Legislative Activity


June 2017: Texas Legislation

UPDATE

Dear Friends,

We have just had an update that the Texas governor has signed into law the bill with the amendment.

Thank you for any efforts you may have made so far, but there is no need to continue writing to the Texas governor.

Please keep a very vigilant lookout in your own legislature, for any bills relating to health and education in particular. Both the amendment in Oregon, which was dropped from the bill, and this amendment in Texas, have been extensive in their potential effects on the rights of citizens to freedom of expression and freedom of choice, and their effects on the livelihoods of many practitioners. Yet rather than being proposed in a bill of their own, in plain sight, they have been tacked on to other bills, appearing to be about routine matters unrelated to the registration or regulation of practitioners. This means that without constant vigilance, vital opportunities to present our case and defend our position at Assembly and Senate committee public hearings, are all too easily missed.

It may, however, be a hopeful sign, that the people who promote exclusion and restrictive practice seem to prefer to work in the shadows, rather than seek open debate and proper discussion. Clearly they are not too confident of their case!

Our fight for our rights, and those of our clients, goes on.

With my best wishes to you all,

Dr. John Butler
President
American Council of Hypnotist Examiners

 

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you with regard to an education bill HB 3808 that is currently before the Governor of Texas, having passed through the Texas Assembly and Senate.  This bill has attached to it an amendment that includes a flawed and very possibly unconstitutional (particularly by its scope) definition of psychology.

I am urging members not only in Texas but in other states to write respectfully to Governor Abbott, and ask others that you may know to do so also, registering your opinions that he should veto this bill with its flawed amendment.  A very brief message can be sent by contacting the Governor’s office at https://gov.texas.gov/contact

It is the case that anyone can write to the Governor stating that in their opinion this is not a good amendment for the citizens of Texas.  There is no need to go into details about the inadequacies in the definition of psychology prepared by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.  It is enough at this point that a strong level of opposition is apparent.  It may be a simple, single sentence message such as  “Please do not support HB3808”.

We have only recently become aware of this “trojan horse” amendment, which has been tacked on to an education bill.  A common tactic used to get such restrictive pieces of legislation through the legislature is by attaching them to non-controversial pieces of legislation so they escape scrutiny.  Please be aware that you do not need to identify yourself as a hypnotherapist, counselor or therapist when registering your objection.

Hypnotists and hypnotherapists need to be aware that they can be targeted by the Boards if they are known to be actively objecting to these proposals, so this is left to your discretion.   There is very little time to act as the deadline for veto is June 18th.  The legal opinion is that there is only a very slight chance of getting this veto.  Nevertheless, there is a need and a value to showing opposition to this amendment.

Regardless of what happens in the next few days this will not be end of the matter.  Texas has seen some of the most severe legal attacks on hypnotists over many years because of its restrictive legislation, so this is not unfamiliar.  For the last 2 years approximately, there has in fact not been a psychology statute in Texas because the previous definition of psychology was successfully struck down as unconstitutional in a landmark case Serafine v. Branaman, 810 F.3d 354 (5th Cir. 2016).  The new definition of psychology is also flawed and, I believe, very probably also unconstitutional.

ACHE is actively fighting for health freedom rights in all states where these are restricted.  ACHE cooperates with appropriate Health Freedom legislative initiatives and supports our members’ ability to pursue their work under First Amendment rights.

With my best wishes to you all,

Dr. John Butler
President
American Council of Hypnotist Examiners


June 2017: Successful Outcome in Oregon

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to inform you that the proposed “registering” amendment which had been added to a bill currently moving through the Oregon legislature, has now been withdrawn.  This occurred after a very strong show of opposition.  The proposed amendment would have imposed a state registration on hypnotherapists and other practitioners.

ACHE made written submissions to the Oregon Health Care Committee which was considering the amendment, and in response to our appeal to members, many informed us that they would make representations themselves, or ask others living in Oregon to do so.  In addition, representatives from the ACHE membership in Oregon were able to attend at the Committee meeting.  These efforts, in conjunction with the contributions from other organisations in the fields affected by this proposed amendment, were very effective in demonstrating the level of opposition.

