WSPA's commitment to advocacy.
WSPA has a long history advocating for mental health, the field of psychology, and social issues that affect Washingtonians.
The historic priorities WSPA has always supported in regard to policy and regulatory issues are:
- Maintaining the integrity and strength of psychology licensing laws
- Address any bills that affect disciplinary process (e.g. sentencing guidelines of unprofessional conduct)
- Address any bills that affect how we practice (e.g. changes to mental health parity or insurance)
- Social justice legislation (e.g. conversion therapy)
LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY COMMITTEE GOALS
- To become aware and take action on any bill introduced in the state which might negatively affect the practice of psychology or psychological services provided to citizens of the state. To also look for bills or ways to elevate the role or practice of psychologists/psychology.
- To involve WSPA members in state legislative advocacy by:
- Informing members of important legislation in the state,
- Operating a committee to inform and train members regarding the legislative process, researching the impact of bills on Psychology, and training members on creating talking points, legislative testimony, or fact sheets on bills important to Psychology,
- Selecting WSPA members to actively participate in legislative advocacy efforts
- (Attend legislative workgroup meetings on behalf of WSPA, provide testimony on bills on behalf of WSPA, or send email messages or make personal visits to a WSPA member’s state legislator).
- To work toward WSPA’s LAC to be recognized and respected in the state and by legislators as a fair, ethical, and competent resource regarding policy and legislative affairs.
DURING A LEGISLATIVE SESSION:
- LAC leadership to operate the committee in a way for members to review bills and determine each bill’s impact on Psychology.
- LAC leadership to work with the WSPA lobbyist to then determine the priority of bills to address and what actions to take regarding bills of interest.
- LAC leadership to keep the WSPA BoT informed of legislative activity and get approval from the BoT on positions WSPA will take on bills.
- To work closely with WSPA’s lobbyist to:
- Determine one consistent message regarding each bill of interest,
- Together develop a strategy or plan concerning each bill,
- Together develop materials or messages to be used regarding important bills, and,
- Together determine what contacts should be made to other organizations, stakeholders, or legislators regarding important bills.
OUTSIDE OF A LEGISLATIVE SESSION:
- Provide any research or facts to WSPA’s DPA on bills that have passed of which the DPA may be working on rules and regulations(WAC) for these new laws.
- Collect information from WSPA’s DPA, lobbyist, members who participated in legislative workgroups, FAC and others regarding possible future legislation.
- Organize the LAC members to research potential bills in a way to be prepared should legislation be introduced.
- Prepare WSPA’s Legislative Agenda and present this to WSPA’s BoT prior to the start of a legislative session.
- Develop and maintain good relationships with other organizations’ legislative policy committees and stakeholders.
- Possibly attend state legislative meetings.
- Train WSPA members regarding legislative advocacy skills (email communications, in person visits)
- Communicate with UP-PAC concerning upcoming important legislators; and WSPA’s BoT regarding recommendations of its Legislative Award nominee.
- Organize LAC members to create written material on legislation to be shared with members (research and facts obtained).
- The LAC is led by the LAC Chair, or a Chair and Co-Chair leadership team.
- The Chair/Co-Chair prepares agendas for LAC meetings, conducts LAC meetings, and is the leader distributing and/or assigning tasks to the LAC members.
- The Chair/Co-Chair receives information from others and using a collaborative process determines what actions to take and who in the committee is best suited or volunteers work on the task.
- The Chair/Co-Chair may create subcommittees or suggest to the BOT that a Task Force be formed for larger or more complex tasks.
- In order to maintain continuity and adjust to the ever-changing political landscape it is recommended that the LAC strive to meet monthly when the legislature is out of session, and weekly (Day of the week to be determined) during legislative sessions.
- LAC meetings are times for:
- Planning for upcoming legislative events,
- Members sharing research on topics,
- Leadership team updating members on all the legislative activities happening,
- Leadership assigning tasks to members,
- Discussion on bills with recommendations or action plans to be developed,
- Review of talking points or other materials,
- Discussion of the functioning of the committee, or other topics.
- Minutes of the LAC meetings should be kept and be available to WSPA BOT and members.
- LAC members are encouraged to keep the LAC leadership team informed of progress on an assigned topic or task.
- The major function of LAC is to review, and monitor introduced bills and act to support or oppose selected bills at the direction of the BOT. Actions may be:
- Distributing information to legislators,
- Arranging member meetings with legislators,
- Testifying at hearings,
- Participating in meetings with stakeholders,
- Directing our lobbyist to take certain actions.
- The LAC strives to develop relationships with legislators and other stakeholders towards building coalitions that support and align with WSPA mission.
- The LAC may help to plan, prepare, and introduce legislation at the direction of the BOT.
