The Idaho Counseling Association is dedicated to social justice in advocating for the profession through lobbying and staying on top of political issues that challenge the counseling profession here in Idaho. A third of the yearly budget goes into providing resources and funding these efforts.
We have had a very busy legislative session this year. Our goals for this session included blocking any universal licensure legislation, blocking any adverse school counseling legislation, strengthening our relationships with legislators, advertising the upcoming Counseling Compact legislation, and monitoring and blocking any adverse legislation leveled at the counseling profession in Idaho. We are proud that we achieved almost all of these goals.
The most significant effort this session was our fight against HB 63. This bill, if passed, would have contradicted the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics by allowing counselors to refer a client to another provider if they have a values conflict treating the client. HB 63 was passed in the Idaho House of Representatives, but when it moved to the Senate, we were able to defeat this bill in committee. We heard from legislators that counselors across the state made their voices heard through personal calls, emails, and testifying in committees. We want to thank all of you who worked so hard on defeating HB 63.
Although this bill was voted down, we saw a similar effort this session in HB 308, the Medical Ethics Defense Act. This bill was introduced late in the session and included provisions for all healthcare providers in Idaho to refuse to provide services to clients based on personal value conflicts. We joined with other healthcare professional associations in our opposition, and this bill was defeated in committee. However, bills like HB 63 and HB 308 are likely to be reintroduced in upcoming years. We hope to be ready again to advocate against these legislative efforts.
Our other goal of blocking any adverse school counseling legislation was also successful. Members from the Idaho School Counseling Association were invited to present on the role of School Counselors in schools in front of the House Education Committee and The Senate Education Committee. ISCA President Aimee Hurst and ISCA members Jordan Chesler and Baylie Bunn presented before both committees. This effort was impactful and contributed to our relationship with legislators in both the House and Senate. In this session, no adverse school counseling legislation was introduced.
A disappointing outcome of this session was the likely passage of HB 61, the Telehealth Access Act. This bill allows for a process known as universal licensure. The bill will enable professionals licensed in another state, with a significantly similar counseling license, to be granted the ability to provide mental health treatment services in Idaho. Idaho Counselors are not granted the same right to interstate practice. Universal licensing gives a leg up to out-of-state residents over hardworking Idaho professionals.
The likely passage of HB 61 is disappointing because the Counseling Compact is the better option for interstate practice. ICA will introduce the Counseling Compact legislation to join the 20+ states across the US that have passed the Counseling Compact in the 2024 legislative session. The Counseling Compact creates a shared interstate licensure data system, allowing for near-instant verification of licensure status and disciplinary information. Compacts have been the gold standard of professional interstate practice in Idaho because they allow for mutual interstate practice and contain proven data tracking systems to register applicants and safeguard the public.
However, a benefit from the testimony on HB 61 was that legislators voiced strong favor for compacts. We anticipate a successful effort to pass the Counseling Compact next year. We hope that the compact becomes the preferred choice for interstate practice in our state.
For more information about the Counseling Compact, please visit: https://counselingcompact.org/
If you would like to be included in more of our legislative efforts, please consider joining our Legislative Contact List.
The purpose of this list is to allow the PP&L Committee to find counselors who live in the same district as the legislators we are working with on important issues. This Legislative Contact List will include counselors in Idaho’s 35 legislative districts. The list will consist of multiple counselors per district so we can balance our advocacy work.
To be included on the Legislative Contact List, you must:
If you are willing to be listed, please visit the following link:
Thank you to everyone who joined our efforts this session.
ICA Public Policy and Legislative Committee
Public Policy & Legislation Committee Chair
Click HERE for a link to the Idaho State Legislature.Who is my Legislator?
Helpful Documents to Utilize in Successful Legislator Meetings:
National Talking Points and Handouts
Interstate Occupational Licensure Compact
for the Counseling ProfessionDRAFT Interstate Occupational Licensure Compact for the Counseling Profession
Occupational Licensing Interim Committee
On September 30th, 2020, ICA Lobbyist Liz Hatter attended this hearing
and provided the following information to ICA:
Sunset Processes in Occupational Licensing
DRAFT: Licensure by Endorsement for Military Members, Veterans, & Spouses
ICA Legislative Luncheon
Each year during the Idaho Legislative Session, ICA hosts a luncheon for its members, legislators, committee staff, and other agency officials in an effort to discuss current issues important to the counseling profession.
Purpose & History of the Legislative Luncheon
The Public Policy & Legislation Luncheon emerged from a planning idea during ICA's Leadership Development Institute Training in June, 2013. The mission of the event is to help Legislators learn about the many ways Counselors contribute to the well-being of Idaho's communities and to establish relationships that can be used when seeking support for counselor initiatives, locally and nationally.
The 2023 Legislative Luncheon is currently scheduled for January 26th during the first day of the yearly ICA Conference.
If you cannot attend each year, you can support the event by encouraging others to attend or by making a donation. We cannot do this alone and hope to have as many counselors across all the specialties and ICA Divisions.
We ask you to consider joining the ICA Public Policy & Legislative committee as we continue to advocate for this great profession!