Proposed Licensing Changes from the SD Board of Counselor Examiners and Marriage & Family Therapists 

Below is Draft 1 of proposed revisions and a section by section summary of the proposed changes to the Professional Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists Practice Acts.   The Board proposes to completely delete the current practice acts and start over so the laws will be ordered in a way that makes sense to the licensees and future applicants.  That is why most of the language in the proposal is the same, exact language as is in current law.  The section by section summary notes if the section is current law, clarified law or new law.  A section that is noted as clarifies law reflects changes to current law to reflect how the Board is currently implementing that particular section.  In other words, there is not a change in how the Board is currently operating with regard to that section, but the Board thought further clarification would help to make sure licensees and applicants understood the expectation of them.  Sections that are entirely new are noted as new law.

Sections 1-50 deal with the make-up and administration of the Board and the licensure of counselors.  Sections 51-88 deal with the licensure of marriage and family therapists.  Section 89 deletes the current laws so the previous sections can replace current law.

This draft is the same as the final version of changes the Legislature considered at the end of the 2019 Session with two exceptions: 

  1. I have changed the references to renewal periods from odd numbered years to even numbered years, assuming that if we move forward, the changes would take effect in 2020.  These changes do not change the intent of the biennial renewal, they simply reflect the fact the changes would be made in an even year versus an odd year as proposed in the 2019 legislation. 
  2. Wording was added in sections 20 and 60 to provide the Board with the opportunity to consider extending the time of supervision beyond the 4 years, if the applicant has good cause.  The reason for this proposed addition is that there may be rare instances where an applicant has an illness of family issue that prevents the applicant from acquiring the necessary hours within the prescribed 4-year period and this language gives the Board some latitude to address those rare situations.  I highlighted these sections in yellow to make sure people are aware this is a difference from where the legislative proposal ended.

It would be very helpful to have specific feedback from your group with proposed changes to this proposal, as our starting point.  If we use this draft as a baseline, we can make adjustments, as needed, as we work through the summer.  For specific wording changes, it would be helpful to have specific page numbers and line numbers with the proposed change someone would like to see.  If there are questions on the intention or the effect of a change, referencing that section would be helpful and the Board will try to respond to the question.

As this draft is considered, the Board would ask for a baseline understanding of the process so we can keep the discussions going.  These include:

  1. There will be modifications to administrative rule following any changes to state law.  Things like the specific break down of supervision hours and the name of the examination required for licensure are intentionally left out of the laws so they can be put in administrative rule (as they are now).  The Board has no intention of changing the required national examinations or the deviating significantly from the supervision hours as they are now. Those items will be memorialized in administrative rule.
  2. The Board is open to recommendations for changes to this draft, with the understanding that the Board does not represent any class of licensee with regard to protecting payment sources or scopes of practice between counselors.  The Board’s goal is to protect the public and make sure the process for qualified people being licensed is as streamlined as possible.
  3. If the item is not in this proposal or future proposals, the Board is not proposing it.  It is very important to make sure we all stay on the same page with regard to the version of the proposal we are on (I expect there may be multiple).  If the information someone is looking at is not directly from the Board, please do not assume any changes or different versions are from the Board.  The Board appreciates the support of stakeholders for the proposal, but the Board wants to be clear about the fact the proposal we are starting from is from the Board.  Other stakeholders may have opinions on drafts or share other information, but that information is not necessarily from the Board.  I will communicate directly with you so you can communicate directly with your group so we are on the same page.

The Board will meet on May 17th and I will report back our conversations from last week and the willingness to continue discussions.  The Board will have to make the final decision on what legislation it might propose for 2020, and continued conversations will help make sure there is a solid proposal for the Board’s consideration.  If I get any additional information as to a timeline the Board might have for making a final decision on a proposal, I will provide it, but I think it is safe to say we have the better part of the summer to work through questions, comments and changes.

Thank you, again, for taking on the role of point person.  If there is anything I can do to help with additional information, please feel free to contact me at my office (605-224-1721) on my cell phone (605-280-5714) or via email at [email protected]

Jennifer Stalley

Executive Secretary

South Dakota Board of Examiners for Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists

BCE Proposed Practice Act Revisions - Draft 1 5.8.19.pdf

BCE Proposed Practice Act Revisions Section by Section Summary - Draft 1 5.8.19.pdf