Edited excerpts from Sue Rowland’s final report:
Topics of bills from this years Virginia General Assembly (GA) of import to our members included monitoring the Professional Counselors’ success with their attempts to acquire Virginia GA’s agreement to participate in the Compact legislation (done! This bodes well for us in introducing the language of our Interstate Compact to legislators next year), legislation to streamline LCSW licensure without giving up the requirements necessary to protect the public consumers of your services, and issues related to the insurance coverage so necessary to support your practices. Oh yes, and opposition to legislation intended to tie your hands when serving kids in need of care. These were your primary policy issues.
Others you monitored to make sure nothing bad might result. And a third group you monitored because a portion of your membership might be interested.
** Insurance bills — you (& LPC’s) definitely have the attention of the GA as it related to how you are viewed and “treated” by the insurance industry that the GA has control over. Some passed, others put on hold -- though some parts in those bills are covered in the ones that passed. And work is yet to be done. The legislators need to have hard data about your experiences with the insurance industry as you simply work to do your jobs helping folks in need of mental health professionals. Your prep work in a survey of VA members will be most helpful here.
Our group, the joint legislative committee of the VSCSW and GWSCSW, took positions on 7 policy issues for which bills were introduced this session, to either support or oppose. Another set of bills were either “watched” to determine if positions were needed during the course of the session, or were monitored as of “interest" to some members of the Societies.
From Wayne Martin:
The GWSCSW membership may already know that the VSCSW lobbyist, Sue Rowland, has retired from active legislative work and her office is closed. However, before she retired, she recommended a colleague, Mark E. Smith, as her successor. The joint VSCSW/GWSCSW legislative committee, after interviewing Smith on zoom, examining his credentials and background, decided – unanimously -- to offer him a contract as our VSCSW/GWS lobbyist. His contract was APPROVED by both the VSCSW and GWSCSW Boards. His priorities, in addition to monitoring legislation in the 2024 Virginia General Assembly and assisting us in making contacts/connections with legislators in Northern Virginia, will be to assist in passing legislation for the “Interstate Compact”. His full contract is available for review by any Society member. The cost of his services will be split evenly by the VSCSW and the GWSCSW. He begins his work with us as of July 1st, 2023. The L and A committee looks forward to a productive relationship with Smith. If there are any questions, please forward them to Wayne A. Martin (GWS liaison to the VSCSW and chair of the GWSCSW Virginia L&A Committee) at email@example.com or to Branch Director, Judy Gallant.
PO Box 711 | Garrisonville, VA 22463 | 202-478-7638 | firstname.lastname@example.org