Legislative Update: 2/19/2018

TLPCA Members,

Don’t miss the upcoming even that’s open to anyone who wants to advocate for mental health in TN! If you’ve ever wanted your voice to be heard with law makers, this is your chance. You will get trained how to do it and can go together with others to advocate or just watch how it happens. It’s an amazing experience and something that you would not regret! It makes a difference.

Clay Harris, LPC-MHSP

TLPCA, President Elect

TLPCA, Public Policy and Licensure Committee

Straight Talk

Behavioral Health Day on the Hill

This is the annual behavioral health Day on the Hill that is hosted by the TN Coalition for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Registration begins at 8:30am, the program begins at 9:30am, and the event concludes at 12:45pm. (All times are Central Time Zone.) SCHEDULE YOUR LEGISLATIVE VISITS IN ADVANCE, or connect with NAMI, TAADAS, TMHCA, or another Coalition body to visit legislators with together. We will provide the information you need for a successful visit, but we need your personal stories for a successful visit.


Legislative Update: 1/31/17 

After a season of collecting additional information, the TLPCA Board Officers are in opposition to SB0001. The reasons for the opposition to the proposed legislation are as follows:

-It singles out professional counselors in a discriminatory manner from other professions in the state and state law prohibits and addresses such things through an “equal protection clause”.
-It places undue hardship on the State’s regulatory board staffed by volunteers.
-It fails to address the fiscal ramifications of creating a code of ethics.
-It fails to address the problems that would arise during the interim while transition of the codes.
-It jeopardizes the ability of licensed professional counselors to receive reimbursement from third-party payers and practice in other states.

Additional Information: 

The legislative process for the bill is still in the beginning stages and we have spent the last few weeks gathering information and developing a strategy to address the bill. Although legislative processes can evolve rather quickly, they can also take some time and take different directions and additional work is needed. Therefore, you will find below a list of ways the Board Officers and the Public Policy and Licensure Chair continue to be involved.
-A lobbyist has been retained to maintain involvement in SB0001 and any other bill that impacts our profession
-A representative attends legislative meetings
-A representative attends meetings with members of congress
-A representative attends all TN State Licensure Board meetings
We have also been involved in a number of meetings with other agencies such as TAMFT and TCA and are working collaboratively with the legislative representatives of those associations in order to maximize efforts. We will continue to monitor all legislative movements not only on SB0001 but other bills that may impact our profession as well.
As you may or may not know, SB0001 has yet to find a House sponsor. As a normal and expected part of the process, the proposed bill has been recently assigned for review by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
The TN State Licensing Board has issued an Opposition Statement to SB0001. They are the licensing board for over 2,000 professional counselors in the state of TN. A meeting was recently held resulting in the Board writing an opposition statement to the Commissioner of Mental Health. The meeting was open to those that wanted to speak on behalf of supporting the bill. No one spoke. It was also open to those who opposed the bill and a number of people spoke and all had consistent responses. Below is a news link about that.


Action Steps—Get Involved! 

1. Call, email or visit your Tennessee Senator and voice your position regarding this legislation.

2. Call, email or visit your Tennessee Representative and introduce yourself so they will know who you are and what concerns you may have with proposed legislation.

3. We will alert you via the list serve email and the website when or if we need to launch specific efforts in any other way.

The Executive Council
Tennessee Licensed Professional Counselors Association
Marisa White
Rob Moore
Clay Harris
Anna Edgeston

Legislative Information

Become an Advocate for Your Profession

Becoming advocates for our profession and for our clients is a crucial part of the professional responsibility of the Licensed Professional Counselor. However, many of us are unsure as to exactly to take those steps for advocacy. Here are some tips that may help!

1. Know who your federal, state and local representatives are.

To find your U.S. senators and representative:
a) Go to http://capwiz.com/counseling/dbq/officials/
b) Follow instructions to find your senator and representative

To find your state senator and representative:
a) Senator: Click on http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/senate/members/smember_home.php#Find
b) Representative: Click on http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/house/members/hmember_home.php#Find

2. Follow the TLPCA listserv for information on action steps that will help the legislative agenda of our profession.

3. When asked to make calls or write letters, make every effort to do so. It does make a difference.

4. Information regarding major federal issues will be part of an action plan from AMHCA and ACA.

5. Information regarding issues at the state level will come from TLPCA on the listserv.

Working together will create change; doing nothing will result in nothing! Be ready to take action when you are called on to do so.