Wisconsin Safe Harbor Practitioner Exemption Bill Vetoed by Governor Evers

Wisconsin’s Complementary and Alternative Practices bill, AB 86, was vetoed by Wisconsin Governor Evers on May 17, 2022, after the bill had successfully passed the Assembly and the Senate.

Health freedom activists worked almost 20 years, taking turns to move Safe Harbor Practitioner Exemption legislation through the Wisconsin legislature. 2022 proved to be the year they finally moved the bill to the governor’s office. But the completely sad news is that Governor Evers vetoed the bill.

Thank you everyone, for helping move the safe harbor bill forward. Unfortunately, politics plays a major role in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Governor’s veto is the first veto NHFA has ever witnessed for Safe Harbor legislation. NHFA attorneys Diane Miller and Anne Gillum both attended hearings during the sessions to support the Wisconsin Health Freedom Coalition (WHFC). And WHFC had a lobbyist who assisted during the last three years of the effort. Still, in the end, the governor wrote a veto letter. In reading it, some Wisconsin advocates say that it appears as if he never read the safe harbor bill at all.

As you know, holistic healers do not practice licensed medicine and therefore do not seek out a license. However, at the same time the safe harbor bill moved to the Governor’s office, so did a bill requesting the licensure of Naturopathic Doctors. The Governor signed the Naturopathic Doctor bill and vetoed the Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practices bill. It was a confusing and sad time for the health freedom advocates that depend on their complementary and alternative health care practitioners.

It is important to note that the new Naturopathic Doctor bill that passed states in subd 1. that a person may not:

“designate himself or herself as a naturopathic doctor or doctor of naturopathic medicine; use or assume the title “naturopathic doctor,” “doctor of naturopathic medicine,” or “doctor of naturopathy”; use the words “naturopathic medicine” or “naturopathic health care” in connection with his or her practice; append to the person’s name the letters “N.D.” or “ND”; use any other titles, words, letters, abbreviations, insignia, or designation that would imply that the individual is licensed, certified, or registered as a naturopathic doctor or doctor of naturopathic medicine; or claim to render naturopathic medicine or naturopathic health care services unless the person is licensed under s. 466.04 (1) or (2).”

But that new Naturopathic Doctor bill also provides protection for unlicensed persons in the use of the term “naturopath’ when it states:

“This paragraph does not prohibit or restrict a person from designating himself or herself as a naturopath or from using or assuming the title “naturopath” if that designation or use does not otherwise violate subd. 1.

Naturopathy is just one of hundreds of complementary and alternative health care practices that Wisconsin citizens were working to protect. It is good to know that based on the new Naturopathic Doctor law, practitioners that are not licensed can continue to call themselves “Naturopaths”, however they may not use the term Naturopathic doctor or ND, even if they earned the credential through an accredited ND program.

The criminal law for practice of medicine is still law in Wisconsin because Wisconsin does not have a safe harbor practitioner exemption for all complementary and alternative practitioner, protecting them from being accused of practice of medicine. Hopefully some day in the future citizens will once again pass a safe harbor exemption law in Wisconsin for all complementary and alternative healers that are not licensed medical professionals, and the next time, the Governor will successfully sign it.

Much gratitude for all those wonderful health freedom activists and legislators that got this bill through the legislature and on to the Governors desk!