House passes Rep. Harris bill to help behavioral health care workers

The Washington State House of Representatives approved a bill Friday that would help behavioral health care workers renew their credentials during a state of emergency.

House Bill 1063, sponsored by Rep. Paul Harris, would authorize the Secretary of Health to grant a waiver for additional credential renewals due to barriers created from governor-declared emergencies. The legislation would also give more time to individuals looking to complete their licensure hours during times of a pandemic or state emergency.

“I’m very pleased this legislation has moved swiftly through the process to this point, and I hope to see it passed by the Senate just as quickly,” said Harris, R-Vancouver. “It would provide real assistance to behavioral health care workers, so they can qualify to help others who need this important care.”

The bill, which was unanimously passed by the Health Care and Wellness Committee just a week ago, would apply to substance use disorder professional trainees’ certifications and associate licenses for social workers, mental health counselors, and marriage and family therapists.

“This is a simple bill, but it provides real relief to the individuals who need it,” said Harris. “Washingtonians want answers, which is why my fellow Republicans, and I, are working to bring real solutions and real recovery. This piece of legislation is a small step in the right direction.”

Because the bill contains an emergency clause, it would take effect immediately if passed. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

The 2021 legislative session began Jan. 11 and is schedule to last 105 consecutive days.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov