Sen. Bates,

My name is Steven Greenhut and I am senior
fellow and Western Region Director at the R Street Institute . R Street is a think
tank devoted to pragmatic free-market solutions to public policy challenges
including occupational-licensing reform. We have maintained a Sacramento office focused on
California issues since 2014 .

I write you in
support of S.B . 679, legislation
that streamlines the process for re-licensing professional clinical counselors,
marriage and family therapists and clinical social workers who have moved to
California. The measure would enable professionals, who have been licensed for
two years in other states, to continue working in their professions without
delay. It would help fill the intense demand for these professionals. It also
serves as a model for licensing reform, by removing
unnecessary impediments for fully qualified
mental-health professionals from other states .

In signing a more wide-ranging bill that
allows  workers in most fields to  move to his state without 
further review, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey noted that “you don’t lose
your skills simply because you pack up a U-Haul truck and make the decision to
move to Arizona.” Although this California measure is targeted to a few
high-demand professions, the same principle 
is true.
Mental-health  professionals don’t lose
their skills when they move to  the
Golden State. Furthermore,  this bill
requires these incoming professionals to complete some California-specific
coursework, which should remove any concerns about them operating here.

S.B. 679 affirms the ideas advocated by
California’s independent watchdog agency, the Little Hoover Commission, which
in 2016 recommended a review of licensing requirements in other states and
the granting of “partial reciprocity for professionals licensed in states with
appropriately comparable testing and education requirements.”

As Sen. Bates office explains, “If successful,
the (licensing) board intends to promote the proposal to its counterpart state
licensing agencies, with the goal of it becoming a model to promote increased access to
mental health services and increased
licensure opportunities nationwide.”
That’s a noble effort that will help these mental-health professi onals, their clients and
employing agencies, and the state’s mental-health system in general. We
certainly hope that it provides a nationwide model, too.

We would also like to see broader reforms to this effect. People who work in fields including barbering, nursing, the building trades and plumbing also have the need to begin working in their chosen fields soon after moving to California. Nevertheless, this bill is an important step in that direction and deserves wide, bipartisan support.

Feel free to
contact me at (909) 260-9836 with any questions.


Steven Greenhut

Western region director

R Street Institute

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