PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — More of South Dakota’s healthcare professions would be covered by a ban against non-compete clauses in employment contracts under a proposal that has the governor’s backing.

The state House of Representatives voted 63-5 on Tuesday to add respiratory care practitioners, physical therapists, licensed social workers, psychologists, athletic trainers, occupational therapists, professional counselors including those for mental health, marriage and family therapists, addiction and prevention professionals, and speech-language pathologists.

HB-1185 now heads to the Senate, where Republican Erin Tobin, is lead sponsor. The prime sponsor is Republican Rep. Fred Deutsch, a retired chiropractor, who passed legislation in 2021 banning non-compete clauses for physicians, physician assistants, certified nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, certified nurse anesthetists, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.

Democrat Rep. Kameron Nelson asked Deutsch on Tuesday why the legislation proposes to add some healthcare professions but not others. “These professions that are listed in the bill are those that asked to be in the bill,” Deutsch said. He said some healthcare professionals haven’t asked or have told him they don’t want the ban to apply to them.

According to Deutsch, non-compete clauses run contrary to South Dakota’s efforts to attract and retain healthcare professionals, especially in rural areas. He said Governor Kristi Noem’s administration supports the expansion.

Republican Rep. Steve Duffy said he grew up in a small town but voted against it in committee and would oppose it again on the House floor. “I think this is a slippery slope,” Duffy said.

The legislation says the ban wouldn’t apply to sale of a practice or interest in a practice and wouldn’t apply to a restriction prohibiting a practitioner from “soliciting current patients or clients of the former employer, partnership, or other professional relationship.”

Deutsch said practitioners could still run ads saying they were open for business.