Legislative News

  • Thursday, September 21, 2017 8:00 AM | Catherine Jauch (Administrator)



    Hello to all.

    HR 3032 which is in committee (Medicare and adding MHCs to providers) now has 23 co-sponsors, none of whom represent Florida.

    Attached is a letter from constituent that I am asking you to make available to your chapter leaders to distribute to their members so we can generate waves from the grassroots.

    It is imperative that we be persistent in our efforts.  

    Please share if you can, how many emails have gone out to legislators.

    Here is a link, by the way, that provides info on the Florida delegation.

    https://ballotpedia.org/List_of_United_States_Representatives_from_Florida

    Thanks a bunch!

    Louise  Sutherland-Hoyt, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC, MAC

    Benchmark Counseling, Consulting, Education

    President, Florida Mental Health Counselors Association

    Chairman, Government Relations Committee, FMHCA

    Letter to cosponsor hr3032.docx

  • Saturday, March 25, 2017 3:17 PM | Caitlin Woods (Administrator)

    March legislative Report.docx


    Please select the file above to review the information. Thank you.

  • Wednesday, January 04, 2017 11:58 AM | Caitlin Woods (Administrator)

    Hello from POPVOX / FL!

     

    It's a new year and with resolutions and football games come new laws as well.


    In Florida, for example, the minimum wage just increased to $8.10 per hour -- 85 cents above the federal minimum wage. Learn more about new state laws across the country.

    After six years of connecting you with Congress, we're launching POPVOX / Florida to help you track bills, follow your state lawmakers, and receive neutral, nonpartisan information. Sign up now to receive updates, and remember, policy happens at the state and federal level.

    -Team POPVOX


  • Thursday, December 08, 2016 10:48 AM | Caitlin Woods (Administrator)

    November is a busy month in Tallahassee.

    The 2016 election is now behind us and we now know who will comprise the Florida House and Senate for the 2017 and 2018 Legislative Sessions. The state Senate will see a small shift in power, from 26-14 GOP majority to 25-15. Democrats also made small gains in the House, though they are negligible due to the GOP retaining a strong majority. Despite the small changes, both chambers will look very different than they have in recent sessions, as both are welcoming large numbers of new members. After this year’s election, 41 percent of those elected will be first-timers. The Legislature will experience its largest freshman class with 66 new members out of 160 legislators — 20 of the 40 senators and 46 out of the 120 House members.

    In addition, House and Senate leaders have begun releasing the names of their committee chairs. The first bills of the 2017 Legislative Session have been filed and the two chambers have met to organize the structure of their chambers.

    So what’s next?

    During the first two weeks of December, the Florida House and Senate will convene for their first committee weeks. Committee meetings allow the legislature to fully vet bills and amendments prior to a legislation receiving its floor hearings and votes. We anticipate that many bills will be filed over the upcoming weeks. Among the bills that are rumored will be filed is guns-on-campuses language, an overhaul of higher education funding, state employee pay raises and adjustments to the state’s water policies.

    Leading up to the legislative session, FMHCA’s government relations committee and lobbying team will be reviewing these bills and dozens of others. In addition, FMHCA will hold its inaugural Legislative Action Days in January; during this event, FMHCA’s members will meet their legislators in their Tallahassee offices to establish a relationships and a foundation for advocacy.

    With half of the Senate and a significant portion of the House newly-elected, profound attention will need to be paid to networking with and educating the state legislature. Unlike national policy, our state legislature can move very quickly. FMHCA will be asking you to reach out to your legislators to establish relationships, so that when those changes come, your profession is “at the table and not on the menu!”

    By Corinne Mixon, Lobbyist, Mixon & Associates

  • Monday, September 12, 2016 1:58 PM | Caitlin Woods (Administrator)


    Important National Legislative Update from AMHCA - please contact your elected officials in the Senate and ask them to support this new Mental Health Legislation:


    The Hill” is reporting that the House of Representatives today overwhelmingly passed a long-delayed mental health bill that Republicans have cast as their response to recent mass shootings.

    The measure from Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), which passed 422-2, had been stalled and mired in controversy for years, but lawmakers in recent months dropped or scaled back many of the most controversial, sweeping measures.

