March 2022: On March 29, 2022, our licensure bill was discussed in a subcommittee hearing. Two SC ABA Legislative Affairs Committee members, Scott Braud and Zahra Hajiaghamohseni, testified in support of the bill. Katie Wolfe submitted written testimony in support of the bill on behalf of SC ABA.
Two individuals, one on behalf of the South Carolina Alliance of Health Plans and one on behalf of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, testified with concerns about the bill. These concerns were related to how the scope of practice is defined and to the perceived lack of specificity in the bill about a) educational requirements to become a behavior analyst and b) continuing education requirements to maintain licensure. The bill does not explicitly outline these requirements, but instead refers to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) in both of these areas to accommodate future changes that the BACB may make in terms of entry-level education and ongoing continuing education.
The subcommittee ultimately voted to adjourn debate on the bill, meaning that it will not move forward during the legislative session this year.
Feb 2022: At this time, the committee is preparing and considering changes to the language within the bill to best define the practice of behavior analysis within our state. Based on previous interactions and testimony provided by organizations representing Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, proposed language changes have been carefully considered to ensure that we have the most accurate and complete bill to present before legislators. The committee continues to meet with and discuss possible areas of improvement within the language while also ensuring that applied behavior analysis is not compromised and that all practitioners are of our science are able to operate freely within our scope of practice.
Further interactions have been held with members of the board for the South Carolina Psychological Association related to their level of interest and support in the licensure of behavior analysts within in our state. These interactions have been extremely positive and while there are questions related to our practice, it only serves to demonstrate our great need to accurately disseminate information regarding our science and further cements how vital our services are to helping improve the lives of others in our state.
The committee anticipates these areas to be resolved very quickly and the expectation is that in short time our licensure bill will be represented before legislators.
The current draft bill can be viewed here.
June 2021: On May 5, 2021, the Senate LCI - Professions and Occupations Subcommittee received testimony from interested parties on S. 630 (ABA Licensure). The Subcommittee Chair and bill sponsor, Senator Tom Davis, indicated at the beginning of the hearing that there were still some unresolved issues that needed to be worked out, and that the stakeholders would work over the summer to remedy those issues. The bill will receive another hearing when the legislature returns in January, 2022.
The subcommittee received testimony from Katie Phillips, LLR on some of the elements included in the legislation that conflicts with provisions of licensure acts of professions covered by the board of examiners that would be responsible to regulating the ABA profession.
The subcommittee then received testimony from Shirley Vickory, Board Chair, Board of Examiners in Psychology, Adrienne Davis, President Elect of the SCSHA, and Jim Ritchie, Executive Director, SCAHP. Zahra Hajiaghamohseni and David Greene each provided testimony on behalf of SC ABA.
The subcommittee received all testimony from those wishing to testify and "carried over" the bill without taking any action on suggested amendments.
March 2021: Next steps: (1) Get a sub-committee hearing, (2) Full-committee hearing (3) Bill gets on the docket to be heard on the senate floor (4) Governor signs bill into law. This process will likely take until 2022.
March 2020: SC ABA has tabled the 2020 licensure effort after consulting with Gina Green and The Southern Group. SC ABA will continue to work on creating a solid licensure bill to ensure comprehensive consumer protection that allows all of our current members in Good Standing with the BACB to practices as they do now.
January 2020: SC ABA has contracted with The Southern Group to lobby the General Assembly on its behalf. SC ABA expects that legislation will be drafted in the coming weeks and introduced for future debate. SC ABA will communicate frequently between January through April regarding the status of this effort.
Information About Licensure
What is licensure? How is it different from certification?
Licensed professionals are regulated by state law. Certification (such as through the BACB) is managed by the governing certifying entity. While the qualifications to become a licensed behavior analyst often mirror those of the certifying entity, licensure provides additional provisions for state regulation of the practice of behavior analysis and the use of the title "behavior analyst."
Why is licensure necessary?
Currently, there are no laws prohibiting the practice of ABA or the use of the title "behavior analyst" in the state of South Carolina. In a sense, anyone can say they practice ABA or say they are a behavior analyst (or any derivative of the term). This poses significant dangers for consumers, particularly those in areas of the state that are underserved by appropriately trained and certified behavior analysts. Individuals who are not certified by the BACB are not subject to following BACB ethical guidelines and the BACB can not impose any consequences on those individuals unless they are purporting themselves to be certified. As such, derivative terms, such as "behavior specialist," "behavior interventionist," etc. are becoming increasingly used by non-certified practitioners, resulting in increased confusion from consumers about who to go to for ABA services. Licensure is also necessary to protect the integrity of our science and practice, and, as a result, our professional reputation. As increasing numbers of individuals are practicing without the appropriate training and certification, the "definition of ABA" becomes increasingly blurred from a consumer perspective. Check out these articles for a more thorough review of the benefits of licensure-- Dorsey et al. (2009) and Guercio & Murray (2014)
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