (B) an applied understanding of the dynamics of the individual 10 and of group interactions, along with the application of psychotherapeutic and 11 counseling techniques for the purpose of resolving intrapersonal and 12 interpersonal conflict and changing perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors in the 13 area of human relationships; 14  (2) "supervision" means supervision in which the supervisor is available 15 to provide clinical oversight to the supervisee either in person or by a communication 16 device. 17 * Sec. 2. AS 08.01.050(d) is amended to read: 18  (d) At the request of one of the following boards, the department may contract 19 with public agencies and private professional organizations to provide assistance and 20 treatment to persons licensed by the board who abuse alcohol, other drugs, or other 21 substances: 22  (1) Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners; 23  (2) Board of Dental Examiners; 24  (3) Board of Dispensing Opticians; 25  (4) State Medical Board; 26  (5) Board of Nursing; 27  (6) Board of Examiners in Optometry; 28  (7) Board of Pharmacy; 29  (8) State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board; 30  (9) Board of Professional Counselors; 31  (10) Board of Psychologist and Psychological Associate Examiners; and

01  (11) [(10)] Board of Veterinary Examiners. 02 * Sec. 3. Rule 504(a)(3), Alaska Rules of Evidence, is amended to read: 03  (3) A psychotherapist is (A) a person authorized to practice medicine 04 in any state or nation, or reasonably believed by the patient to be so, while engaged 05 in the diagnosis or treatment of a mental or emotional condition, including alcohol or 06 drug addiction, (B) a person licensed or certified as a psychologist or psychological 07 examiner under the laws of any state or nation or reasonably believed by the patient 08 so to be, while similarly engaged, [OR] (C) a person licensed as a marital or family 09 therapist under the laws of a state or nation or reasonably believed by the patient so 10 to be, while similarly engaged , or (D) a person licensed as a professional counselor 11 under the laws of a state or nation, or reasonably believed by the patient so to be, 12 while similarly engaged . 13 * Sec. 4. TRANSITIONAL PROVISION. Notwithstanding this Act, the Board of 14 Professional Counselors shall issue a license under AS 08.29, enacted by sec. 1 of this Act, 15 to an applicant who 16 (1) applies by December 31, 1999; 17 (2) submits documentation that the applicant holds a master's or doctorate 18 degree in counseling or a related professional field; 19 (3) submits, on a form provided by the department, documentation from an 20 employer, a supervisor, or a professional peer that the applicant has practiced professional 21 counseling in the state for at least 24 months during the five years immediately preceding the 22 date of application; 23 (4) meets the requirements of AS 08.29.110(a)(1) - (3), enacted by sec. 1 of 24 this Act, and is not subject to denial of a license under AS 08.29.400, enacted by sec. 1 of this 25 Act; 26 (5) submits two letters of recommendation from professional counselors who 27 are familiar with the applicant's work; 28 (6) submits to the board a copy of a professional disclosure statement, as 29 described in AS 08.29.220, enacted by sec. 1 of this Act; and 30 (7) pays the required fee. 31 * Sec. 5. REGULATIONS; INITIAL BOARD MEMBERSHIP. (a) The Board of

01 Professional Counselors established under sec. 1 of this Act may proceed to adopt regulations 02 required to implement this Act, but the regulations may not take effect until the effective date 03 of the bill section being implemented by the regulations. 04 (b) Notwithstanding AS 08.29.010(a), enacted by sec. 1 of this Act, a counselor 05 appointed to the Board of Professional Counselors is not required to be a licensed professional 06 counselor until March 1, 2000, but must, at the time of appointment, meet the requirements 07 of AS 08.29.110(a)(1), (2), and (5). 08 * Sec. 6. AS 08.29.010, enacted by sec. 1 of this Act, and sec. 5 of this Act take effect 09 immediately under AS 01.10.070(c). 10 * Sec. 7. Section 4 of this Act takes effect January 1, 1999. 11 * Sec. 8. Except as provided in secs. 6 and 7 of this Act, this Act takes effect 12 March 1, 1999.