Legislature(1995 - 1996)

01/30/1996 02:30 PM Senate L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 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                 
 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              
 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                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects