2015 Legislative Updates

During the two-year 2015-2016 Legislative Session, many bills of general interest to the Board, or those having potential impact on the administration of the Board, were followed. Although these bills address many subjects, each affects registered nursing in some way. In 2015, the Board followed 22 bills of which eight were signed into law by the Governor. Three bills were vetoed, and two bills no longer apply. Because 2015 is the first year of a two-year session, the respective legislative bodies may act in 2016 on the nine bills that remain. The following is a brief description of some of the bills followed by the Board that were chaptered. Please refer to the bills themselves for more details. Unless otherwise stated, the statutes of 2015 became effective January 1, 2016.

For additional information, please visit the Official California Legislative Information website.

Assembly Bills

  • AB 637 (Campos) - Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment Forms (POLST)
    Chapter 217, Statutes of 2015 (Link to AB 637)
    AB 637 authorizes the signature of a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant acting under the supervision of the physician and within the scope of practice authorized by law to create a valid Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment form (POLST).
  • AB 1352 (Eggman) - Deferred Entry of Judgment: Withdrawal of Plea
    Chapter 646, Statutes of 2015 (Link to AB 1352)
    AB 1352 authorizes a defendant who has successfully completed a deferred entry of judgment treatment program on or after January 1, 1997 to obtain a dismissal of the plea upon which the deferred entry of judgment was granted under specified procedures. This dismissal is available to the former defendant if he or she performed satisfactorily during the deferred entry of judgment period, and the charges were dismissed pursuant to the program. If court records are not available, a defendant’s declaration under penalty of perjury that the charges were dismissed after completion of the deferred entry of judgment program shall be presumed true if the defendant submits a copy of his or her state summary criminal history information.

Senate Bills

  • SB 319 (Beall) - Child Welfare Services: Public Health Nursing
    Chapter 535, Statutes of 2015 (Link to SB 319)
    SB 319 authorizes a provider of health care to disclose medical information to a foster care public health nurse, as defined, for the purpose of coordinating health care services and medical treatment for a minor who has either been taken into temporary custody, had a petition filed with the court, or been adjudged a dependent child or ward of the juvenile court, as specified. Medical information regarding a minor, as defined, disclosed by a provider of health care to authorized entities includes, but is not limited to, information related to screenings, assessments, and laboratory tests necessary to monitor the administration of psychotropic medications. Requires a foster care health nurse have access to a child's medical, dental, and mental health care information in order to allow that nurse to fulfill his or her duties, as specified, and in a manner that is consistent with all relevant privacy requirements. Includes among the duties of public health nurses the monitoring and oversight of psychotropic medications. Requires a foster care public health nurse to, among other things at the request of and under the direction of a non-minor dependent, assist the non-minor dependent in making informed decisions about his or her health care by, at a minimum, providing educational materials. Requires public health nurses to receive training related to psychotropic medications, as specified.
  • SB 408 (Morrell) - Midwife Assistants
    Chapter 280, Statutes of 2015 (Link to SB 408)
    SB 408 authorizes a midwife assistant to perform certain assistive activities under the supervision of a licensed midwife or certified nurse-midwife, including the administration of medicine, the withdrawing of blood, and midwife technical support services. The bill defines terms for these purposes. The bill prohibits a midwife assistant from being employed for inpatient care in a licensed general acute care hospital.
  • SB 464 (Hernandez) - Healing Arts: Self-Reporting Tools
    Chapter 387, Statutes of 2015 (Link to SB 464)
    SB 464, notwithstanding any other law, authorizes a physician and surgeon, a registered nurse acting in accordance with the authority of the Nursing Practice Act, a certified nurse-midwife acting within the scope of specified existing law relating to nurse-midwives, a nurse practitioner acting within the scope of specified existing law relating to nurse practitioners, a physician assistant acting within the scope of specified existing law relating to physician assistants, or a pharmacist acting within the scope of a specified existing law relating to pharmacists to use a self-screening tool that will identify patient risk factors for the use of self-administered hormonal contraceptives by a patient, and, after an appropriate prior examination, to prescribe, furnish, or dispense, as applicable, self-administered hormonal contraceptives to the patient. The bill authorizes blood pressure, weight, height, and patient health history to be self-reported using the self-screening tool.
  • SB 466 (Hill) - Nursing: Board of Registered Nursing
    Chapter 489, Statutes of 2015 (Link to SB 466)
    SB 466 extends the repeal date of the BRN’s operation to January 1, 2018. This bill requires the board to contract with the California State Auditor’s Office to conduct a performance audit of the board’s enforcement program, as specified, by February 1, 2016. The bill requires the board to reimburse the office for the cost of the performance audit. The bill requires the office to report the results of the audit to the Governor, the department, and the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature by January 1, 2017. The bill requires the board’s staff and management to cooperate with the office and provide the office with access to data, case files, employees, and information. This bill requires the board to deny or revoke approval of a school of nursing that does not give student applicants credit in the field of nursing for military education and experience by the use of challenge examinations or other methods of evaluation. The bill requires the board, by January 1, 2017, to adopt regulations requiring schools seeking approval to have a process to evaluate and grant credit, as defined, for military education and experience. The bill would require the board to review a school’s policies and practices regarding granting credit for military education and experience at least once every 5 years to ensure consistency in evaluation and application across schools. The bill requires the board to post on its Internet Web site information related to the acceptance of military coursework and experience at each approved school.
  • SB 467 (Hill) - Professions and Vocations
    Chapter 656, Statutes of 2015 (Link to SB 467)
    SB 467 requires the Attorney General to submit a report to the department, the Governor, and the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature, on or before January 1, 2018, and on or before January 1 of each subsequent year, that includes specified information regarding the actions taken by the Attorney General pertaining to accusation matters relating to consumer complaints against a person whose profession or vocation is licensed by an agency within the department. This bill, in order to implement the Consumer Protection Enforcement Initiative of 2010, requires the Director of Consumer Affairs, through the Division of Investigation, to implement “Complaint Prioritization Guidelines” for boards to utilize in prioritizing their complaint and investigative workloads and to determine the referral of complaints to the division and those that are retained by the health care boards for investigation. The bill exempts the Medical Board of California from required utilization of these guidelines. This bill also extends the sunset dates of the California Accountancy Board and the Contractors State License Board to January 1, 2020.
  • SB 800 (Committee on Business Professions and Economic Development) - Healing Arts
    Chapter 426, Statutes of 2015 (Link to SB 800)
    SB 800 is the omnibus bill for the healing arts board of the Department of Consumer Affairs. The Nursing Practice Act provides for the licensure and regulation of registered nurses and nurse practitioners by the Board of Registered Nursing. The act, on and after January 1, 2008, requires an applicant for initial qualification or certification as a nurse practitioner who has not been qualified or certified as a nurse practitioner to meet specified requirements. Certain provisions allow the board to find registered nurses qualified to use the title of “nurse practitioner.” This bill deletes those title provisions. The act also provides for a diversion program to identify and rehabilitate registered nurses whose competency may be impaired due to abuse of alcohol and other drugs, or due to mental illness. This bill refers to the program as an intervention program.