Legislative Updates displays bills pending in the 2015-2016 state legislative sessions. To view bills from the 2013-2014 sessions and their results, see Legislative Archive. We expect many new bills will be introduced during the next few months. Please check back weekly.
Bills are listed by state and subject, with a brief explanation of what's in the bill. Unless indicated otherwise, we believe the listed bills should not pass. Unfortunately, most CAM bills filed in the state legislatures are pro-CAM. Bills added to the list this week, or with updated information, are marked NEW!
To voice your opinion on these bills (and we hope you will) you need to find out where they are in the legislative process and how to contact state legislators in the states where they are pending. See
For more information on naturopathy and why naturopaths should not be licensed see the
CALIFORNIA: Senate Bill 538. Major expansion of naturopathic scope of practice. Would remove MD/DO oversight of naturopathic prescribing, including MD/DO having to sign off on prescription of controlled substances and the requirement that they follow specific protocols for certain drugs. Expands practice to include parenteral therapy and minor office surgical procedures and cervical routes of administration of drugs. Would remove requirement that non-ND licensed professional perform and interpret diagnostic studies by allowing naturopaths to perform, review and interpret results of diagnostic procedures, including venipuncture, lab tests, electrocardiograms, diagnostic imaging and biopsies.
COLORADO: NEW! House Bill 1075. Passed House & Senate; signed by Governor. Committees considering this bill kept adding addtional limitations on naturopathic practice as it moved through the House. Colorado passed a naturopathic registration (but not licensing) act for naturopaths in 2013. The bill contained provisions protecting children by placing restrictions on naturopathic treatment of pediatric "clients" including a complete ban on their seeing patients under 2 years of age. (Those who see naturopaths are not referred to as "patients" in the naturopathic registration law, but are called "clients.") They tried to get rid of these restrictions last year, but failed. This year, they are attempting a more modest amendment than in 2014. Instead of completly lifting the pediatric practice restrictions, they are asking the legislature to allow them to see clients younger than 2, but with the same restrictions that apply to clients between 2 and 8: providing the parent with the recommended vaccination schedule, 3 hours of yearly contining education in pediatrics, informing the parent that the naturopath is not a licensed physician, recommending that the child have a relationship with a licensed health care provider and referring a child to such a provider for a wellness evaluation if the child has no such relationship. Bill amended in committee to add additional hours of training, including recognizing a sick infant and when to refer an infant for more intensive care and, in its latest version, requiring a collaborative agreement with a licensed pediatrician or family practice physician to "ensure safety" of clients under 2. Naturopathic registration law will undergo "sunset review" and could be repealed in its entirety on September 1, 2017. The state must collect data from naturopaths who see clients under 2, including adverse reactions to naturopathic treatments.
CONNECTICUT: House Bill 6797. Last year Connecticut "modernized" the naturopathic scope of practice by substantially expanding it. Naturopaths failed to get prescription privileges but are trying again this year. No bill allowing them to prescribe has been introduced, but this bill directs the Department of Health, in consultation with the state Board of Natuorpathic Examiners, to submit a report to the legislature, by February, 2016, on the naturopathic scope of practice, including prescribing privileges.
HAWAII: Senate Bill 1216. Failed deadline for further consideration. This bill allows naturopaths to corner the market in colon hydrotherapy by specifically excluding others, except licensed physicians and nurse practitioners (who wouldn't use it on patients for "detoxification" anyway) from performing it. The rationale is colon hydrotherapy can be dangerous when performed by untrained persons. That is true, but allowing only trained persons to use it doesn't address a more basic issue with colonic hydrotherapy: it is based on the
IDAHO: NEW! House Bill 181. Passed House; on Senate Floor. This bill appears to be a new iteration of naturopathic licensing bills with a new and even broader scope of practice. Gone is the language defining naturopathy in terms of the "body's self-healing ability," i.e., vitalism. Defines "naturopathic medicine" as "a distinct and comprehensive system of primary health care practiced by naturopathic physicians" and "natural health care services" as a "broad domain" including "diagnosis and treatment," but leaves the content of naturopathic practice largely up to a Board of Naturopathic "Physicians" using the vague standard that the practices permitted by the new law must be "consistent with naturopathic education and training." Could perform minor office procedures, prescribe prescription drugs and medical devices as determined by a fomulary approved by the Board. The Board can approve "specialties," which are not defined in the bill but which presumably would include such things as "naturopathic oncology" and "naturopathic childbirth attendance." "Gross negligence [but apparently not regular negligence], incompetence or misconduct" is prohibited, but not falling below a standard of care. No malpractice insurance is requried. Naturopaths cannot be disciplined solely for using "unconventional" practices unless a patient is actually harmed and the patient has signed a waiver acknowledging the practice is "unconventional." Conviction of a crime is grounds for discipline but naturopath can request an "exemption review" so that his conviction doesn't count against him, if the Board establishes a rule allowing such reviews.