- The LAC strives to inform and involve WSPA members of legislative activities which may affect the practice of psychology; that potentially threatens the integrity and strength of licensing statue and/or disciplinary process; that may impact mental health parity and any legislation that directly or indirectly affects mental health treatment and/or access to mental health care.
- LAC supports and may provide advocacy training to WSPA members.
- LAC endeavors to collaborate with United Psychologists - Political Action Committee (UP-PAC) to inform them of legislators‘ involvement with WSPA and/or legislative relationship needs.
- Ideally, most of WSPA legislative activities should be subsumed in the LAC to facilitate ease of coordination & communication. With BOT knowledge, LAC will scaffold, as needed, subcommittees or Task Forces to address emerging political issues (i.e. Prescriptive Authority).
- Reviewing And Monitoring Introduced Bills
- The LAC will develop and adjust WSPA‘s Legislative Agenda (see Preparing Agenda document).
- LAC members will use this document in conjunction with WSPA‘s legislative priorities when reviewing introduced legislation.
- DPA & WSPA‘s Lobbyist will provide input to WSPA‘s Legislative Agenda and priorities.
- The LAC Chair or Co-Chair will work closely with our Lobbyist during a legislative session arranging for weekly reviews (Monday AM/Thursday AM) of all bills introduced and are of interest to WSPA be triaged, researched and evaluated for possible response and/or future actions.
- LAC Chair or Co-Chair will have assembled a list of bills to be assigned to LAC members to read/review (THURSDAY) pre-filed bills or bills that are on the Legislative Floor for First Reading (Bills must have 3 readings in each house in order to pass the Legislature). Bills are then assigned to specific committees. Committees hold 3 kinds of meetings:
- Work Sessions
- Relevant issues are determined and reviewed.
- Public Hearings
- Testimony from interested parties are taken, and,
- Executive Sessions
- When the committee decides how it will report the bill to the whole house.
- NOTE: Not all bills get scheduled for a hearing and never move out of committee.
- When the committee decides how it will report the bill to the whole house.
- LAC members are asked to review each bill in terms of the bill‘s level of PRIORITY to WSPA Legislative Agenda and provide a recommendation as what WSPA‘s POSITION should be regarding the bill.
- DETERMINING PRIORITY – ALL bills START at MEDIUM PRIORITY. After review - the bill will either be HIGH (Priority), REJECTED (as filtered by our AGENDA) or request further MONITORING.
- A recommendation for Monitoring means the LAC member would like others to review and weigh in.
- DETERMINING POSITION – ALL bills START at NEUTRAL POSITION. After review - the bill will be designated as one WSPA should SUPPORT or OPPOSE.
- LAC members are encouraged to complete a BILL REVIEW WORKSHEET (See proposed Worksheet) that include brief notes or comments concerning how and why they made their recommendations for each bill they read.
- The LAC reviewer communicates their notes and recommendations to the Chair/Co-Chair by SATURDAY of that week. If a bill is designated needing further MONITORING the Chair/Co-Chair will ask other members to review the bill.
- Please note that additional read-throughs by other LAC members is highly encouraged as many of the bills will be poorly written, vague or excessively complicated and we are all learning from each other.
- As a bill moves through the committee process, the staff prepares the bill report, which will include the legislative history of the bill, background on the issue, a summary of the legislation, the names of those who testified and a summary of the testimony for and against the bill.
- LAC Chair/Co-Chair prepares all the data from the reviewers to prepare for a LAC ZOOM Review Meeting (Sunday).
- (Proposing) LAC Conduct a Review Meeting (Sunday – time to be determined). Chair/Co-Chair facilitates this weekly meeting (the DPA and WSPA President is invited to attend).
The PURPOSE of this meeting is to:
1) Update & inform members of recommendations made for each reviewed bill and determine which if any of the bills need to be submitted to the WSPA BOT for further action, response or position
2) Chair/Co-Chair may elicit further discussions of more complex bills or bills that the group needs to discuss/decide recommendations,
3) If necessary and appropriate, continue to develop a Plan of Action on bills designated as HIGH Priority that WSPA is either in SUPPORT or in OPPOSITION that the LAC will be recommending to the BOT. Such planning may include: arranging testimony, assist in the research and scripting for testimony, preparing bulleted talking points, request members to contact their legislator, reach out to other stakeholders, etc.).
4) Amend WSPA Legislative Agenda with these new weekly data/decisions.
- LAC Chair/Co-Chair in collaboration with WSPA President & DPA will determine the level of urgency and action after reviewing LAC recommendations from weekly bill reading on MONDAY morning. The BOT must approve any revisions recommended by the LAC to the WSPA Legislative Agenda.
- LAC Chair/Co-Chair contacts and informs Lobbyist of revised Legislative agenda and oversees the actions/plans related to the weekly decisions made.
- LAC Chair/Co-Chair informs DPA (or other designated LAC member) of the weekly decisions. DPA informs the WSPA membership of the weekly bills under consideration and decisions/positions on those bills. (Tuesday).
