Recap of the 2019 Legislative Session and Next Steps

We wanted to bring you up to date on the progress of the scope restriction bill, S.4967-A (Skoufis)/A.6389-A (Peoples-Stokes). While the bill did not pass in 2019, there was significant progress made on the bill, resulting in 45 new co-sponsors signing the bill: 14 in the Senate and 31 in the Assembly. This is amazing progress, especially since there are so many new members in the Senate. In addition, we had the bill amended to continue the current requirement that a prescription be issued by a doctor or other qualified professional for any services that might be required by a licensed behavior analyst. While this is not ideal, there was a concern raised by the psychologists as they argued that our intent was to allow our profession to diagnose. Obviously, this was not our intent, but we wanted to make it clear through this amendment.  


As many of you know, the psychologists came out in opposition to the bill late in the session. Much of their stated reasoning is either completely inaccurate or simply wrong. We have conveyed this to our sponsors, Assembly member Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Jim Skoufis. The psychologists' opposition has only emboldened our sponsors to push harder on the bill. One of the outstanding issues is that there is a report on the licensure law that was supposed to be delivered to the Legislature by January 2019 by the Department of Education. However, that report has not been released nor does it appear to be close to being released.  


One of the things we plan on doing is seeing if we can have our sponsors hold a discussion with us, the psychologists and SED relative to any "concerns" on the bill and see if we can attempt to come to a general understanding on any amendments, if necessary. To provide some context around bill passage, historically there are about 500 bills out of 10,000 (5 percent) introduced in any given year that pass both Houses of the Legislature. This year the number was a bit higher (roughly 6 percent), but regardless, is it widely known that it is easier to stop a bill than to pass one in New York.   


Here are some of the ways we are gaining support: Many more people in the state, including agencies, universities, advocacy groups, BCBA’s, other professionals, and families are speaking up about how the current licensure law in New York discriminates against those who do not have a diagnosis of autism. We are publishing Op-Ed’s, news stories, increasing our visibility on social media, and teaming up with folks around the state and country (e.g., APBA, Prader-Willi Syndrome Association) who want to help us spread the word. We have the full support of the BACB and APBA (thank you!!!).


We have the opportunity to do more.

We need to do more.

We have a responsibility to do more. See BACB ethics code 6.0 (BACB, 2014).


The summer is a great time to sit down with your representatives and talk about the bills, write letters, post on social media, and write to your newspapers. It is also a great time to think of everyone you know who could do the same. Make a list of 10 people you know (colleagues, friends, family members, owners of agencies in NY, administrators, advocacy groups you have contacts in, consumers, individuals who cannot access ABA), help them make contact AND speak to 10 people that they know (you get the idea). We have an amazing toolkit this year which makes it even easier. Legislators can sign on to the bills at any time, and often they have more time to talk when not in session.


I want to thank all of you who have been lobbying with us this year whether in Albany or locally and especially the members of the 2019 Legislative Committee who continue to work tirelessly in support of this legislation: Debbie Napolitano, Kim Shamoun, Dana Reinecke, Nicole DeRosa, Elizabeth Drago, Delores McFadden, Chris Cryer, Bryan Blair, Kevin Fuller, and Jenn Engheben.







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