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 FAQS for more information on how to do this. Each year there are many bills forcing public and private health insurance providers to cover CAM services (especially chiropractic). Because of the sheer volume of these bills we are unable to include them in our legislative updates at this time.

Naturopathy

For more information on naturopathy and why naturopaths should not be licensed see the Oppose Naturopathic Licensing! website.

COLORADO: House Bill 1075. 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 patients, including a complete ban on their seeing patients under 2 years of age.  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 patients younger than 2, but with the same restrictions that apply to patients 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.

IOWA: NEW!  Senate Study Bill 1067; House Study Bill 51. 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 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: NEW! House Bill 725. Naturopathic licensing bill. Would give naturopaths, who would be allowed to call themselves "physicians," a scope of practice almost as broad as an MD or DO primary care physician. They would be  regulated by their own board, the Board of Naturopathic Medicine. They could prescribe drugs, if these drugs are on the naturopathic formulary approved by a formulary council consisting of 2 two naturopaths, two pharmacists and one MD or DO. The approved prescription drugs could be by all the usual routes, including IV. Naturopaths could practice "naturopathic childbirth attendance" as well, with some additional training and passing an approved exam.  One of these exams is that of the North American Registry of Midwives,  an organization of"direct-entry midwives," that is, midwives who have no formal medical training. All the usual naturopathic nostrums would be included in their practice act: dietary supplements, homeopathy, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, colonic hydrotherapy. They would be allowed to use a wide range of diagnostic procedures, including ordering and performing phlebotomy, clinical lab tests, orificial exams, and physiological function tests and ordering diagnostic imagining. These would presumably include such things as PET scans, MRIs, x-rays, spirometry and cardiac function testing. 

MONTANA: Senate Bill 133. Currently, naturopaths have a limited formulary that includes some prescription drugs. This bill would allow naturopaths to prescribe all prescription drugs, thereby giving the same prescriptive authority at medical doctors.

NEW JERSEY: Assembly Bill 814. 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. 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 the Board's MD or DO, naturopath, pharmacist and APRN. Formulary cannot include Schedule I-IV controlled substances except anabolic steroids. Naturopaths can currently prescribe homeopathic remedies, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, dietary supplements and "botanical medicines."  If on the formulary, this will mean they will be able to adminster these substances by injection, including IV. Bill would also allow naturopaths to perform "minor office procedures," but not skin biopsies.  Permits naturopaths to perform "naturopathic childbirth attendance" but only after completing a 3-year certified professional midwifey curriculum approved by Board and passing a standardized Board-endorsed exam, such as that of the North American Registry of Midwives, the certifying agency for direct-entry midwives.  Direct-entry midwives do not need any prior medical education, such as a nursing degree, to be certified. 

RHODE ISLAND: NEW! Senate Bill 94. Naturopathic licensing bill. This bill is 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.

Chiropractic

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, methocarbomol and cyclobenzaphrine.  Certification requires an unspecified number of hours studying pharmacology at a chiropractic college and "postgraduate study," which appears to be a sort of self-study with an instructor from a chiropractic, medical or osteopathic school.  It also requires a "rotation" of an unspecified number of hours under the supervision of an MD or DO, and passing an exam approved by the state chiropractic board. 

MISSISSIPPI: NEW! House Bill 729. 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

VIRGINIA: Senate Bill 1244. Expands chiropractic scope of practice to include physical exams for commericial driver's licenses or instructors for such licenses. 

WYOMING: Senate Bills 61 and 79. Permits chiropractors to use the term "chiropractic physician."

Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Oriental Medicine

MISSISSIPPI: NEW! Senate Bill 2319; House Bill 898: 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. 

OKLAHOMA: NEW! 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. 

Other CAM Practitioners

No pending bills.

Other Bills of Interest

WASHINGTON: NEW! House Bill 1476. 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.  This bill would repeal that exemption.