October 2015 Legislative Activity in California of Interest to Art Therapists
There have been several bills related to CA behavioral health licensure, certification or title protection issues brought to the legislature this 2015 legislative session which are of interest to art therapists. One bill sought title protection, another seeks licensure and the third seeks a certification program/credential.
The first bill is AB 1279 The Music Therapy Act This bill sought to protect the title " Board Certified Music Therapist" to provide guidance to consumers and agencies regarding education and training requirements of a qualified music therapist. It sought to prevent a person who provides music therapy interventions from using the title “Board Certified Music Therapist,” unless the person had completed the Music Therapist-Board certified (MT-BC) credential. The bill was heavily amended as it traveled through both houses and various stakeholders lobbied to ensure that music not be restricted to any profession and various professionals may utilize music therapy. In addition lobbyists sought to clarify that this bill would not allow a person engaged in music therapy to provide mental health counseling or psychotherapy for which a license is required.
The bill made it to Governor Brown's desk and on 10/11/15 it was vetoed. Please see his response:
To the Members of the California State Assembly:
I am returning Assembly Bill 1279 without my signature. This bill establishes the "Music Therapy Act" and regulates when a person may use the title of "Board Certified Music Therapist." Generally, I have been very reluctant to add licensing or title statutes to the laws of California. This bill appears to be unnecessary as the Certification Board for Music Therapists, a private sector group, already has defined standards for board certification. Why have the state now add another violin to the orchestra?
Sincerely, Edmund G. Brown Jr.
The second bill is: SB 479 Behavior Analysis Licensing This bill would license Behavior Analysts to be regulated by the Board of Psychology and in committee process. The license requires certification as a Behavior Analyst, which requires a master’s degree or higher in behavior analysis, psychology or education, 270 hours of graduate instruction in behavior analysis, as well as supervised hours and examination. This bill is currently active in the assembly. There is concern from the The Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA). ARCA supports this bill in concept, but expresses concern that this bill will further reduce access to ABA services by constraining the professionals available to provide these services. ARCA notes there is already a shortage of providers. Stakeholders continue to advocate for amendments within the bill to allow licensed behavioral health professionals to practice behavioral analysis. This bill was made into a 2 year bill however the author has decided not to move the bill forward. It's parked at this time.
And the third bill of interest is: SB 614 The Peer and Family Support Specialists This bill, sponsored by the California Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDA), would require the State Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to establish a statewide peer and family support specialist certification program, as part of the state’s comprehensive mental health delivery system and the Medi-Cal program. It would include 3 certification categories: adult peer support specialists, family peer support specialists and parent peer support specialists. Stakeholders including the BBS have suggested that the sponsors include a clear definition of peer and family support specialists, a defined scope of practice, specification of training requirements, identification of who may provide supervision and a fingerprinting requirement. This bill passed the senate and is currently in assembly. This bill was made into a 2 year bill and will begin movement on Jan 4 when the legislature reconvenes.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to work on behalf of NorCata for the betterment of the art therapy profession in California.
-Robin Valicenti, MCAT, ATR-BC, LPC/PA Director of Legislative Affairs, NorCATA
NorCATA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes the therapeutic use of art throughout Northern California, public awareness of art therapy, professional development through educational events, workshops, conferences, and more.