While we are delighted at this successful outcome, there may be further legislation proposed in Oregon that could negatively affect our profession and we will engage with this when it occurs.  In particular, a member of the Oregon Health Care Committee, appears to hold strongly to the view that state registration of any practitioner is automatically a desirable and necessary measure.  We believe this is not the case in this instance, and we will be seeking to engage constructively on this issue.

ACHE is willing to cooperate with lawmakers regarding any fair and balanced legislation that relates to our professional practice.  We will also remain vigilant in looking out for and contesting legislative proposals that are the products of over-reaching legislative bureaucracies that put excessive demands on therapists and ultimately reduce access to therapy for clients.  We are especially focussed on contesting restrictive legislation that could be harmful to our work as hypnotherapists and to the general public in restricting their freedom of choice.  Such legislation is often framed in terms of “protecting the public” but in reality benefits nobody, except, in some cases, some professional groups attempting to improve their own position by restricting or excluding others.

In the meantime, many thanks to all those who worked in Oregon to reach this successful outcome.

With my best wishes to you all,

Dr. John Butler
President
ACHE


Thank You, Dr. Butler!

We are so fortunate to be members of ACHE!  I appreciate all that You  do for Hypnotherapists & ACHE.  I value being a continuing member, and I appreciate all those who work specifically for ACHE, on a regular basis.

Thank you for your continued focus & communication on this issue, and for informing us on how we can help (in our efforts to successfully continue to do our important work, in the best way possible, for all concerned).

I am grateful to see such dedication, diligence, knowledge, inspiration, wisdom, & vigilance in protecting our rights to practice, in the way that is best.  I greatly appreciate this process being carried out in a powerful, professional, & successful legal manner, with You at the Helm.

Gil Boyne’s “spirit” lives on in ACHE, as we work to protect the rights, value & purpose of our work, through the continuing challenges we face.

Blessings,  Brigitara Artemisis
www.GoddessenceHealingArts.com

Dear Dr. Butler,
Thank you for the update. I’m greatly relieved that this effort was successful.
 In addition, thank you for your original message. It contained such understanding of why the person (who proposed the registering requirement) presses this position that I have studied your insights both for their content and as a model of a deeply human point of view.
As we used to say (and should remember to think this way as much as possible in these currently troubled times): you know where she’s coming from. Great admiration here.
Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the Oregonians (if they will) and for your fine words with their healing power. You are much appreciated, in your many capacities as leader of ACHE.
Sincerely,
Cindy
Cynthia C. Davis, Ph.D., C.Ht.

May 2017: Pending Legislation in Oregon

We have become aware of the proposed introduction of legislation in Oregon that could have the effect of dramatically restricting the right of a hypnotist/ hypnotherapist/ coach to practice in that state unless he or she is a licensed health professional.

The proposed legislation takes the form of an amendment (A3) https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/ProposedAmendment/11442  to House Bill 2303  http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2017/HB2303/   currently moving through the Oregon Legislature.  The original bill related to relatively routine measures in healthcare administration in the state, however the amendment, which appears to have been proposed only on May 16, by Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, proposes that a state-controlled register be set up to register all practitioners in the state who are “Alternative Health Practitioners”, who are listed as including a) Hypnotherapist b) Sexologist c) Somatic Therapist d) Life coach e) Parenting Coach f) Wellness Coach.

The proposed amendment requires not only that such practitioners do not hold themselves out as licensed (with which we agree in the spirit of truthful advertising, and which is covered by our Code of Ethics in any case) but also must be registered by a state agency, whose expenses are to be covered by the registration fees charged to practitioners, and who will have authority to lay down conditions of practice.  This could leave hypnotherapists “at the mercy” of a regulatory system principally under the control of state-appointed “experts” drawn from the licensed healthcare professions in which hypnotherapists and coaches have little power.  Any assurances to the contrary from regulators, even if well-intentioned, could be worth very little as the system “evolved”, even in a short period of time.

