HB 232- Moving Closer to Title Protection in Ohio

21 Oct

House Bill 232—legislation that provides Ohio social workers with title protection and other protections for their clients and practice —received its third hearing before the House Health and Aging Committee on Wednesday, October 16th. For nearly thirty years, the civil service exemption has allowed anyone working in Ohio government to be called a social worker without requirement of professional training or a license. NASW Ohio Chapter’s Membership Associate, Dorothy Martindale, presented proponent testimony Wednesday calling for the long-overdue removal of this exemption to protect social work jobs and vulnerable client populations. Dr. Victoria Kress of the Ohio Counseling Association (OCA) also provided testimony in support of the legislation. Legislators’ questions primarily surrounded the removal of a 60-day limit for retiring Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists (CSWMFT) Board members to continue serving until a replacement is named. While this removal is primarily directed at ensuring each committee retains a quorum during a board member’s transition, Rep. Hood expressed concern that this provision could potentially lead to a lifetime appointment. Rep. Sears, the bill sponsor, noted she would support a full discussion of the issue in the Senate. The bill was voted out of committee unanimously and is expected to come up for a floor vote at the next scheduled full House session on October 30th. Contact the Health and Aging committee members to thank them for their support, then contact your district representative and tell him/her to support HB 232 to remove the civil service exemption and give social workers the full title protection they need.

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