Bill Summary for H 791 (2021-2022)

Summary date: 

May 3 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 791 (Public) Filed Monday, May 3, 2021
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH AND ENTER INTO AN INTERSTATE COMPACT FOR THE PRACTICE OF PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING AND TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS TO ASSIST WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS.
Intro. by Wheatley, Szoka, Martin, Adcock.

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Bill summary

Enacts new Article 24A, Professional Counseling Licensure Compact, to GS Chapter 90. States the purpose and objectives of the Professional Counseling Licensure Compact (Compact) and sets forth 26 defined terms. Grants licensed professional counselors the privilege to practice in Compact states, subject to the requirements and restrictions provided in the Compact. Sets criteria for State participation in the Compact, including having a mechanism in place for receiving and investigating complaints about licensees. Requires states to use procedures for considering criminal history records for initial privileges, including fingerprinting or similar biometric-based procedures to obtain criminal history records from the FBI and the respective state's criminal history database. Details further requirements of states regarding criminal background checks of applicants. Establishes qualifications licensees must meet to exercise the Compact privilege, including having no encumbrances on any state license within the previous two years and having notified the Counseling Compact Commission (Commission) that the licensee is seeking the privilege in a remote state. Allows member states to charge a fee for granting a privilege to practice. Establishes that the privilege to practice is derived from the home state license, and provides for the jurisdiction of the remote member state in regards to practicing laws and licensure. 

Limits licensed professional counselors to one home state license at a time and provides for privilege validity until expiration of the home state license. Provides for obtaining a new home state license by virtue of the Compact privilege. Sets forth detailed parameters regarding practice in remote member states. Provides for active duty military personnel or their spouses' home state designation. Requires member states to recognize the right of Compact licensees to practice telehealth, subject to laws and regulations of the respective remote state. Allows remote state regulatory authorities to take adverse action against a licensed professional counselor's privilege to practice in that member state, and issue subpoenas for hearings and investigations. Restricts authority to take adverse action against a license issued by the home state to the home state. Mandates loss of privilege in any remote state if a home state license is encumbered until the home state license is no longer encumbered. Establishes parameters for adverse actions, investigations, and required notifications.

Establishes the Counseling Compact Commission (Commission) as a joint public agency created by member states. Provides for Commission membership, voting, meetings, powers and duties, executive committee, financing, recordkeeping, and member qualified immunity, defense, and indemnification. Among the 18 powers and duties charged of the Commission, includes prosecuting legal proceedings and actions, and the acquisition and disposal of property. Requires the Commission to provide for the development, maintenance and use of a coordinated database and reporting system containing licensure, adverse action, and investigative information on all licensed individuals in members states. Provides for reporting, access, and removal of specified information by member states. Provides for Commission rulemaking procedures and effect. Details procedures regarding members in default, dispute resolution procedures between member states and Compact enforcement. 

Provides for the Compact to become effective upon enactment in the 10th member state. Details initial Commission powers, effect of Commission rules on joining states, member withdrawal procedures, and Compact amendment parameters. 

Deems the provisions of the Compact severable and advises on its construction and effect on other laws. 

Conditions the effectiveness of the Compact to when at least 10 state have enacted the Compact, as set forth in Article 24A. Requires the Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors to report to the Revisor of Statutes at that time. 

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