We consider that this proposal is an unnecessary and burdensome expense and bureaucracy, and that self-regulation of standards and practice is working well for clients and practitioners and has been doing so for a long time.  We are not aware of any incident or complaint that may have sparked such a proposal and we believe that consultation with the professional associations working in the field is the best way to proceed, rather than the imposition of an authority.   We are currently working with ACHE members and hypnotists and coaches from other organizations in the state in strongly opposing the introduction of this legislation.

There is a meeting of the Senate Committee on Health Care on Tuesday May 30.  If you are a resident, or know any residents, in Oregon, please contact, or ask them to contact, the office of

Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson (a former nurse and health educator)

Chairperson, Senate Committee on Health Care

Tel: 503-986-1725
Email: sen.lauriemonnesanderson@state.or.us

and/or the other members of the committee

Vice chairman: Senator Jeff Kruse
Email address: Sen.JeffKruse@state.or.us
Office phone number 503 – 986 – 1701 direct phone number 541–580–3276

Member: Senator Lee Beyer
Email address: Sen.LeeBeyer@oregonlegislature.gov
Office phone number: 503–986–1706

Member: Senator Tim Knopp
Email address: SenTimKnopp@oregonlegislature.gov
Office phone number: 503–986–1727

Member: Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (the proposer of this amendment, she is a family physician who has stated she suffers from multiple sclerosis and major depression http://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-mental-health-debate-personal-for-one-oregon-lawmaker/  – her personal statement says “I am committed to protecting Oregon families, creating jobs, supporting our schools, and taking care of our most vulnerable.”)
Email address: Sen.ElizabethSteinerHayward@state.or.us
Office phone number 503–986–1717 direct phone number: 503–547–3543

When contacting any member of the Senate, please be courteous and remember they no doubt believe/propose that their views are correct and in the public interest.  In particular, the proposer of the amendment, Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, seems a person of strong ideals and convictions and being in a highly regulated profession herself (medicine), may not have experience of the self-regulated field and is likely to believe that regulation solves many problems.  She may also, as a sufferer from a degenerative condition, have encountered “cult-like” therapies and proponents of “cures” who charge high prices, make unjustified claims and even advocate hazardous practices.  We believe that existing consumer and criminal legislation, properly used, offers a reasonable level of protection of the public from these sorts of practices, and there is no need to burden reputable practitioners because of the unscrupulous behavior of others.

Our intention in contacting the members of the Committee is to provide information on the other side of the argument and to enable them to realize that there is another vital side of the argument that must not be ignored.  Please state succinctly, for instance, if it is the case, that you personally or those close to you have benefited from the services of hypnotherapy practitioners, that their charges were reasonable, their interactions professional, and you don’t feel the proposed legislation is either necessary or desirable.

We are making a submission to the Committee, and will keep you updated on this matter.

With my best wishes to you all,

Dr. John Butler

President, American Council of Hypnotist Examiners


February 2011: Victory in Florida

The ACHE and many of our members have been actively involved in working to stop severely restrictive legislation in Florida. The bill has just been withdrawn! This happened surprisingly easily and very rapidly, considering the many months and various stages that are frequently involved in legislative battles.

We wish to thank all of those within and outside of the ACHE who took action and helped achieve this resounding success. We must remain vigilant, since there are currently plans for further attempts at very restrictive legislation within the United States. The earlier we can eliminate any restrictive bill, the better.


Urgent Notice With September 14 Deadline: We Need Another Victory

September 7, 2010

Most of our legislative work is done quietly in the background, or may include focused contact with a limited group of hypnotherapists. Part of our current work is to help with the crisis for California hypnotherapy (and other vocational) schools. This is so important that we are now reaching out to our membership, hypnotherapists and the general public for support.

Our legislative work is usually directly for the benefit of hypnotherapists. In this case it’s specifically about protecting legitimate licensed schools, which of course are key to continuing to improve hypnotherapy standards.