     

    That process has led to a bill that is much more modest than the original plan, but that advocates are still praising as a good first step. Democrats stressed that more funding is still needed.

    The bill aims to improve the oversight and effectiveness of federal mental health programs, and authorizes a range of grants for treatment.

    Mental health reform has been a rare area where both parties are looking to enact legislation, but a parallel effort in the Senate has been stalled over gun politics, and it is unclear whether a bill can be signed into law this year. 

     

    “Our mental health system in this country is a failure, and this is one of those times when we’re not gathered for a moment of silence, but a time of action,” Murphy said Wednesday.

     

    “We’re here, finally, to speak up for the last, the lost, the least and the lonely. That is those that suffer from mental illness.”

    Advocates have in particular pointed to a lack of providers and beds at treatment hospitals for mental illness.

    The vote comes in a week when Republicans are responding to a Democratic push to pass gun-control legislation. Republicans say mental health reform is a way to prevent mass shootings by mentally ill people.

     

    Democrats warn against stigmatizing mental illness and argue that gun laws are needed, but say they support mental health reform for its own sake. Both parties were able to put aside gun politics to pass the bill.

     

    The measure would create a new assistant secretary role in the HHS to oversee mental health and substance abuse programs. The role is intended to be a doctor, which Murphy touts as a way to improve the oversight of federal mental health programs that he views as currently ineffective.

     

    The bill also authorizes grants for areas such as preventing suicide and early intervention for children with mental illnesses. Funding for the range of grants will depend on the appropriations process, but Murphy noted that he has talked to appropriators and is hopeful that funding can begin in 2018.

     

    Several of the most sweeping and controversial changes had to be rolled back in order to smooth the way for the committee vote.

     

    In particular, a provision to allow Medicaid to pay for more care at mental health facilities, which was projected to cost tens of billions of dollars, drew objections from some Republicans. It was scaled back to codify a new regulation covering stays only if they are less than 15 days long.

     

    Changes in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), meant to allow information about a mentally ill person to be shared with caregivers, were taken out after objections from Democrats and some Republicans. The bill instead directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue a regulation to clarify the privacy rules.

     

    Ron Honberg, senior policy advisor for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said his organization knew that some provisions would have to be scaled back for the sake of compromise.

     

    “There’s still a lot of really good stuff in this bill,” Honberg said, pointing to early identification and prevention efforts in young people, improved coordination of services and simply changing the conversation.

     

    “All of the focus on this bill has helped shape the conversation,” he added. “A lot of the issues being talked about today weren’t being talked about two or three years ago.”

    The Senate has a parallel, bipartisan bill from Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

     

    The changes to the House bill have made it similar to the Senate bill, which had always been narrower and less controversial.

     

    However, the Senate bill has faced an obstacle in gun politics. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) wants to combine the measure with his mental health bill, which includes provisions that Democrats denounce as making it easier for mentally ill people to get guns.

     

    There has been no resolution yet on that front, and the measure also faces a tight time window on the Senate floor.


  • Wednesday, June 15, 2016 3:13 PM | Laura Peddie-Bravo (Administrator)

    FMHCA launches 1stever state campaign to convince state legislators to empower their congressmen

    We need all the help we can get in our fight for Medicare Provider Status for LMHCs! That is why your Government Relations Committee is asking you to reach out to your state legislators to have them help this endeavor; it is critical to the future of your profession.


    Attached you’ll find a letter that your state legislators can use to implore their congressmen to pass this key legislation. Use the link below to find your legislators’ contact information. Reach out to your state senator and house member by writing a note explaining that you need them to impact Congress. Attach the below letter as a guide point for them to use, offer yourself as a resource by providing your phone number and email address and follow up until something happens. It will only take five minutes of your time to email your state legislators.

    Better yet, reach out in person! But do something! Your future depends on your actions right here, right now!

    Click on the link below for the letter state legislators can use to implore congressmen to pass this key legislation

    MayLetter.docx

    congressletterintro.docx

    To find your Legislators contact information please visit:

    Find your Legislators


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