Legislature(1995 - 1996)
01/30/1996 02:30 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE January 30, 1996 2:30 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman Senator John Torgerson, Vice Chairman Senator Mike Miller Senator Judy Salo MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Jim Duncan COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 184 "An Act relating to civil liability for false claims and improper allegations or defenses in civil practice; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 165(HES) "An Act relating to psychologists and psychological associates." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 184 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 1/25/96. SB 165 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated 1/17/95. WITNESS REGISTER Allen Moma Alaska Psychological Association PO Box 231453 Anchorage, Alaska 99523 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 165. Catherine Reardon, Director Division of Occupational Licensing Department of Commerce and Economic Development PO Box 110806 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0806 POSITION STATEMENT: Reported that the Administration is neutral on SB 165. Jennifer Hall Jones Alaska Psychological Association 2453 W 27th Avenue Anchorage, Alaska 99517 POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed temporary licensure. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-7, SIDE A SL&C - 1/30/96 SB 184 CIVIL LIABILITY FOR IMPROPER LAWSUIT Number 001 CHAIRMAN KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee meeting to order at 2:30 p.m. He introduced SB 184 as the first order of business before the committee. SENATOR TORGERSON moved that SB 184 be moved out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objections, it was so ordered. SL&C - 1/30/96 SB 165 PSYCHOLOGISTS & PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATES CHAIRMAN KELLY introduced SB 165 as the next order of business before the committee. He informed the committee that there was a proposed committee substitute before them. MIKE TIBBLES, Staff to Senator Green, explained that there were the following changes to the Labor & Commerce CS: (1) Page 1, line 10 after "a", add "psychologist" This specifies the type of license the board would issue. (2) Page 2, line 20 add the words "psychological associate" This also specifies the type of license. (3) Page 3, lines 7-8, delete "for specific activities or areas of competence as determined by", add "to provide psychological services within" This would tighten the language. (4) Page 5, line 16 delete "specific" This would conform with the change made in Section 5. In response to Chairman Kelly, Mr. Tibbles explained that SB 165 had been introduced in order to address an inadequacy in the law. Currently psychological associates at a masters level are held to a different standard than other masters level professionals. In response to Senator Salo, MIKE TIBBLES said that SB 165 was intended to come in line with only marital and family therapists. Currently, psychological associates have a three year licensure process; a total of five years. The bill would change this to two years which is the same with other masters level professions. ALLEN MOMA, Alaska Psychological Association, supported passage of SB 165. He informed the committee that he is the Co-Chair of the committee with the Alaska Psychological Association which has sponsored this bill. He explained that the committee wants to bring the licensure process for psychological associates in line with marriage and family therapy and social work as well as increasing the availability of mental health services in smaller Alaskan communities. He reiterated the change from three years to two years for a psychological associate to receive a license. Currently, the psychological associate license requires an additional five years beyond licensure for supervision before the associate is allowed to practice. He said that they wanted to remove that portion of the statute. Mr. Moma pointed out that modifications to sexual misconduct are also being made. Furthermore, the power of the board is being improved so that the board can require mental and/or psychological evaluation of a therapist. Number 138 SENATOR KELLY asked if the bill would make sexual misconduct grounds for disciplinary sanctions. ALLEN MOMA explained that the language has been changed from referring to loose conduct to clearly defining sexual misconduct. This change is in line with national standards. SENATOR KELLY asked if any sexual contact would be considered sexual misconduct. ALLEN MOMA replied yes. Presently, an impropriety was interpreted as a therapist having sexual contact with a client during therapy or any time after therapy for that client's entire life. Mr. Moma noted that nationally, that is seen as an unreasonable standard. Mr. Moma explained that SB 165 specifies that an impropriety is any sexual misconduct during therapy or within two years after the termination of therapy. Number 154 SENATOR KELLY asked if the regulations defining sexual misconduct had been adopted. ALLEN MOMA said not to his knowledge. CATHERINE REARDON, Division of Occupational Licensing, informed the committee that she was available for questions. SENATOR KELLY asked if the Administration supported SB 165. CATHERINE REARDON said that the Administration is neutral on the bill. SENATOR KELLY asked if anyone else from Fairbanks or Anchorage wanted to testify on this legislation. Number 169 JENNIFER HALL JONES, Alaska Psychological Association, informed the committee that she was the other Co-Chair to the committee. SB 165 would allow temporary licensure. She felt that more oversight is necessary which temporary licensure provides that. SENATOR SALO asked if the main thrust of the bill is to decrease the time required until a psychological associate can practice independently. JENNIFER HALL JONES agreed that would be one result, however that is not necessarily the main thrust of the bill. Ms. Jones characterized the primary thrust of the bill as an equity issue with other masters level mental health professionals. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked if there was anyone else to testify. Hearing no one, he inquired as to the will of the committee. Number 200 SENATOR SALO moved that CS SB 165(L&C) be moved out of committee with individual recommendations. Without objection, it was so ordered. There being no further business before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 2:43 p.m.