The first thing to remember is that Government has significant impact on every aspect of your life. Not only do legislative and regulatory actions impact your profession, they also impact your everyday life. It is critical that you are involved in the process to ensure that any changes don't negatively impact your profession and the people you serve. Always remember that the most powerful voice in government is yours. As a constituent, you have the standing and the right to discuss important issues with your elected officials.
Take a moment to reach out to your legislators today. Send them an email or a letter introducing yourself and your involvement in the association. Offer to be a resource to them on issues. Give them your contact information and suggest an opportunity to visit with them before the session begins. Visiting with a legislator prior to session is one of the most effective ways to establish a relationship. Invite one of your colleagues in your area to come along on the visit. There is strength in numbers. A little effort goes a long way.
Finally, please be sure you are registered to vote. Most legislators keep a list of all registered voters in their district. It is important that they know you are a registered voter in their district. Of course you don't have to live in their district to visit with them. Sometimes your office may be located in their district or you may live in a metropolitan area and be just outside their district. It is still important that you are a registered voter.
All LCA members are urged to take action immediately so that the very important SB 38 will be approved by our state legislature. The bill will be heard by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee probably NEXT WEEK!
This week we need you to contact the members of this committee by phone, email, or posted letter. Your voice will make the difference in our success. In the Town Hall Meetings recently held statewide, the rationale for this bill was discussed. In summary, the bill would remove the Serious Mental Illness language from the Mental Health Counseling law that is negatively impacting LPCs, PLPCs, and the clients we serve. The names and contact information for the Senate Health and Welfare Committee can be accessed by clicking this link: http://senate.la.gov/Health&Welfare/Assignments.asp
Approval of the bill by this committee is the first step in reaching passage. We need you to be part of the strong grassroots effort that is underway through LCA. Please take a few minutes TODAY to contact these senators. You are encouraged to use the following template for your email, letter, or phone call:
Month, Day, Year
The Honorable (Legislators first and last name
RE: Senate Bill 38 by Senator J. P. Morrell
Dear Senator [Last name]:
My name is [your first and last name] and I am a [Licensed Professional Counselor/Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor/LCA member/Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist,/Provisional Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist] [who resides in your district, if applicable] I am [writing/calling] to let you know that I am in support of SB 38 authored by Senator J. P. Morrell. The bill will remove the “serious mental illness” language from the Mental Health Counselors Act which governs my professional practice. I am in favor of this bill because
• The serious mental illness language currently limits the public’s access to mental health services, especially for the uninsured and those in rural areas that may lack ready access to medical care.
• The requirement of the current law to consult/collaborate with medical practitioners regardless of the wishes of the client has not improved the quality of client care in Louisiana.
• LPCs and LMFTs will continue to refer clients whose clinical needs fall outside the limits of our training and expertise as has always been required by our Ethical Code and Code of Conduct.
[If you have one, include a personal story. Tell your legislator why the issue is important to you and how it affects you personally and/or professionally.] For these reasons, I am asking you to vote for SB 38.
Please contact me if you have any questions. Thank you for your support!
SIGN YOUR NAME
Print your name Street address
City, State, Zip code
SB 38 has passed both the Senate and the House. It now awaits the signature of Gov. Edwards.
So that readers will better understand the changes that have been made to the Mental Health Law, the following document has been prepared.