- Developing Relationships With Other Stakeholders:
- In coordination with the BOT the LAC Chair/Co-Chair will facilitate with LAC members what organizations or groups the WSPA needs to contact or order to form a more perfect coalition, which may strengthen WSPA legislation efforts.
- LAC Chair/Co-Chair decides who from the LAC is to make contact to other groups for legislative efforts.
- The person(s) designated by the LAC Chair/Co-Chair reports back to the Chair/Co-Chair regularly concerning the contacts and progress made.
- The LAC Chair/Co-Chair will update as necessary the WSPA BOT of contacts and connections made with outside groups.
- These contacts and relationships are made for the purposes of:
- Gaining insights into what other groups may be planning to do legislatively,
- To increase and improve the reputation/credibility of WSPA and psychologists in general, and
- Build partnerships with like-minded groups to affect legislative change that aligns with WSPA‘s Mission.
3. Plan, Prepare, And Introduce Legislation:
- Any and all legislation being introduced on behalf of WSPA should involve the LAC input & recommendations.
- The LAC may be involved in the research and planning of legislation on WSPA‘s behalf. The LAC and the WSPA BOT may delegate parts of the planning and preparation of new legislation to others with the understanding that the LAC and the BOT be kept informed of progress and efforts made by any outside entity.
- The LAC will strive to be equipped to assist with the introduction of legislation. This preparation may include:
- Research a problem/issue facing the practice of Psychology,
- Research other jurisdiction‘s solutions to such a problem or issue,
- Propose a legislative fix/alternative to the WSPA BOT,
- Build partners and coalitions to support proposed legislation,
- Analyze and acquire potential legislative sponsors,
- Provide supportive materials needed for bill passage (talking points, documents, individuals to testify),
- Collaborate with Grassroots Advocates and WSPA members to make legislator contact when needed, and
- Be the liaison to APA for legislative matters.
4. Inform & Involve WSPA Members Of Legislative Matters; Provide Advocacy Skills Training
- The LAC has major responsibilities of informing and educating WSPA members and various entities within WSPA (BOT, DPA, UP-PAC, Ad hoc JD/PhD Committee, Grassroots Advocates, lobbyist) of legislative matters and how they impact psychologists in the State.
- The LAC needs to maintain good collaborative working relationships with various parts of WSPA.
1. Communications With The Board Of Trustees (BOT):
- The LAC Chair/Co-Chair are the LAC members who should have communications with the WSPA BOT.
- LAC Chair/Co-Chair should regularly schedule presentations as needed to the BOT to inform them of legislative trends that Washington State may soon face, LAC contacts and endeavors to work on legislative matters, and legislative research data and important information found in the course of effectively dealing with legislative matters.
- When the legislature is in session, the LAC Chair/Co-Chair should schedule weekly session updates to the BOT noting any modifications to the WSPA Legislative agenda, asking for approval to take action on bills if needed.
2. Communications With The Director of Professional Affairs (DPA):
- WSPA’s DPA is an ex officio member of the LAC and should participate in LAC activities as other LAC members are expected to.
- The DPA and LAC Chair/Co-Chair need to work together and share information with each other concerning potential legislative activities in Washington State.
- The LAC and LAC Chair/Co-Chair need to work together with the DPA to share information, as a bill becomes law whereas the DPA begins oversight of influencing WAC rules.
3. Communications With The Federal Advocacy Coordinator (FAC):
- WSPA’s FAC is an ex officio member of the LAC and should participate in LAC activities as other LAC members are expected to.
- The FAC needs to regularly report and inform the LAC concerning national legislative matters and the potential impact on Washington State.
- The FAC is also utilized by the LAC to use the APA database to identify other psychologists in the State who may be contacted to be involved with State legislative efforts.
4. Communications With United Psychologists Political Action Committee (UP-PAC):
- The LAC Chair/Co-Chair are the LAC members who should have communications with UP-PAC.
- The LAC Chair/Co-Chair should keep UP-PAC appraised of the LAC’s connections to legislators, cooperation from legislators, and key legislators needed/involved with WSPA Legislative Agenda items.
- The LAC Chair/Co-Chair should inform UP-PAC if Grassroots Advocates will be utilized to influence legislation during a legislative session.
5. Communications With The Ad Hoc JD/Ph.D. Committee:
- The Ad hoc JD/Ph.D. Committee Chair or Co-Chair is an ex officio member of the LAC and should participate in LAC activities as other LAC members are expected to.
- The Ad hoc JD/Ph.D. Committee Chair/Co-Chair should collaborate with the LAC Chair/Co-Chair to inform of any court actions that may require the LAC to further can research and determine if legislative action may be advised.
