Another day, another set of new government regulations moves forward in the Idaho Capitol.
With little debate, members of the Idaho House passed a bill to require licenses for anyone wishing to practice genetic counseling in the state. The bill, cleared on a 45 to 25 tally, now heads to Gov. Butch Otter’s desk for his consideration.
This bill comes a day after a Senate panel approved new rules for Naturopathic physicians. Additionally, this Legislature passed regulations banning indoor tanning for youth and outlawed parents from interpreting for their deaf children in medical appointments.
One House panel even approved far-reaching new regulations for home kitchens that produce goods to sell at farmers markets and bake sales.
The licensure bill lawmakers passed Tuesday will create an oversight board for genetic counselors, plus set up some basic guidelines for qualifying for the state-approved work permits.
The oversight board will write new rules once it’s operational, but will have to approve any regulations in the Capitol.
Boise Rep. Patrick McDonald, a Republican, said the new rules would cause the profession to flourish in the Gem State.
“We will have access to these people inside the state because their numbers will grow,” he said.
Only 12 genetic counselors reside in Idaho, though another 60 out-of-state workers serve Idaho residents.
Genetic counselors perform a variety of tasks, but much of the attention focuses on cancer screenings and prenatal testing.
Actress Angelina Jolie brought new fame to the field last year after she underwent a pre-emptive double mastectomy to prevent cancer development in her body. Jolie only learned of that possibility after working with a genetic counselor.
Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said the new regulations will give Idahoans access to the best information available when making critical medical decisions.
For his part, Otter has not signaled his intent for the bill.
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