Laurie Gill
Cabinet Secretary

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Changes to License Laws

Board Legislation - 2020

The Board of Examiners for Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists is proposing updates and clarification to the statutes pertaining to counselors, counselors-mental health and marriage & family therapists during the 2020 Legislative Session.  The proposed changes to the professional counselors statutes are in Senate Bill 18 and the proposed changes to the marriage & family therapists statutes are in Senate Bill 19.

Based on the conversations with multiple stakeholders over the past year, these bills differ from the proposal considered by last year’s Legislature.  In Senate Bill 18 and Senate Bill 19, the Board is proposing NO changes to the qualifications for licensure as a professional counselor, professional counselor-mental health or marriage & family therapist; NO changes to the scope of practice for any of these license categories; and NO grandfathering of an LPC license to an LPC-MH license.  The current qualifications for licensure and the two-tiered license system for professional counselors remains in place under the proposal.

Senate Bill 18 and Senate Bill 19:

  • reorganize the current chapters pertaining to professional counseling, professional counseling-mental health, and marriage and family therapy to be user friendly for licensees and prospective licensees and clearly articulate the requirements for licensure and the expectations of licensees;
  • change the timeline for renewal of licensees to a biennial renewal to eliminate administrative burdens on licensees and third-party credentialing organizations;
  • clarify the requirements for licensure by endorsement for professional counselors, professional counselors-mental health, and marriage and family therapists licensed in another state;
  • provide a temporary license option for professional counselors, professional counselors-mental health, and marriage and family therapists licensed in another state who do not immediately meet the requirements for licensure by endorsement; and
  • provide an option to inactivate a license or reinstate an expired license, under certain circumstances.

Renewal

The proposed legislation changes the renewal timeline from an annual renewal to a biennial renewal to match the continuing education requirement timeline.  The change in the timeline of renewal requires the Board to readjust the annual renewal fee to a biennial fee for continuity of Board operations.  Rulemaking authority to increase the fee cap authority for the Board is included in the legislation to allow for the collection of the current annual license fee biennially.

Allowing biennial renewal is beneficial to the licensee and third-party credentialing organizations because it reduces the paperwork required to maintain a license and syncs the renewal cycle to the required continuing education cycle.

Licensure by Endorsement Clarifications

The proposed legislation clarifies licensure by endorsement for professional counselors, professional counselors-mental health, and marriage and family therapists to ensure the time the applicant was under the jurisdiction of another state counts towards the years of licensure requirement.  Additionally, the proposed legislation creates a temporary license option for an applicant licensed in another state who has not met the examination requirements for a license by endorsement.

Inactive License Status/Reinstatement of Expired License

The proposed legislation clarifies the process a licensee can use to move a license to an inactive status for a period of time and keep the license without having to repeat the supervision requirements to reactivate the license.  The proposed legislation also provides a process to reinstate an expired license within a certain time period without having to repeat the supervision requirements of licensure.  These provisions allow more flexibility for a licensee who may need to inactivate a license for a period of time or who has allowed a license to expire but has a change in employment options at a later date.

Links to each bill are below so you can follow the action on each bill as they go through the hearing and floor process.

Senate Bill 18  Professional Counselors

Senate Bill 19  Marriage and Family Therapists

You can access a copy of the bills and section by section summaries of each bill here:

If you have any questions about the legislation, please contact the Board at 605.224.1721 or SDBCE@midwestsolutionssd.com

Thank you.