Assembly Bill 48 went into effect this year, creating a new agency and laws in California for the regulation of vocational schools. The new B.P.P.E. is currently trying to apply additional “emergency regulations,” some of which involve costs and requirements that are extremely harsh and inappropriate for smaller schools, treating them in some ways like large multi-state corporations. Below is the update that was sent out this week to California school operators and others, along with the A.C.H.E. letter sent to the B.P.P.E. We request that you send a letter by September 14 and pass this information on. Thank you.


Letter to Schools in California, Concerned Hypnotherapists and Consumers

This is an update to the email we sent three weeks ago. To review, up until July 28, Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education representatives stated that both re-approval applications and annual financial statements would require audits per their new emergency regulations. Because of our challenges to the latter requirement they backed off and have accepted that annual statements won’t require audits. That was a big victory, but they kept the text to require audited financial statements with each re-approval process.

During the August public input period we focused our letters on removing the audited re-approval requirement. We’re pleased that in this latest round, our A.C.H.E. letter was used again as an informational guide and a sample letter for many schools and individuals outside of the A.C.H.E. (including for other vocations), and this time our information and letter was even disseminated by organizations of schools. We’re getting the word out and making a difference.

The B.P.P.E. has released it’s updated Modified Text. We’re pleased to report another major breakthrough. The audit is no longer being required for re-approvals. However, now they are requiring a review by an accounting firm. While not nearly as bad as an audit, such a requirement is utterly unnecessary. It would be very time-consuming and prohibitively expensive for smaller schools, costing up to $5500. This would be on top of the skyrocketing fees for smaller schools just implemented by SB 48.

We are now being given a limited opportunity for public feedback about the newest modified regulations that they’ve just released. The BPPE needs to receive your comments by Tueday, September 14 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.

We are once again providing the letter below for more details, and for the option to use as a model for your own letter. The issues have simplified this round, so this letter is considerably briefer than the previous ones. Besides getting the word out again to many other schools for action and dissemination, we are also bringing this crisis to the attention of the A.C.H.E. membership.

Please email directly to Joanne Wenzel at joanne.wenzel@dca.ca.gov or fax to her attention at (916) 574-8646. Since the B.P.P.E. has released additional modified regulations about other issues within the last week, please clearly reference the “Modified Regulations announced 8/30/10,” such as was done in the official A.C.H.E. letter. If you are emailing, have your letter within the email (not as an attachment).

Please email or fax your letters in time, and promptly pass on this info to any others who may want to write as well. For those of us in California, it would be effective to also contact your State Senator and Assemblyperson by phone, email or fax. We need to do everything we can to avoid the considerable time, hassle and expense of reviewed financial statements.

For us to have maximum leverage, it would be helpful if you send a copy of your correspondence to either A.C.H.E. HQ: hypnotismla@earthlink.net or fax: (818) 247-9379 or Randal Churchill: churchill@hypnotherapy.com or fax (707) 569-9599. Thank you.

Letter to B.P.P.E.

September 7, 2010

Joanne Wenzel
Department of Consumer Affairs for
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
1625 North Market Blvd., Suite S-202
Sacramento, CA 95834

re: Modified Regulations announced 8/30/10

Dear Ms. Wenzel,

I am writing this letter because of our great concerns about the proposed rules in the Modified Regulations announced 8/30/10 to require reviewed financial statements for re-approval for smaller schools. I wrote my previous letters to you as past President of the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners, a California non-profit organization that is dedicated to setting and maintaining high standards in our profession. Beginning today, I am again A.C.H.E. President, as well as being Director of a BPPE-approved school, the Hypnotherapy Training Institute, I am writing on behalf of all 11 schools in California that are ACHE members as well as BPPE-approved. Our grave concerns about proposed review requirements are shared by the smaller vocational schools throughout the state.

