A bill that will be filed as early as this week by Rep. Elliot Naishtat, District 49 needs support. Until it is filed there is not a bill number, but I will update you as soon as it has one.
This was part of the points covered during the capital visits of 180 people yesterday. It would be a great benefit if everyone could contact their representatives and voice support for this bill. Most of these points were met with no contest during last session but the bill died on the calendar last session because of the stall tactics used at the time, fortunately, those are now no longer allowed.
The talking points in the bill that will directly impact the 4000 chemical dependency counselors and those we serve in Texas are:
1. Funding for LCDC Peer assistance program through license fees as was intended in previous legislation.
Chemical dependency counselors want to increase their relicensing fee nominally in order to support impaired peers to receive the same help we offer.
2. Eliminate the requirement that applicants for an LCDC license pass an oral examination to align Texas’ licensure requirements with International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium standards.
Currently LCDC applicants take both a written and an oral test that is cumbersome and costly. In order to keep requirements in Texas on the same page as international testing requirements and decrease logistical and financial hardships for individuals already underpaid.
3. Modify criminal history standards to address unintended consequences stemming from the passage of SB 155 in the 80th legislature.
Prior to the passage of SB 155, Texas Department of State Health Services allowed applicants to register as a counselor intern when they were within two years of meeting the time restrictions for different categories of crimes. It would be beneficial if DSHS may, but do not require, the waiting period if the applicants are successfully in completion of the peer assistance program.