- The Chair/Co-Chair of the Ad hoc JD/Ph.D. Committee being on the LAC has the major responsibility of advising the LAC regarding bills that have major impact on legal/judicial actions affecting psychologists or the practice of psychology.
6. Communications With The Grassroots Advocates Committee:
- The LAC Chair/Co-Chair or designee from the Chair is the contact person to reach out to the Grassroots Advocates to activate Grassroots Advocates to make legislative contacts for purposes to further legislation on behalf of WSPA.
- Grassroots Advocates should report back to the LAC information obtained from directed legislative contacts in a timely manner.
- The LAC in conjunction with (BOT, DPA, FAC, UP-PAC, Lobbyist) should provide the Grassroots Advocates with materials (talking points, etc.), contact information, and strategy concerning any planned legislative contact.
7. Communications With The WSPA Lobbyist(s):
- The LAC Chair/Co-Chair is the contact person from WSPA during session to communicate with the lobbyist(s) used by WSPA.
- The LAC Chair/Co-Chair is responsible for communicating WSPA’s legislative priorities, agenda, and plans to WSPA’s Lobbyist(s) on a regular basis.
- The LAC Chair/Co-Chair, in working with the lobbyist(s), develops plans and strategies for legislative agenda items.
- The WSPA BOT is responsible for the contractual relationship with designated lobbyist but the LAC Chair/Co-Chair should communicate regularly with the BOT regarding the performance of any lobbyist contracted with WSPA.
8. Communications With WSPA Members:
- The LAC, as directed by the Chair/Co-Chair should be communicating with WSPA members to recruit and involve them in legislative activities.
- The LAC, as directed by the Chair/Co-Chair should inform and educate members concerning legislative matters regularly: Recommended: twice yearly articles concerning upcoming or national trends/concerns, weekly updates on bills during a legislative session, and information or training concerning advocacy skills.
- WSPA‘s legislative agenda is seen as a fluid document outlining State legislative priorities for Psychology. It is planned in anticipation of a legislative session and evolves as a session progresses. WSPA‘s Board of Trustees periodically approves this malleable document at the recommendations of the Legislative Advocacy Committee.
- WSPA‘s initial legislative agenda should be prepared 90 days prior to a legislative session. WSPA‘s Lobbyist, Ad hoc JD/PhD Committee, FAC, and DPA will be involved in the creation of the initial agenda. As bills are introduced and reviewed, the Legislative Advocacy Committee recommends changes to the agenda to the WSPA Board of Trustees. WSPA‘s legislative agenda is always available to WSPA members, and members‘ input into the agenda is welcomed and encouraged. At the close of a legislative session the Legislative Advocacy Committee shall prepare a final legislative summary to the Board of Trustees, informing the Board of the final status of bills on the legislative agenda along with recommendations.
(INITIAL CREATION OF THE AGENDA)
- WSPA‘s Legislative Advocacy Committee is responsible for the creation of the proposed initial legislative agenda presented to the Board of Trustees. The initial agenda should be created utilizing the following factors:
- Any bills, which WSPA plans to introduce.
- Bills from past session, which are anticipated to be introduced again.
- Bills, which can be anticipated coming out a legislative study committee.
(These might come from Lobbyist, DPA, or other stakeholders)
- Bills, which can be anticipated that are being introduced by other healthcare stakeholders.
- Practice bills, which can be anticipated that are being introduced by business and industry sources.
(From Director of Professional Affairs)
- Bills, which may be anticipated based on federal legislation of national trends.
(From Federal Advocacy Coordinator)
- Bills, which may be anticipated based in reaction to recent judicial decisions.
(From Ad hoc JD/PhD Committee)
- Information from WSPA members
- WSPA‘s legislative agenda must correspond with WSPA‘s goals and mission. The priority of the content of bills should generally follow these priorities:
- Bills affecting the scope of psychology practice.
- Qualifications to be a psychologist,
- What services psychologists may provide. And,
- What other healthcare providers can provide, etc.
- Bills, which can have major impact on the practice of psychology.
- Public behavioral health services,
- Public access to services, i.e. insurance rules to be a provider,
- Confidentiality/privileged communications,
- Qualifications to use psychological tests,
- Types of business structures available to psychologists,
- Civil commitment procedures,
- Hospital privileges, inter-jurisdictional practice,
- Funding for training programs, etc.
- Bills, which promote psychologists or the practice of psychology.
- Psychologists to be on certain commissions or boards,
- Psychologists to have roles in public healthcare planning,
- Program development, and/or program evaluation, etc.
- Bills, which affect people because of a behavioral health condition.
- Rape kit procedures,
- Criminalization of people with serious/persistent mental illness,
- L&I coverage for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc.
- Bills, which affect disciplinary procedures for licensed psychologist.
- Social justice bills for which psychology has research to share, which can contribute to the debate/discussion of a bill.
- LGBTQ marriage, LGBTQ adoption, prejudice, violent behavior, etc.