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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Social Work Licensure Bill

Thursday, August 1, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Legislators are moving slowly through this session. It’s been a month since Governor Cooper vetoed the budget bill and the legislature has yet to take a vote to attempt to override the veto. The House worked on a few bills this week, including the social work licensure bill!

The Senate has not taken up many bills in committee lately. This unfortunately includes House Bill 678, which amends our social work licensure statute and was passed by the House unanimously almost three months ago. NASW-NC Director of Advocacy, Policy and Legislation Kay Castillo has been lobbying legislators continuously for the last twelve weeks to get our social work licensure bill through the Senate.

NASW-NC’s significant lobbying efforts are paying off and there has been movement with our bill. This week, the House decided to send House Bill 678 to the Senate via another “vehicle,” since it is priority legislation. House Bill 678 has now been added to Senate Bill 537 and will be hitchhiking, a term coined by The Insider, which is meant to expedite our bill through the legislative process. Senate Bill 537 has already passed the Senate which is how the House was able to make changes to it this week.

Though this is a little confusing, here is the good news: since House Bill 678 was added to a bill that has already passed the Senate, it does not need to go through the Senate committee process again. Instead, once the House passes the bill, all the Senate will have to do is vote on the floor to concur or not concur with the House’s changes to the bill. Our hope is the Senate will concur with these changes and send it directly to Governor Cooper to sign into law!

If the Senate votes not to concur, a small committee of legislators will be appointed to work through the differences and a vote on their changes will be needed in both the House and Senate.

So, for those keeping track at home to the hitchhiking process of our social work licensure bill: it started as House Bill 203, was then added to House Bill 678 and passed the House 114-0 in May, and is now added into Senate Bill 537. The legislative process is never boring!

The new bill passed House Rules Committee on Wednesday, July 31 and will most likely be heard on the House floor Monday, August 5 and then sent to the Senate for concurrence. Stay tuned for updates on the bill as it continues to move! NASW-NC will continue to advocate on behalf of social workers to get this bill passed and save social work licensure! This effort would not be possible without your NASW membership! Thank you and please spread the word!

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