State Associations in the Thick of Legislative Action
Mike Jawer, AANP Director of Government and Public Affairs
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
by: Mike Jawer, AANP Director of Government and Public Affairs

Section: State and Federal Advocacy

Numerous state associations are pushing forward with their licensure or scope expansion bills or have achieved outright victories lately in their legislatures. Here’s a quick roundup of activity in more than a dozen states:
  • Colorado’s bill authorizing NDs to treat children under the age of 2 passed both houses and will be signed into law by Gov. Hickenlooper. Congratulations to the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Doctors and its intrepid president, Dr. Denise Clark.
  • A bill in Oregon that would have removed the philosophical and religious exemptions for childhood vaccines was dropped. The Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians mobilized to express concern in a measured and positive way.
  • A bill in Oklahoma that would have restricted NDs’ ability to provide patients with nutritional counseling has been stymied. Kudos to the Oklahoma Association of Naturopathic Physicians for stepping up and exerting lobbying pressure.
  • Legislation introduced in Hawaii to codify Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act so that insurers are obliged to cover NDs passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House. Congratulations to the Hawaii Society of Naturopathic Physicians and especially Drs. Michael Traub and Karen Frangos.
  • Illinois’s bill to license NDs was heard in the Senate Healthcare Licenses Committee; a hearing will be held soon on a companion bill in the House. Steady progress in relationship building is being made by the Illinois Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
  • Bills to license NDs in Pennsylvania have been introduced in both the House and Senate. The former is essentially the same bill that overwhelmingly passed the House in 2014.
  • Idaho’s licensure bill was reported out of the House Health and Welfare Committee. Kudos to the Idaho Chapter of the AANP – particularly Drs. Sara Rodgers and Diana Crumrine – for making energetic arguments in the face of staunch opposition.
  • Connecticut’s scope expansion bill went through its first hearing in the Public Health Committee.
  • Rhode Island’s licensure bill received a House hearing, with testimony led by Dr. Marci Feibelman, president of the Rhode Island Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
  • Bills to license NDs have been introduced in two very different “M” states – Massachusetts and Mississippi.
  • A bill to license Nevada NDs will receive its first Senate hearing this week. Kudos to the newly formed Nevada Association of Naturopathic Physicians and its president, Dr. Robert Maki.
  • California’s scope expansion bill will also receive its first hearing this week.
Licensure bills will also be introduced soon in New York and Michigan.
It’s an exciting season for advocacy efforts all across the country. For updates, stay tuned to Naturopathic Now.
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