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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2405        FILED ON: 1/14/2009

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 174

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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PRESENTED BY:

Michael J. Rodrigues

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the passage of the accompanying bill:

An Act to modernize the board of registration of social workers.

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PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Michael J. Rodrigues

8th Bristol

Michael W. Morrissey

Norfolk and Plymouth

John V. Fernandes

10th Worcester

Steven J. D'Amico

4th Bristol

James Cantwell

4th Plymouth

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester District


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand and Nine

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An Act to modernize the board of registration of social workers.


 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              Section 1 Section 80 of chapter 13 of the General Laws as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking such section and inserting in p lace thereof the following:-

Section 80 .   There shall be a board of registration of social workers which shall consist of nine members to be appointed by the governor.  Members of the board shall be residents of the commonwealth. Seven members of the boar d shall be licensed under the provisions of sections one hundred and thirty to one hundred and thirty- seven, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and twelve and shall have been actively engaged in the practice or education of social work as defined in sectio n one hundred and thirty of chapter one hundred and twelve for the five years next preceding their appointment.  Of the seven licensed members, five members shall be licensed independent clinical social workers or licensed certified social workers as defin ed in section one hundred and thirty of chapter one hundred and twelve, one member shall be a licensed social worker as defined in section one hundred and thirty of chapter one hundred and twelve, and one member shall be a licensed social work associate as defined in section one hundred and thirty of chapter one hundred and twelve. One member shall be an active member of an organized labor organization representing social workers, and one shall be engaged in social work education.  Two members shall be sele cted from and shall represent the general public.  At least one member shall be from a minority group, as defined by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Section 2 .   Section 81 of chapter 13 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following sentence at the end thereof:-

Each member of the board shall serve for a term of three years and may continue to serve until replaced.  No member shall be appointed to more than two consecutive full terms, provided, however, that a me mber appointed for less than a full term may serve two full terms in addition to such part of a full term.  All board members shall be subject to chapter 268A and shall be public employees for the purposes of chapter   258 for all acts or omissions within th e scope of their duties as board members.

Section 3.    Section 84 chapter 13 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking such section and inserting in place thereof the following:-

The board shall at its first meeting and, annually thereafter, ele ct from among its members, by majority vote, a chairman, vice-chairman, and secretary.  Such officers shall serve until their successors are elected and qualified.  The board shall meet at least once every 6 months and may hold additional meetings as neces sary to discharge its duties.   A majority of the serving members shall constitute a quorum.  

The board shall be under the supervision of the division of professional licensure and have the following powers and duties: (i) to administer and enforce sectio ns 130-137 inclusive, of chapter 112; (ii) to adopt rules and regulations governing the licensure of social workers and the practice of social work to promote the public health, welfare and safety of citizens of the commonwealth; (iii) to establish standar ds of professional and ethical conduct; (iv) to establish standards for continuing education reflecting acceptable national standards; and (v) to investigate complaints, conduct inspections, review billing and treatment records, and set and administer pena lties as defined in sections 61 to 65E of chapter 112, inclusive, and sections 130-137, inclusive, of chapter 112 for fraudulent, deceptive, or professionally incompetent and unsafe practices and for violations of rules and regulations promulgated by the b oard.  Conduct which places into question the holder's competence to practice social work shall include, but not be limited to:     (1)   committing fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining a license; (2) criminal conduct which the board determines to be of su ch a nature as to render the person unfit to practice as a social worker, as evidenced by criminal proceedings which resulted in a conviction, guilty plea, or plea of nolo contendere, or an admission of sufficient facts; (3) violating any rule or regulatio n of the board; (4) failing to reasonably cooperate with the board or its agents in the conduct of an inspection or investigation.

T he board may issue orders to licensees directing them to cease and desist from unethical or unprofessional conduct if the board finds, after the opportunity for a hearing, that the licensee has engaged in such conduct.  No person filing a complaint, reporting or providing information pursuant to this clause or assisting the board at its request in any manner in discharging it s duties and functions, shall be liable in any cause of action arising out of such complaints, reporting or providing of information or assistance; provided, however, that the person making such complaint or reporting or providing such information or assis tance does so in good faith.

Licensing and application fees collected by the board shall be as prescribed by the executive office of administration and finance pursuant to section 3B of chapter 7 and shall be deposited into the trust fund established in section 35V of chapter 10.

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