14 Feb 2020 Legislative Updates, Week 6
The second half of the 2020 Legislative session began Monday, and things are off to a quick start. While the number of bills to be heard in committee has decreased, the same fervor is found in the hallways. Over 50 percent of the total bills filed died during the first half of session and will be joined by those unable to get through the second half. The long road ahead to bill passage is paved with potholes.
HB 1067: Dental Hygienists
Status: in Senate, passed out of Health and Provider Services Committee
This dental hygienist “cleanup” bill clarifies under what circumstances hygienists and assistants can administer nitrous oxide, restates restrictions on use of a laser by a dental hygienist, and provides that a dental hygienist may administer topical local dental anesthetics, other than nitrous oxide or similar analgesics, without supervision. HB 1067 passed unanimously out of the Public Health Committee and the House; during the vote Representative Dr. Brad Barrett commented on the IDA-IDHA joint effort, stating, “I think it’s refreshing that both entities have come together and worked this out prior to it coming to committee… its very refreshing that the stakeholders have agreed on this and brought it to us in such a nice fashion.”
That same feeling of cooperation followed this bill into the Senate, where it passed unanimously out of the Health and Provider Services Committee on Wednesday. Senators Jean Leising and Ronald Grooms have signed on to the bill as sponsors, and our own Dr. Chuck Poland testified at the committee hearing in favor of the bill. While there was originally some opposition to the nitrous oxide provisions by the Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists, Dr. Poland and Ed Popcheff were able to assuage and address their concerns about the bill. HB 1067 will be eligible for a second reading as early next week. We will continue to update on its progress.
HB 1008: Occupational Licensure Endorsement
Status: in Senate, assigned to Commerce and Technology Committee
Our position on HB 1008 has not changed. The bill would eliminate barriers to licensure for regulated professions, including dentistry and would require a board to issue a license to an individual who: (1) is licensed in another state or jurisdiction in the regulated occupation; (2) has established residency; (3) has passed a substantially equivalent examination as determined by the appropriate board. In our opinion, HB 1008 sidesteps important safeguards put in place to protect patients—the bill errs by focusing on licensure and examinations, with little regard for education. The bill passed out of the House with an 85-6 vote and has been assigned to the Commerce and Technology Committee for the second half of session. However, as of today, the bill has yet to be scheduled for a hearing. Expect to receive a “legislative alert” on this bill in the near future.
As always, thank you for being an advocate for your profession.