As the discussion on a New York State Budget is now completed, the Legislature will turn its attention to the regular session. From mid-April to the end of June, New York State lawmakers will take up individual bills that will impact their constituents. In addition to local bills that impact their legislative districts, lawmakers will also take up additional bills that might have a wider policy impact, including consideration of the scope of practice bill for Behavior Analysts.
On bills that are not specific to an individual district, it is important to understand how important it is to be vocal with your own lawmakers. Each person that resides in New York is represented by a State Senator and a State Assembly member. There are 63 Senators and 150 members of the House who are elected for a two-year term. All 213 legislators are up for re-election on November 6 of this year. In an election year, law makers do try to make positive choices that will show constituents that they are working hard for them.
On the scope of practice bill, you can be a major part of the development of state policy. S.4599 (Ritchie)/A.7632(Stokes) is a bill that will remove the scope limitation on the practice of behavior analysts. Currently, LBA’s may only treat those individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or a related disorder. However, LBA’s, through their education, experience and training, provide treatment, not based on a specific diagnosis, to assist individuals in managing certain behaviors. The modification of behavior in treatment is not limited to one diagnosis but can be used for a variety of situations. It is imperative that you, as a professional, a parent, or advocate, share your views with your legislator. You can find your legislator through the New York State Board of Elections web site and looking at the menu on the left-hand side and look at “elected officials.” You can type in your zip code; once you do, your federal and state representatives will appear with their contact information. The site can be found here: http://www.elections.ny.gov/district-map/district-map.html. We encourage you to write, call, or e-mail your representatives and ask them to sign on to S.4599/A.7632 as a co-sponsor and support this important bill. In addition, encourage them to ask that the bill be passed.
You can also come to Albany on May 7th for the NYSABA Lobbying Day. This is a day you can join your friends at NYSABA, meet with your legislators, and have a real impact on important public policy issues. Register at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SGKKTQ5 or on the link at NYSABA.org.