ILLINOIS: Senate Bill 1601; House Bill 3508. Naturopathic licensing bills. Like last year's unsuccessful bills, these bills would license naturopathic "physicians" but are vague on details. Would be regulated by the state medical licensing board and state medical disciplinary board, each of which would have one naturopath member. No scope of practice defined, but they would be able to perform a number of tasks that medical doctors now perform, such as certify sick leave for certain state employees.
IOWA: Senate Study Bill 1067; House Study Bill 51. Naturopathic licensing bills. These bills are identical and have the same provisions as study bills that failed to pass last year. In Iowa, study bills are used to determine reception to an issue by the General Assembly and are developed under the auspices of a legislative committee. If a study bill is approved by the committee it can then be considered by the General Assembly. These study bills would give NDs an extremely broad scope of practice comparable to an MD or DO PCP and they could call themselves "physicians." NDs could diagnose and treat any patient with any disease or condition, order lab tests and diagnostic imaging, and prescribe drugs unless the drug is excluded by the naturopathic exclusionary formulary. They could administer drugs by numerous methods, including IV. NDs would be governed by the Medical Board acting on the advice of a naturopathic advisory committee, consisting of 4 NDs, one MD or DO, one pharmacist and one public member, giving the NDs an automatic majority. This advisory committee would recommend which prescription drugs would be excluded from naturopathic practice. In other words, drugs are presumed included unless excluded. No malpractice insurance is required.
MISSISSIPPI: House Bill 725. Failed. Died in committeee.
MONTANA: Senate Bill 133. Postponed indefinately. Currently, naturopaths have a
NEW JERSEY: Assembly Bill 814, Senate Bill 1190. Naturopathic licensing bill. Bill defines naturopathic doctors as practitioners of primary health care and gives them the authority to independently diagnose and treat any patient with any condition, injury or disease. Naturopaths could order diagnostic tests, including x-rays; use typical naturopathic remedies such as homeopathy, dietary supplements, colonic irrigation, and "neutriceuticals;" and prescribe durable medical equipment. They would be self-governed by a naturopathic board. Establishes an advisory committee to look into "naturopathic childbirth attendance."
NORTH DAKOTA: Senate Bill 2194. Passed Senate on reconsideration, to House. Expands naturopathic scope of practice to include prescription drugs if on a formulary established by a subcommittee of the Board of Integrative Medicine consisting of an MD or DO, naturopath, pharmacist and APRN. Formulary cannot include Schedule I-IV controlled substances except
PENNSYLVANIA: House Bill 516, Senate Bill 621. Naturopathic licensing bill. Grants naturoapths a broad scope of practice, defining naturopathy as "a system of primary health care," allowing them to diagnose and treat any patient with any disease or condition. Could order diagnostic tests and imaging, which is a gateway to their diagnosing and treating invented naturopathic diseases like "chronic yeast overgrowth" and "adrenal fatigue." Cannot prescribe drugs but can use homeopathy (defined as substances "given in microdosage in the prevention and treatment of disease"), viatimins, minerals and enzymes, colon hydrotherapy and "electromagnetic enegy," and
RHODE ISLAND: NEW! Senate Bills 94, 331, House Bills 5501,5380. House Comm. on Health, Education, Welfare recommends HB 5501 & 5380 be held for further study; Senate Comm. on Health & Human Services recommends same for SB 94 & 331. Naturopathic licensing bills. These bills are similar to a licensing bill that failed to pass last year. Gives naturopaths a broad scope of practice similar to MD/DO primary care physicians. Could diagnose any patient of any age with any disease or condition using all diagnostic methods "commonly used" by medical PCPs, a term that is undefined. Presumably, this would include the ability to order and interpret the reports of, for example, EKGs, MRIs, CT scans, PET scans, EEGs. Defines naturopathy as the practice of supporting and stimulating the body's self-healing ability, i.e., vitalism. Permits prescription of "natural medicines" and defines "natural" as "present in, produced by, or derived from nature," which could mean practically any substance. Permits use of homeopathy. NDs would be overseen by Department of Health with two naturopaths as its sole advisors.
