SB 116: "An Act relating to the Board of Professional Counselors; relating to licensing of associate counselors; and providing for an effective date."

00 SENATE BILL NO. 116 01 "An Act relating to the Board of Professional Counselors; relating to licensing of 02 associate counselors; and providing for an effective date." 03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 * Section 1. AS 08.02.110(a) is amended to read: 05 (a) An acupuncturist licensed under AS 08.06, an audiologist or speech- 06 language pathologist licensed under AS 08.11, a behavior analyst licensed under 07 AS 08.15, a person licensed in the state as a chiropractor under AS 08.20, a 08 professional or associate counselor licensed under AS 08.29, a dentist under 09 AS 08.36, a dietitian or nutritionist licensed under AS 08.38, a massage therapist 10 licensed under AS 08.61, a marital and family therapist licensed under AS 08.63, a 11 medical practitioner or osteopath under AS 08.64, a direct-entry midwife certified 12 under AS 08.65, a registered or advanced practice registered nurse under AS 08.68, an 13 optometrist under AS 08.72, a licensed pharmacist under AS 08.80, a physical 14 therapist or occupational therapist licensed under AS 08.84, a psychologist under

01 AS 08.86, or a clinical social worker licensed under AS 08.95, shall use as 02 professional identification appropriate letters or a title after that person's name that 03 represents the person's specific field of practice. The letters or title shall appear on all 04 signs, stationery, or other advertising in which the person offers or displays personal 05 professional services to the public. In addition, a person engaged in the practice of 06 medicine or osteopathy as defined in AS 08.64.380, or a person engaged in any 07 manner in the healing arts who diagnoses, treats, tests, or counsels other persons in 08 relation to human health or disease and uses the letters "M.D." or the title "doctor" or 09 "physician" or another title that tends to show that the person is willing or qualified to 10 diagnose, treat, test, or counsel another person, shall clarify the letters or title by 11 adding the appropriate specialist designation, if any, such as "dermatologist," 12 "radiologist," "audiologist," "naturopath," or the like. 13 * Sec. 2. AS 08.29.020(a) is amended to read: 14 (a) In addition to the duties specified in AS 08.01, the board shall 15 (1) license professional counselors and associate counselors, establish 16 criteria for supervisor certification and associate counselor licensure, and certify 17 approved counselor supervisors under this chapter; the board may provide for 18 licensure in areas of counseling specialization; 19 (2) establish continuing education requirements for the renewal of a 20 license under this chapter; 21 (3) adopt, by regulation, a code of ethics that must be observed by 22 persons licensed under this chapter; 23 (4) establish education and training requirements that must be met 24 before a professional counselor can administer and use assessment instruments 25 described in AS 08.29.490(1)(C); and 26 (5) enforce the provisions of this chapter and adopt regulations 27 necessary to carry out the board's duties under this chapter. 28 * Sec. 3. AS 08.29.100(a) is amended to read: 29 (a) A person who is not licensed under this chapter may not 30 (1) profess to be a licensed professional counselor, a professional 31 counselor, [OR] a licensed counselor, or an associate counselor; or

01 (2) make use of a title, words, letters, or abbreviations that may 02 reasonably be confused with the title of "licensed professional counselor," 03 "professional counselor," [OR] "licensed counselor," or "associate counselor." 04 * Sec. 4. AS 08.29.110(a) is amended to read: 05 (a) The board shall issue a professional counselor license to a person who 06 applies for the license, submits the required fee, [SUBMITS TWO LETTERS OF 07 RECOMMENDATION FROM PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS WHO ARE 08 FAMILIAR WITH THE APPLICANT'S PRACTICE OF PROFESSIONAL 09 COUNSELING,] and presents evidence satisfactory to the board that the person 10 (1) is at least 18 years of age; 11 (2) is not under investigation in this or another jurisdiction for an act 12 that would constitute a violation of this chapter; 13 (3) has not had a license related to the practice of counseling, 14 psychology, marital and family therapy, or social work in this or another jurisdiction 15 suspended, revoked, or surrendered in lieu of discipline unless the license has been 16 fully reinstated in that jurisdiction; 17 (4) has passed a written examination as required by the board; the 18 board may provide that passing a nationally recognized examination for professional 19 counselors is sufficient to meet the examination requirement of this paragraph; 20 (5) has successfully completed either 21 (A) an earned doctoral degree in counseling or a related 22 professional field from a regionally or nationally accredited institution of 23 higher education approved by the board; or 24 (B) an earned master's degree in counseling or a related 25 professional field, from a regionally or nationally accredited institution of 26 higher education approved by the board, and at least 60 graduate semester 27 hours in counseling [DURING OR AFTER EARNING THE MASTER'S 28 DEGREE]; and 29 (6) has, after earning the degree required under either (5)(A) or (B) of 30 this subsection, successfully completed an associate counselor program authorized 31 in regulations of the board or completed [HAD] at least 3,000 hours of supervised

01 experience in the practice of professional counseling performed over a period of at 02 least two years under the supervision of a supervisor approved under regulations of 03 the board [AS 08.29.210], with at least 1,000 hours of direct counseling with 04 individuals, couples, families, or groups and at least 100 hours of direct [FACE-TO- 05 FACE] supervision [BY A SUPERVISOR] approved [UNDER AS 08.29.210 06 UNLESS,] under regulations of the board [, THE BOARD ALLOWS THE 07 SUPERVISION TO BE BY TELEPHONIC OR ELECTRONIC MEANS BECAUSE 08 OF THE REMOTE LOCATION OF THE COUNSELOR]. 09 * Sec. 5. AS 08.29.120(a) is amended to read: 10 (a) Except as provided in (b) of this section, the board may issue a license 11 under this chapter to a person who is licensed in another jurisdiction to practice as a 12 professional counselor or associate counselor [COUNSELING] if the board finds 13 that the other jurisdiction has substantially the same or higher licensure requirements 14 as this state. 15 * Sec. 6. AS 08.29.220 is amended to read: 16 Sec. 08.29.220. Disclosure statement. A client may not be charged a fee for 17 professional counseling services unless, before the performance of the services, the 18 client was furnished a copy of a professional disclosure statement that contained 19 (1) the name, title, business address, and business telephone number of 20 the professional counselor or associate counselor; 21 (2) a description of the formal professional education of the 22 professional counselor or associate counselor, including the institutions attended and 23 the degrees received from them; 24 (3) the [PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR'S] areas of specialization 25 and the services available of the professional counselor or associate counselor; 26 (4) the [PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR'S] fee schedule listed by 27 type of service or hourly rate of the professional counselor or associate counselor; 28 (5) at the bottom of the first page of the statement, the following 29 sentence: "This information is required by the Board of Professional Counselors which 30 regulates all licensed professional counselors and associate counselors," followed by 31 the name, address, and telephone number of the board's office.

01 * Sec. 7. AS 08.29.400(a) is amended to read: 02 (a) The board may impose a disciplinary sanction under AS 08.01.075 on a 03 person licensed under this chapter or deny a license to a person when the board finds 04 that the person 05 (1) has an addiction to, or severe dependency on, alcohol or other 06 drugs that impairs the person's ability to engage safely in the practice of professional 07 counseling; 08 (2) has been convicted of a felony and has not been sufficiently 09 rehabilitated to merit the public trust; 10 (3) used fraud, deception, misrepresentation, or bribery in securing a 11 license under this chapter or in obtaining permission to take an examination required 12 under this chapter; 13 (4) is incompetent or has committed misconduct, fraud, 14 misrepresentation, or dishonesty in the performance of the functions of a licensed 15 professional counselor or associate counselor; 16 (5) violated, or assisted another individual to violate, a provision of 17 this chapter or a regulation adopted under this chapter; 18 (6) impersonated a person who holds a license under this chapter; 19 (7) has had a license related to the practice of counseling, psychology, 20 marital and family therapy, or social work in this or another jurisdiction revoked, 21 suspended, limited, or surrendered in lieu of discipline upon grounds for which a 22 license issued under this chapter could be revoked, suspended, limited, or surrendered 23 in lieu of discipline; this paragraph does not apply to license actions for failure to pay 24 a renewal fee; 25 (8) assisted another person who is not licensed under this chapter in an 26 attempt to represent the person to the public as a licensed professional counselor or 27 associate counselor; 28 (9) was issued a license based on a material mistake of fact; 29 (10) used an advertisement or solicitation that is false, misleading, or 30 deceptive to the general public or the person to whom the advertisement was primarily 31 directed; or

01 (11) failed to respond within 30 days to a written communication from 02 the board concerning an investigation by the board or failed to make available to the 03 board a relevant record with respect to an investigation about the licensee's conduct or 04 background. 05 * Sec. 8. AS 08.29.210 is repealed. 06 * Sec. 9. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 07 read: 08 TRANSITION: REGULATIONS. The Board of Professional Counselors may adopt 09 regulations necessary to implement the changes made by this Act. The regulations take effect 10 under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act), but not before the effective date of the law 11 implemented by regulation. 12 * Sec. 10. Section 9 of this Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c). 13 * Sec. 11. Except as provided by sec. 10 of this Act, this Act takes effect July 1, 2025.