Friday, February 19, 2010


Bill would take away consumer protections, hurt marriage and family therapists

by Larry Geller

There are so many bills in the legislature, both good and bad… how to keep up? And do we really need all these laws anyway? (sigh)

Here’s one I should have written about yesterday, when I got the phone call. It deregulates (and de-licenses) several professions in order to save the state a few nickels. But it gives away your protections, and hurts some of the professions.

In particular, it would prevent marriage and family therapists from receiving third-party payments, which would please their competition (psychologists), insurers, and hurt their clients. Just for this alone, I think the bill should be defeated.

Trouble is, it’s being heard this morning (Friday) at 11:00 a.m., so not much time to act for this hearing. But you still can call, send testimony, or emails. If it passes the Finance committee, you can catch up with it later.

HB2029 (follow from the bill’s RSS or on Twitter) also deregulates barbers, cosmetologists, hearing aid dealers and fitters, and electrologists. These are folks you’d probably want to see licensed and regulated.

Anyway, here is the hearing notice. If you want to weigh in, you can still do so, via email, late testimony, or later to all representatives at email


Marriage and family therapists getting unfairly compensated is one thing. Yet, equating the de-certifying of some professions with "giving away our protections" (If I rightly understand you) is open to further scrutiny, I'd think.

The licensing of professions is a consumer protection, because the licensing board considers complaints which can result in the loss of a license and cost the person the ability to work in the field. Take away the licensing (and the board) and consumers do lose the protection the original law was intended to provide. Licensing is a protection against unethical conduct.

Licensing is one indirect way to protect against unethical conduct. Undoing tort deform is another.

For further scrutiny please see:
I'd add that without your fine coverage of legislative issues, I'd remain mostly unaware of what goes on at the Hawaii legislature. With that, I hope you'll take my dissenting opinion in the best of dialectical tradition. Aloha, Darren

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