The legislative session ended for the year on August 31, 2022, and the Governor had until the end of September to sign or veto bills. At NASW-CA we had 148 support bills on the Governor’s desk, and he vetoed 35 or 24 percent which is a higher percentage than usual. Most vetoes were accompanied by a veto message that expressed concerns of a possible recession on the horizon. The Governor also vetoed many bills if they were not also funded in the state budget.
Measures signed by the Governor which we supported included:
- AB 1758 (Aguiar-Curry) – Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) sponsored legislation to allow remote supervision in all work settings, including private practices and professional corporations. The supervisor must make a documented assessment, within 60 days of commencing supervision, that it is appropriate for the purposes of supervision for the supervisee.
- AB 1759 (Aguiar-Curry) – This BBS sponsored bill requires, on or after January 1, 2023, applicants for licensure, as a LCSW, LMFT, LEP and LPCC, and current licensees before their first renewal after January 1, 2023, to complete three-hours of training or coursework in the provision of mental health services via telehealth and revises the requirements for registrants to take and pass the California Law and Ethics Examination (CLEE) every renewal period.
- AB 1720 (Holden) – This bill, which was cosponsored by NASW-CA, allows for a simplified criminal records exemption for those with minor or old crimes to be able to work in a community care facility. This bill also deletes the “candor trap” which releases applicants from reporting old convictions when the Department already receives that information.
- AB 1860 (Ward) – Would exempt social work graduate student interns who are completing their supervised practicum hours in a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) setting from the requirement to register with a SUD counselor certifying organization.
- AB 2466 (Cervantes) – Explicitly prohibits placing agencies from declining to place a child with a resource family because a resource family parent’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The bill would also remove various uses of the phrase “hard-to-place children.”
- AB 2581 (Salas) – Would require a health care service plan or disability insurer that provides coverage for mental health and substance use disorders and credentials health care providers of those services, to assess and verify the qualifications of a health care provider within 60 days after receiving a completed provider credentialing application.
- SB 966 (Limon) – This bill continues flexibility provided under the public health emergency for FQHCs and RHCs to bill for a visit by an ACSW that is appropriately supervised.
L.E.A.D. Lobby Day Bills
- AB 2091 (Bonta) – Protects the medical privacy of patients by ensuring out of state subpoenas, which seek information related to a patient who received reproductive health care here in California, are not granted. Status: Signed by the Governor.
- AB 2167 (Kalra) – This bill, cosponsored by NASW-CA, requires the disposition of any criminal case use the least restrictive means possible and requires the court to consider alternatives to incarceration, including, without limitation, collaborative justice court programs, diversion, restorative justice, and probation. The bill also states Legislature intent that the disposition of any criminal case use the least restrictive means available. Status: Signed by the Governor.
- SB 1002 (Portantino) – Under Worker’s Compensation, this bill enables employees to seek mental health care services from a LCSW without physician referral and authorizes medical provider networks to add LCSWs as providers. Status: Signed by the Governor.
2022 Legislative Lobby Day Bills
- AB 1816 (Bryan) – Provides grants for innovative or evidence-based housing, housing-based services, and employment interventions to allow people with recent histories of incarceration to exit homelessness and remain housed. Status: Placed on the Inactive File and Dead for the year because the program was not funded in the state budget.
- AB 1900 (Arambula) – Helps low-income older adults and people with disabilities by raising the amount people can retain for basic needs from $600 to 138% of the poverty level in Medi-Cal. Status: Bill is no longer needed because the state budget funded this proposal.
- AB 2222 ( Reyes) – Provides up to $20,000 annually to social work students who commit to working for at least two years at a California based nonprofit upon completion of their graduate school program. The program prioritizes students with lived experiences as former foster and homeless youth to pursue licensure as an LCSW. Status: Bill was vetoed by the Governor, but funding was put in the budget to fund this program for one year.
Other Bills of Interest
- AB 2666 (Salas) – This bill, subject to an appropriation, would establish and administer a grant program to allocate funding in the form of stipends, to students in behavioral health fields of study and practice, who are participating in internships or completing licensure hours, through unpaid positions, at federally qualified health centers. Status: Vetoed by the Governor because it was not separately funded in the state budget.
- SB 964 (Wiener) – This bill was amended to only require a report to the Legislature on the current behavioral workforce and the state’s behavioral health workforce needs, and to make recommendations on how to address the state’s behavioral health workforce shortage. Status: Vetoed by the Governor because he felt it was duplicative of other workforce assessments and the study was not funded in the budget.
- SB 1229 (McGuire) – Establishes a program to provide 10,000 grants of up to $25,000 each for students pursuing MSWs, MFTs, MA in Psychology, MA in School Counseling, or MA in School Psychology with the goal to increase the number of behavioral health professionals serving children and youth at California public schools and in community-based organizations. Status: This bill is no longer needed as the funding was included in the enacted State Budget.