AB 48 Proposed Modified Regulations Section 71240(b) requires that schools have reviewed financial statements for approval. AB 48 Proposed Modified Regulations Section 71475(e) requires that schools making under $500k annual gross revenues have reviewed financial statements for re-approval. For approval and re-approval, the BPPVE previously allowed schools collecting under $750,000 in annual student charges to submit financial statements done in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, which costs around $500. Each review required by the proposed Modification Regulation would cost up to $5500. On top of huge fee increases for small schools added by AB 48, reviewed financial statements would add a great burden for the smaller schools. For schools with annual revenues below $750k, we request a return of Section 71240(b) and Section 71475(e) to the pre-sunset rules.

The Office of Administrative Law requires that all of the proposed Modified Regulations are necessary, but no necessity has been established for such extreme new requirements for smaller schools. As it is, the smaller schools are now faced with further regulatory requirements and surging increases of fees (such as re-approval fees) imposed by AB 48. This is above and beyond the current extraordinarily difficult economy. By preventing implementation of these unnecessary and prohibitively expensive reviews, we will avoid major added burdens and the tragedy of many school closures. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Randal Churchill
President, American Council of Hypnotist Examiners

The Law For California Hypnotherapists

We are keeping the following letter and links here because we continue to get questions occasionally about the law in California, including from hypnotherapists moving into that state.

New Law For California Hypnotherapists

Dear Colleagues,
For many years, California has had restrictive laws concerning virtually any issue that could be remotely related to medical practice. Many complementary healing practitioners have been in technical violation of California’s Medical Practices acts, but there were not sufficient funds to prosecute alternative practitioners except in extreme cases of violation of the Act. However, with the medical establishment’s awareness of the increase of major advertising abuses, new State funds have recently been appropriated to prosecute alternative practitioners. Common abuses have included: massage therapists who claim state licensure and hypnotherapists who claim medical and dental certification or affiliation. In addition, attempts were underway to develop further restrictive legislation.

Here is the good news. The ACHE has joined forces with many complementary practitioners who developed alliances to transform this attempted negative legislation into landmark legislation that is very positive with the recent passage of Senate Bill 577.

In SB577, the Legislature declares that millions of Californians are presently utilizing complementary health care services, and that in spite of the possible technical violations of the Medical Practices Act there is no demonstration that these practices are harmful. The basis of the new law is simple: anyone who is otherwise law-abiding and does not perform a listed set of potentially dangerous practices should not be considered in violation of the Medical Practices Act.

The law goes into effect January 1, 2003. Starting at that time, those therapists who are not licensed in the healing arts are required to have new clients read and sign a disclosure form. The client receives a copy and the therapist is required to keep the signed copy for three years. The disclosure must include a statement that the therapist is not a licensed physician, that the session is complementary to healing arts services licensed by the state, and that the therapist’s services are not licensed by the state. Therapist must describe the theory upon which the services are based, the nature of the services, and therapist’s education, training, and experience. See sample disclosure which ACHE has developed to provide this information in a positive, effective and professional way.

A significant aspect of the law is that those who are non-licensed must disclose in their advertising that they are not licensed by the state as a healing arts practitioners. We can elaborate on this issue in our literature by making the following statement:

“Hypnotherapy is a self-regulated profession and does not qualify for State licensing. The American Council Of Hypnotist Examiners is a non-profit professional organization, chartered by the State of California, to establish training standards, standards of professional practice, and a code of ethics. The ACHE’s Ethics Committee can suspend or revoke certification. Certification is awarded to those who attend ACHE approved schools, with ACHE approved hypnotherapy instuctors. Although the state does not regulate curriculum or a required number of hours of training, the American Council of Hypnotism Examiners has the highest requirements for certification of any major Hypnotherapy organization in the USA. The ACHE logo is the Hallmark of Quality for the Hypnotherapy profession. Be sure to look for it.”

The new law is a major step forward in the legal recognition of hypnotherapy and other complementary healing arts practices. California is one of the first states to develop such a law, and we predict many other states will enact similar laws in the years ahead.

With respect to all,
Gil Boyne, Founder, ACHE
Randal Churchill, President, ACHE

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