2024 Colorado Legislative Advocacy Info

The Chapter advocates on issues affecting our profession in Colorado through a variety of efforts.  These efforts include participating in a coalitions and committees, relationship building with staff at government agencies, private organizations, and employer companies; attending and testifying at the DORA Social Work Examiners Board and the Colorado Assembly legislative committees; as well as meeting with local and state politicians.  


The NASW-CO Chapter has worked in partnership with Colorado legislators to run the Social Work Interstate Licensure Compact legislation (HB24-1002) & to make necessary updates to regulatory requirements for all types of mental health licensure in CO via SB24-115 during the 2024 Legislative Session -- learn more about both of these exciting legislative efforts below!

SOCIAL WORK INTERSTATE LICENSURE COMPACT

The Council of State Governments (CSG) is partnering with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) to support the mobility of licensed social workers through the development of a new interstate compact. This additional licensing pathway will facilitate multistate practice among member states and reduce the barriers to license portability.

HB24-1002 Social Work Licensure Compact Fact Sheet

HB24-1002 Social Work Licensure Compact Fact Sheet (1)

CURRENT STATUS

Multistate licenses are not yet available & will not be available to apply to obtain for some time (estimated timeframe: 18-24 months as of April 2024).

HB24-1002: Social Work Licensure Compact PASSED its final vote on Friday, 4/19/2024 & is now headed to the Governor's office to be signed into law! NASW-CO is proud to have led the effort to run & pass this important legislation into law in the state of Colorado.

The model Compact language must be enacted into law by a state to officially join the Social Work Licensure Compact. A minimum of 7 states must pass the Compact legislation and sign it into law before the SW Compact will officially be "activated" and the Compact Commission can be formed to begin the work of overseeing the development of the Compact's Rules, processes, and applications.

On April 12, 2024 Kanas' Governor signed the SW Compact legislation into law in Kansas, making it the 7th state to enact the Compact & officially "activating" the Compact so that the Compact Commission can be formed & begin its work. Since that date, Nebraska has also signed the compact into law, bringing the total number of states to eight (the other states that have enacted the Compact thus far are: Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Kentucky, & Virginia). There are an additional 19 states (including Colorado) with active compact legislation running during their current legislative sessions (for a full list of these states, please see the SW Compact Map).

In July 2023, The Council of State Governments hosted a legislative summit for policymakers to learn about the Social Work Compact. Agenda items included a framework for social work regulation, section by section review of the compact, compact perspectives panel, advocacy strategies, and audience Q&A. Access a recording of the meeting here: July 2023 CSG Legislative Summit Video Recording and the Powerpoint slides here: 2023 CSG Legislative Summit Slide Deck.

Learn more about the Social Work Interstate Licensure Compact here: https://swcompact.org/.


COLORADO LSW LICENSURE CHANGES & OTHER IMPORTANT UPDATES TO THE MENTAL HEALTH PRACTICE ACT

NASW-CO led a coalition effort in partnership with organizations representing ALL of the types of mental health professionals who are licensed in the state of Colorado (Psychologists, Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists, Professional Counselors, & Addiction Counselors) to develop & run SB24-115: Mental Health Professionals Practice Requirements, which was introduced in the CO Senate on 2/5/2024 & is Co-sponsored by Senators Dafna Michaelson Jenet & Jim Smallwood, & Representatives Mary Young & Emily Sirota. 

The changes included in this bill attempt to ensure that regulation of practice is standardized & yet also not unduly burdensome to those pursuing professional licensure in the mental health field. The bill makes the following changes to the Mental Health Practice Act & the associated Rules & Regulations for all of the mental health professional types:

  • Creates & allows for the renewal & re-issuance of Candidate credentials in all MH professional field
    • Candidate credentials will become 3-year credentials, with the ability to renew the credential on a 3-year renewal cycle multiple times (with 60-hrs of Continuing Education required for 2nd &/or subsequent renewals of the credential)
  • Adds a requirement to take & pass the CO Jurisprudence Exam to obtain a Candidate credential in all MH professional fields
  • Removes outdated & burdensome language required in the Mandatory Disclosure Form used by all MH professional types
  • Clarifies who may administer certain types of psychological tests under proper supervision
  • Removes the requirement to take & pass a national licensure exam (the ASWB Masters Exam) to obtain the LSW license in CO
  • Reinstates the minimum # of clinical supervision hours required for LPC Candidates who are pursuing LPC licensure
    • 50 hours of clinical supervision will be required for every 1,000 hours of post-degree work experience (a total minimum of 100 hours of clinical supervision accrued over the course of a minimum of 2 years)
  • Clarifies the ability of a professional counseling student to continuing seeing clients from their internship/practicum site while in their final semester of their graduate program (after they have completed their official internship/practicum requirements for the program)

SB24-115 PASSED its final vote on 4/9/2024 & is now headed to the Governor's office to be signed into law! We anticipate that parts of SB24-115 will be implemented on 8/7/2024 as long as the CO legislature adjourns as-scheduled on 5/8/2024, but some pieces of the legislation will require DORA to engage in Rulemaking processes to update the associated Rules & Regulations before the changes listed above can be fully implemented. Please stay tuned here for important updates on the implementation timeline for pieces of SB24-115 - we will post news & information to this page as it becomes available.

Consider joining NASW as a Member (learn more about ALL the Membership Benefits here: NASW Membership Benefits) to support our legislative efforts & advocacy for all social workers!