Report Title:

Marriage Therapy; Sunset



Removes sunset on the marriage and family therapy law, authorizes reciprocity, repeals exemptions dealing with overlapping occupations, and repeals violations of certain ethical standards as ground for discipline.


S.B. NO.












SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the auditor in the auditor's 2002 sunset evaluation report on marriage and family therapists made recommendations for legislative action to be taken in the event that the legislature wishes to continue the regulation of marriage and family therapists. The purpose of this Act is to implement those recommendations by removing the sunset on the law, authorizing reciprocity, repealing the exemptions for overlapping occupations, and repealing violations of certain ethical standards as a ground for discipline.

SECTION 2. Chapter 451J, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to read as follows:

"451J- Reciprocity. The director may enter into reciprocity agreements with other states and issue a license to a marriage and family therapist who has been licensed in that state; provided that the requirements for a license in the state in which the applicant is licensed are deemed by the director to be at least as stringent as the requirements for a license in this State at the date of the license."

SECTION 3. Section 26H-4, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) [(1) Chapter 451J (marriage and family therapists) shall be repealed on December 31, 2002; and

(2)] Chapter 457G (occupational therapy practice) shall be repealed on December 31, 2003."

SECTION 4. Section 451J-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]451J-6[]] Exemptions. [(a)] Licensure shall not be required of:

[(1) A person doing work within the scope of practice or duties of the person's profession that overlaps with the practice of marriage and family therapy; provided the person does not purport to be a marriage and family therapist;

(2)] (1) Any student enrolled in an accredited educational institution in a recognized program of study leading toward attainment of a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy or other professional field; provided that the student's activities and services are part of a prescribed course of study supervised by the educational institution and the student is identified by an appropriate title including but not limited to "marriage and family therapy student or trainee", "clinical psychology student or trainee", "clinical social work student or trainee", or any title which clearly indicates training status; or

[(3)] (2) Any individual who uses the title marriage and family therapy intern for the purpose of obtaining clinical experience in accordance with section 451J-7(3).

[(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent qualified members of other licensed professions as defined by any law, rule, or the department, including but not limited to social workers, psychologists, registered nurses, or physicians, from doing or advertising that they assist or treat individuals, couples, or families consistent with the accepted standards of their respective licensed professions; provided that no person, unless the person is licensed as a marriage and family therapist, shall use the title of marriage and family therapist.]"

SECTION 5. Section 451J-11, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) The department shall deny, revoke, condition, or suspend a license granted pursuant to this chapter on the following grounds:

(1) Conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction of a crime which the department has determined, by rules adopted pursuant to chapter 91, to be of a nature that renders the person convicted unfit to practice marriage and family therapy;

(2) Failing to report in writing to the director any disciplinary decision related to the provision of mental health services issued against the licensee or the applicant in any jurisdiction within thirty days of the disciplinary decision, or within thirty days of licensure;

[(3) Violation of recognized ethical standards for marriage and family therapists as set by the association;

(4)] (3) Fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining a license;

[(5)] (4) Revocation, suspension, or other disciplinary action by any state or federal agency against a licensee or applicant for any reason provided under this section; or

[(6)] (5) Other just and sufficient cause which renders a person unfit to practice marriage and family therapy."

SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.