By Hamdy M. Masri
On October 7, 2021, Governor Newsom signed the Board of Registered Nursing’s (BRN) sunset extension bill, AB 1532 (Committee on Business and Professions) (Chapter 628, Statutes of 2021), which extends the Board’s sunset date to January 1, 2023. The Assembly Business and Professions Committee and the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee identified key issues relating to the sunset review that were discussed at the joint oversight hearing on March 12, 2021, and in the Board’s written response to the Joint Committee’s background paper. [26:2 CRLR 80-85] AB 1532 amends six sections and adds one section of the Nursing Practice Act in the Business and Professions Code to address some of the issues identified by the Joint Committee. The affected sections are 2701, 2701.5, 2708, 2702, 2727, 2733, and 2786.3
Sections 2701 and 2708 extend the repeal dates of the Board and the executive officer position to January 1, 2023. Section 2702 removes the “citizen of United States” requirement for board members. SB 225 (Durazo) (Chapter 790, Statutes of 2019) authorized residents of the State of California, including non-U.S. citizens, to hold an appointed civil office. AB 1532 amends this section of the Nursing Practice Act to adhere to this law. Section 2727 replaces the terminology of “domestic servants” to “domestic workers,” and specifies that a pandemic qualifies as an emergency for the purpose of this subdivision.
Section 2733 requires the Board to display the availability of temporary licenses on the front page of their website, and section 2786.3 extends the COVID-19 related flexibilities on educational clinical requirements to the 2021–2022 academic school year. Finally, added section 2701.5 states that notwithstanding any other law, the repeal of section 2701 renders the Board subject to review by the appropriate policy committees of the legislature.
AB 1532 went through two significant changes since its introduction on February 19, 2021. First, on April 29, 2021, the Assembly added changes two and four, removing the U.S. citizen requirement and requiring the Board to display temporary licenses on their front page. Then, on July 13, 2021, the Senate added the one-year extension to allow for the ongoing review of the BRN. The reason for the one-year extension, versus a four-year extension that is typical after sunset review, is due to the legislature’s finding that “[t]here are a number of issues raised in the staff background paper related to the operations of BRN that are not currently addressed by this bill, but are worthy of continued discussions in order to improve the operations and efficiencies of the BRN.” The committee and author noted many outstanding issues that need to be addressed in the subsequent year’s sunset review, including school approval programs, clinical placements, and workforce assessments, concurrency requirements, simulation, and implementation of the independent practicing nurse practitioners.