Two more Safe Harbor Practitioners Exemption bills close to passage

Lobbying challenges during a Pandemic

National Health Freedom Action is supporting two Practitioner Exemption bills going forward during these unprecedented times: Wisconsin SB 492 and Massachusetts S.2634. These proactive, solution-oriented bills are needed to protect consumer access to unlicensed practitioners providing complementary health care services, including herbalists, traditional naturopaths, homeopaths, nutrition consultants, and many others. Wisconsin and Massachusetts are SO close to becoming the 12th and 13th Safe Harbor states!

However, if you follow NHFA’s work to pass Practitioner Exemption legislation for complementary and alternative health care providers, you know each state’s legislative process is unique. This year, that is especially true due to the national pandemic. The pandemic is hampering a bill’s path into law, by restricting access to legislators and evolving timelines, and making it even more challenging for grassroots activists to feel heard and to participate in the public process. These disruptions make phone calls and electronic communications with legislators that much more important because they’re the only avenues available for citizen lobbying to take place in some states.

Wisconsin Senate Bill 492 / Assembly bill 546

WI’s exemption bill has been stalled since mid-March. It is at the second-to-last step in the legislative process, a floor vote by the entire Senate chamber! We expected Wisconsin to finish its legislative session in April but now, after a total shutdown, they won’t come back to finish up until end of August or even after November’s election! Although no one is saying they won’t come back, the 2020 waiting game in WI is unlike any other we’ve witnessed in nearly two decades of advocacy work.

Jerri Johnson, NHFA President and Rosanne Lindsay, NHFC President at the Wisconsin State Capitol
Jerri Johnson, Kim Povey, Deb Fox and Diane Miller in the Senate Chamber at the Massachusetts State House

Massachusetts Senate bill S.2634 (formerly S.665/H.3660)

The Massachusetts bill is stalled with just four steps left in the legislative process:
– a vote to send it to the Senate floor;
– a Senate floor vote;
– a House floor vote; and
– the Governor’s action.

Since it passed out of the Joint Public Health Committee in April, the bill has been awaiting attention by the Ways and Means Committee to send it to the Senate floor. In a meeting with Committee Chair Rodrigues’ office, we’ve been assured this bill is a priority, but no commitment to add it to an agenda has been made and no upcoming hearings are currently scheduled.

Massachusetts typically wraps up its session by July 31 but just announced an extension. Even with the extension, the timeline for S.2634 to become law is incredibly tight but it’s not impossible.

Wisconsin’s WIHFC and Massachusetts’s HFAMA have worked so hard to get the bills this far. NHFA remains committed to supporting their efforts and seeing these bills become law – no matter how long it takes! If both bills become law in 2020, this will be the first time we’ll get to celebrate the passage of two Safe Harbor bills in the same year – help us reach this unprecedented milestone in this unprecedented time!

We’ll let you know as soon as either bill is scheduled for a floor vote so you can flood the respective state with requests for YES VOTES on these Practitioner Exemption bills.

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