July 2015 State Legislative Activity Report


State legislatures consider thousands of bills each year – many of which are of potential interest to APNA members.  The bills below represent a snapshot of state legislation across the nation – most of which have been acted upon at the committee level, by one or both bodies in the state legislature and/or have been signed into law (or awaiting signature) by the Governor in that state during calendar year 2015.   This list is not intended to be all inclusive but rather representative of key issues being considered at the state level.  Following the list of state bills is a brief summary of several state-level legislative trends that impact psychiatric nursing.


AB 468: AB 468 limits the powers and duties of guardians and conservators by prohibiting the involuntary commitment of a ward or conservatee to a mental health treatment facility, except as specified. The bill also eliminates the requirement that the Director of State Hospitals adopt and issue regulations defining “mental health treatment facility” for those purposes.
Status: Approved by the Governor on July 16.


HB 6737: Implements the recommendations of the Program Review and Investigations Committee concerning transitional services for youth and young adults with autism spectrum disorder.
Status: Signed into law on July 2.

SB 843: Encourages local and regional boards of education to include mental health first aid training and trauma-informed practices for the school setting to enable teachers, administrators and pupil personnel to more adequately respond to students with mental, emotional or behavioral health needs.
Status: Signed into law on June 30.


HB 69: Encourages health insurers and health care providers to support the use of telemedicine, including for behavioral health care, and encourages all state agencies to evaluate and amend their policies and rules to foster and promote telemedicine services.
Status: Signed into law on July 7.

SB 57: Modernizes the abbreviated title of Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) to Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).  The bill also updates the renewal and reinstatement requirements for advanced practice nursing licensure, and clarifies prescription requirements.
Status: Passed by the House on July 1.


SCR 29: Establishes the Behavioral and Mental Health Task Force to examine mental health in the State of Delaware and make recommendations for the improvement of services and the mental healthcare system.
Status: Passed the House by voice vote on July 1.


Regulatory Activity

Agency: Department of Juvenile Justice-Mental Health/Substance Abuse/Developmental Disability Services
63N-1.0085: Addresses the provision of psychiatric services within detention centers by psychiatrists and APRNs. 
Status: Final (effective July 9)


LD 1368: Requires the documentation of the use of seclusion and restraint at public or private mental health institutions in the State.
Status: Became law without the Governor's signature on June 30.


LD 1391: Allows administration of medication to a defendant who has been found incompetent to proceed without the defendant’s consent or following acceptance of an insanity plea if a court finds that certain standards have been met.
Status: Became law without the Governor's signature on July 7.


LD 1434: Amends the laws governing law enforcement's access to, and access to information about, certain persons in hospitals and mental health facilities.
Status: Signed into law on June 19.

HB 367: HB 367 alters the name of the Maryland Mental Health Crisis Response System to be the Maryland Behavioral Health Crisis Response System.  It requires the Crisis Response System to evaluate the outcomes of services through the annual collection of data on behavioral health calls received by police, attempted and completed suicides, unnecessary hospitalizations, hospital diversions, arrests and detentions and diversion of arrests and detentions of individuals with behavioral health diagnoses.
Status: Approved by the Governor on May 12, with an effective date of October 1, 2015.

HB 657: Authorizes specified pharmacists to administer a self-administered drug to a patient under specified circumstances in accordance with specified regulations.
Status: Signed by the Governor on May 12, with an effective date of October 1, 2015.


SB 426: Allows community mental health liaisons to access specified confidential records maintained by specified institutions.
Status: Signed into law on July 13.


HB 190: Establishes a statutory commission to study the standards for collaborative pharmacy practice.
Status: Signed into law on July 6.


HB 564: Declares that a managed care organization offering prescription drug benefits to Medicaid recipients shall suspend prior authorization requirements for a community mental health program on drugs used to treat mental illnesses.
Status: Signed into law on July 6.

New Hampshire

S 3068: "The Child and Family Suicide Prevention Act" requires training related to screening for suicide prevention for pediatricians, physician assistants, and advanced practice nurses.
Status: Introduced in the Senate and referred to the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on June 29.

SJR 85: Urges Congress to restore funding to the Vets4Warriors veteran suicide hotline.
Status: Introduced in the Senate on June 15 and referred to the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

New Jersey

HB 28: Requires that not later than one year after the effective date of this provision, each state institution of higher education shall develop and implement a policy to advise students and staff on suicide prevention programs available on and off campus.
Status: Signed into law on July 16.

North Carolina

HB 2638: Permits medical assistance recipients and coordinated care organizations to use the Oregon Prescription Drug Program.  The bill allows the Oregon Health Authority to deny reimbursement of legend drug until six months after approval of drug by United States Food and Drug Administration.
Status: Signed into law on June 25.


SB 72: Increases fees to take nursing examination and renew nursing license.
Status: Signed into law on July 6.


SB 226: Establishes a 17-member Task Force on Client and Staff Safety, including experts in providing mental health services, to recommend measures to ensure the safety and success of Stabilization and Crisis Units in the state of Oregon.
Status: Signed by the Speaker on July 9.

SB 233: Requires the Department of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority to suspend, instead of terminate, medical assistance for persons who are expected to remain in a correctional facility for more than 12 months.  The bill also requires reinstatement of medical assistance to persons who are residing in a state hospital who are hospitalized outside of a state hospital.
Status: Signed into law on July 6 and became effective immediately.

SB 469: Makes changes to laws governing hospital nursing staff, including laws setting forth composition of hospital nurse staffing committees and laws governing content of written hospital-wide staffing plans.
Status: Signed into law on July 6.

SB 696: Increases membership of the Behavior Analysis Regulatory Board and directs the Board to adopt rules to license behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts. The bill also directs the Health Licensing Office to establish rules for registration of behavior analysis interventionists.
Status: Signed into law on July 6.

SB 832: Requires the Oregon Health Authority to prescribe by rule standards for integrating behavioral health services and physical health services in patient centered primary care homes and behavioral health homes.
Status: Signed into law on July 3.

H 5586: Addresses civil rights of children under the supervision of the state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families including when a child may be placed in restraint or seclusion.
Status: Signed by the Governor on July 9.

H 6364: Creates a special legislative commission to study and review Rhode Island’s ongoing participation in the Nurse Licensure Compact and to provide recommendations for possible alternatives to staffing of nurses in Rhode Island’s hospitals.
Status: Passed by the House on June 25.

S 727: Prohibits the use of prone restraints in certain facilities; requires training of all service providers in the reduction/elimination of restraint and seclusion, and creates a sixteen (16) member study commission to study prone restraint and training approaches in covered facilities.  This bill would take effect upon passage.
Status: Placed on Senate calendar on June 25.

Regulatory Activity

Agency: Oregon Health Authority
309-019-0170, 309-019-0125: Prescribes minimum standards for services and supports provided by addictions and mental health providers approved by the Addictions and Mental Health Division of the Oregon Health Authority
Status: Final (effective May 28)

Agency: Department of Consumer and Business Services, Insurance Division
836-053-1404: Revises definition of mental or nervous condition and clarifying exceptions and exclusions allowed; adds appropriate diagnostic codes from the DSM-5 to the rule and clarifies allowable exceptions and exclusions to the mental health parity statute.
Status: Final (effective May 12)


HB 2283: Revises the definition of "likelihood of serious harm," for purposes of the involuntary treatment act, to include a substantial risk that physical harm will be inflicted by a person who has threatened to murder a family member or other person who resides with the person, the threat seriously alarms the family member or other person, and the threat places the family member or other person in reasonable fear the person will attempt to carry out the threat.
Status: Bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee.

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