Last month, bills were introduced in the Ohio House and Senate that would radically change the state licensure board structure, ultimately impacting counselors and others.
The bills would consolidate the existing licensure boards so that counselors would be licensed by a new Behavioral Health Professions Board, which would have only seven members to administer 16 licenses. Currently, three different boards comprised of 37 members administer those 16 licenses. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that one of those seven board members would be a counselor, as is the case now.
ACA’s Government Affairs team notified ACA Ohio members about the situation and provided draft emails for each member to send to their State Senator and House Member. Thanks to hundreds of emails from ACA members, as well as emails from other professions that would have been affected, the Ohio Legislature took no action on these bills before adjourning for the year. The bills are nearly 500 pages long and would have required two to three weeks consideration, including Thanksgiving week.
Counseling’s voice in the licensure process would have been diminished, not only by the consolidation, but by the new board member criteria. ACA appreciates the help of everyone who contacted their legislators on this matter. We may ask for your help again early next year, as these bills could be reintroduced in January.
Ohio is not the only state where such licensure board consolidations are being considered. ACA’s Government Affairs team is following this issue very closely to ensure that counseling remains represented in the licensure board process across the country.