WASHINGTON: Senate Bill 5815. Expands prescriptive authority of naturopaths. Authorizes a naturopath to prescribe and administer legend drugs; hydrocodone products contained in Schedule II of the uniform controlled substances act; and controlled substances contained in Schedules III through V of the uniform controlled substances act.
ARIZONA: House Bill 2215. Establishes certification for chiropractors to practice "animal chiropractic." For veterinarians, establishes a "specialist certification" in animal chirorpactic. Applicants must complete a "postgraduate course" in animal chiropractic and pass an exam. These "postgraduate courses" are weekend programs at small animal chiropractic trade-type schools not affiliated with any accredited institution of higher education except one at Parker University, a straight chiropractic college.
ARIZONA: Senate Bill 1040. Permits chiropractors "certified in pharmacology" to prescribe prescription-strength doses of ibuprofen, naproxen,
HAWAII: House Bill 997. Failed deadline for further consideration. Expands chiropractic scope of practice and allows chiropractors to call themselves "physicians." Currently, chiropractors are limited to "adjustments" of the spine with limited permission to treat certain extra-spinal neuromusculoskeletal conditions. This bill would elimiate those restrictions and allow chiropractors to diagnose and treat any disease or abnormality (except for use of legend drugs and surgery), the only limitation being that diagnostic methods and treatments be taught by an accredited chiropractic college. They could also employ "clinical nutritional methods," which would give them the authority to perform bogus "nutritional" testing and sell dietary supplements to patients. They could use or order diagnostic and laboratory testing as well as any other method of diagnostic examination as long as the latter are taught by chiropractic colleges and approved by the state chiropractic board. This is another of several recent attempts in the state legislatures to default to the chiropractic colleges to determine a chiropractor's scope of practice.
IDAHO: NEW! House
MISSISSIPPI: House Bill 729. Failed. Died in committee. Chiropractic is defined under current law as the analysis of "nerve interferences" and manipulation/adjustment to "restore and maintain health." This is straight "subluxation" based chiropractic. Chiropractors are permitted to use x-rays in their practices. This bill would allow them to use any "radiologic technologies" necessary for their services. Thus, the bill would allow the use of PET scans, CT scans, MRIs and other forms of radiation-emitting technologies to detect the non-existent chiropractic "subluxation," thereby exposing patients to radiation for no good reason.
NEBRASKA: Legislative Bill 211. Under current law, school children must have a physical exam and eye exam at certain ages performed by a physician, physician's assistant or APRN. An optometrist can also perform the the eye exam. This bill would also allow chiropractors to perform physical and eye exams.
NEW MEXICO: Senate Bill 376. Public Affairs Committee voted "do pass" as amended; ICA reports that bill voted down in Judiciary Comm. on 3/13; Legislature adjourned. This is another effort in a continuing attempt to
TEXAS: House Bill 3925. Expands chiropractic scope of practice in a way that may not be obvious to those unfamiliar with chiropractic code words. Under current law, chiropractors can analyze and treat a "biomechanical condition of the spine and musculoskeletal system." Treatments include "adjustments" and other nonsurgical procedures "to improve the
VIRGINIA: Senate Bill 1244. Expands chiropractic scope of practice to include
WYOMING: Senate Bills 61 and 79. Failed legislative deadline; unlikely to be considered in this session. Permits chiropractors to use the term "chiropractic physician."
Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Oriental Medicine
IOWA: House Study Bill 101. Substantially expands acupuncturist's scope of practice to include "oriental medicine," which includes moxibustion, cupping, reflexology, magnets, herbal medicine, dietary supplements, mind-body techniques and stimulation by a device that doesn't pierce the skin. Defaults to the acupuncture accrediting organizations to determine what other clinical practices can be added. In addition, acupuncturists would be allowed to "promote, maintain, and restore health, improve bodily function and prevent disease." Existing requirement that patients be notified that the acupuncturist's services must not be regarded as diagnosis, treatment, opinion or advice from a physician is eliminated.
MASSACHUSETTS: House Bill 930. In addition to expanding health insurance coverage for acupuncture, would establish a commission to investigate "better integrated use of acupuncture services."
MAINE: NEW! House Bill 751. Establishes a pilot project for treatment of substance abuse disorders with
MISSISSIPPI: Senate Bill 2319; House Bill 898. Failed. Died in committee. Acupuncturists are again trying to repeal a requirement that a physician examine a patient and give the patient a referral to an acupuncturist before the acupuncturist can treat the patient. Similar bills were defeated last year.
NEW YORK: Assembly Bill 2558, Senate Bill 3911. Expands acupuncture scope of practice to include recommendation of diet, herbs and "natural products." These include custom-made remedies and herbal products, but only with passage of "herbal competency exam." Adds continuing education requirements for acupuncturists and makes changes to their regulatory board, one of which is to include 3 physicians who practice acupuncture.
NORTH DAKOTA: Senate Bill 2191. Passed Senate & House; to Governor for signature (or not). Acupuncture licensing act. Defines scope of practice fairly narrowly as including botanical medicine and needle acupuncture, but without "electronic stimulation." Provides that hospitals may employ acupuncturists. Would be regulated by State Board of Integrative Health Care.
OKLAHOMA: Senate Bill 489. Acupuncture licensing act giving acupuncturists an extremely broad scope of practice. Acupuncture is defined as a form of "primary heatlh care" that "employs acupuncture diagosis and treatment" and "adjunctive therapies and diagnostic techniques" for "promotion, maintenance and restoration of health and the prevention of disease." There is absolutely no evidence that acupuncture does any of these things. They may, among other methods, employ needle acupuncture and moxibustion, prescribe herbs, and give dietary advice. Puts acupuncturists under the jurisdiciton of the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision, but the Board's authority to enact regulations is limited to subjects like continuing education and certain other matters regarding licensing. Advisory Committee consisting of acupuncturists and public members advises Board. No malpractice insurance required.
RHODE ISLAND: NEW! House Bill 5381; Senate Bill 234. House Comm. on Health, Education, Welfare and Senate Comm. on Health & Human Services recommend bills be held for further study. Adds the practice of "Oriental medicine" to acupuncture practice act. Defined very broadly as a form of "primary health care" using Chinese medical and acupuncture diagnostics, including those based on "newer scientific models" for "assessment, treatment, preventaion and cure of any disease." May use acupuncture, moxibustion, gwa/sha, thermography, herbs, homeopathy and "supplement therapy."
WYOMING: House Bill 246. Failed; died in committee. Acupuncture and oriental medicine licensing bill. Defines acupuncture and oriental medicine broadly as a "form of primary health care" based on oriental medicine concepts for diagnosis and treatment of disease and health promotion. Could "stimulate points on the body" with lancets, needles, magnets, electricity and suction, among other methods. Could prescribe and sell, among others, herbal remedies to patients, as well as homeopathic treatments, glandulars and dietary supplements. Would be regulated by a board consisting of 4 acupuncturists and one public member.
Other CAM Practitioners
No pending bills.
Other Bills of Interest
WASHINGTON: House Bill 1476, Senate Bill 5408. Voted "do pass" in House Judiciary Comm. & Senate Comm. on Human Services, Mental Health & Housing. Under current law, failure to provide medical care to a child or dependent person can constitute criminal mistreatment and can be punished as a misdemeanor or felony. However, the statute provides an exemption: Christian Science treatment by a Christian Science practiitoner in lieu of medical care is not considered deprivation of medically necessary health care. A civil statute governing protection of childen from abuse and neglect states that Christian Science treatment in lieu of medical care is not by itslef neglect. The bills would repeal both the criminal and civil provisions.