Can't take credit for success in stopping bills in Legislature


Journalists love to brag about making a difference.

I wanted to brag that two of my consumer protection columns influenced the legislative process, one involving chiropractic assistants, the other involving certified public accountants.

Then Mary-Sarah Kinner, the governor’s spokeswoman, shot me down.

Senate Bill 198 was already on the governor’s staff’s radar, she said. My column wasn’t the bill killer I had assumed.

This bill would have removed the restriction that a chiropractor actually had to be in the office before a chiropractic assistant could work on a patient. As long as a chiropractor was accessible by phone or some electronic means, the assistant could work on patients, providing routine therapy to established patients.

To my amazement, this bill had sailed through the Senate and the Assembly with nary a negative vote.

Not that I have anything against 18-year-olds with high school diplomas, but that combined with six months “on the job training” and passing a test is all a chiropractic assistant needs to work on patients.

The assistants don’t do adjustments or diagnose patients.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, a medical doctor, at the behest of chiropractor James Overland Sr., head of the Nevada Chiropractic Association.

The Nevada Chiropractic Physicians Board took the courageous step of staying neutral on the bill.

However, several chiropractors, including past and present board members, testified against it, saying it wasn’t safe and there could be potential dangers.

Opponents included Dr. Benjamin Lurie, Dr. Annette Zaro, Dr. Margaret Colucci and Dr. Stephanie Youngblood.

Their concerns didn’t worry legislators, but even though I don’t go to chiropractors, I know people who do, and I worried on their behalf.

I suggested Sandoval ask himself: Would I want an assistant working on a member of my family without a chiropractor in the building?

My column ran May 23, and Sandoval vetoed the bill May 31. His veto message said the bill was well-intentioned. “However, many medical professions, licensing boards and even some chiropractic assistants have indicated that the current qualifications do not warrant allowing assistants to provide care to patients without the direct supervision of a physician,” the governor wrote.

He listed the basic requirements to become a chiropractic assistant and concluded, “These qualifications are not sufficient to allow the indirect supervision of chiropractic assistants who treat patients.”

My point, exactly.

Nor can I brag on killing Assembly Bill 119.

Early in the session, I shined a light on the special interest bill introduced by Assemblyman Andrew Martin, D-Las Vegas.

However, the Nevada Board of Accountancy and the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants were already fighting it before I jumped in. They deserve more credit than I do. They said publicly that lowering the educational and experience requirements for CPAs wasn’t in the public’s best interest. I just agreed.

They probably had more to do with stopping the bill than I did, but at least I let the public know what the legislators were considering doing ... and that it was a crummy idea.

The bill was sent to the Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor but never even got a hearing during a session when a lot of going-nowhere bills had the courtesy of a hearing.

Sadly for my ego, I can’t take credit as a bill killer, but I tried.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Email her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call her at 702-383-0275.