featured graphic for California State Senator Patricia Bates

Assembly committee approves Sen. Bates’ license portability bill

The Assembly Business and Professions Committee approved Senate Bill 679 by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) that would streamline the process for licensed professional clinical counselors (LPCCs), marriage and family therapists (LMFTs), and clinical social workers (LCSWs) in other states to become licensed in California. Having previously earned unanimous support in the Senate, SB 679 will head next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for its consideration.

Over the past decade, the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (Board) has experienced an increased demand for licenses to become more portable across state lines. This demand is due to two factors: licensees from other states moving here, and an increased technical capability and desire to practice therapy via telehealth with clients in California.

SB 679 provides a pathway for LPCCs, LMFTs, and LCSWs with a qualifying degree who have held an active, unrestricted license for at least two years in another state, to become licensed in California if they complete continuing education coursework specific to the psychotherapy environment in California (approximately 40 hours of California-specific coursework is required) and pass a California law and ethics exam.

Individuals applying for licensure from other states who do not already hold a license or who have held a license for less than two years must continue to meet the Board’s full education, experience, and examination requirements.

SB 679 strikes a balance of ensuring the ability to practice therapy safely in California’s diverse environment and honoring the experience licensees have as long-time practitioners in other states.

This article was released by the Office of Senator Patricia Bates.