The Texas Sunset Commission staff is recommending in its report on the reauthorization of the Department of State Health Services that the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as the Professional Counselors and Social Worker licensing boards be reconstituted as advisory committees at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). Transferring the existing authority of our board for licensing, enforcement action, and rulemaking to TDLR would significantly reduce the voice of Texas LMFTs on the regulation process.
TAMFT is asking members to submit brief comments between now and the public hearing on June 24 and 25. While the initial submitting period ended June 6th, the Sunset Commission staff will compile those comments and provide them to the Sunset Commission at the time of hearing. Also, comments can be submitted verbally and in writing at the public hearing and those will also be compiled and shared with the Sunset Commission. Finally, there will be an additional open comment period that usually lasts for two weeks after the Sunset Commission hearing. The deadline for submission of comments will be but has not been set by the Sunset Commission Chair, Senator Jane Nelson.
Please take a moment before June 24th to send a comment in opposition to Recommendation 3.2 to transfer the Texas State Board of Examiners to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and reconstitute this independent board as an advisory committee. Submit comments to: www.sunset.texas.gov/input-form. **Select "Department of State Health Services (DSHS)" on the Public Input Form; it is the 11th agency listed.**
- Recommendation 3.2 places the public at risk. The regulatory oversight provided by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists which includes licensed marriage and family therapists as well as public members ensures that all LMFTs are well trained and adhere to high professional standards. The impact of LMFTs on the health and safety of the clients they serve mandates the oversight of an independent regulatory board that includes experienced licensed professionals.
- Unlike the other professions recommended for transfer to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation in Recommendation 3.2, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Professional Counselors, and Social Workers must hold advanced graduate degrees and are considered Health Professions under Texas law. None of the occupations currently licensed by TDLR are required to hold even a bachelor's degree.
Final action on these recommendations will require legislative action but TAMFT is hoping to build significant opposition to this recommendation now. We will continue to keep you updated throughout this process.
To access the Sunset Advisory Commission Staff Report on DSHS and process details go to: www.sunset.texas.gov/reviews-and-reports/agencies/department-state-health-services-dshs.
If you have any questions or concerns, please send them to me, Peter Bradley firstname.lastname@example.org or Chuck West, TAMFT Legislative Chair, email@example.com.
Peter D. Bradley, Ph.D.