Governor signs Rep. Harris behavioral health credentials bill into law

Behavioral health workers in Washington received some good news, after the governor signed into a law a bill from Rep. Paul Harris last week.

House Bill 1063 allows behavioral health care workers unable to complete their required educational hours during a state of emergency, to renew their credentials

“Although there have been some bright spots, this pandemic continues to be a challenge and it has affected everyone one of us,” said Harris, R-Vancouver. “I recognize that so many people are still hurting. While this bill is geared toward a specific group of workers, it is a step in the right direction, and it will help many of our behavioral health care workers.”

The bill authorizes the Secretary of Health to grant a waiver for additional credential renewals due to barriers created from governor-declared emergencies. The legislation also allows more time for individuals looking to complete their licensure hours during a state declared emergency.

The legislation applies to substance use disorder professional trainees’ certifications and associate licenses for social workers, mental health counselors, and marriage and family therapists.

“Coming into this session, my goal was to create real solutions for all Washingtonians,” said Harris. “We need to help people negatively affected by this and other emergencies, instead of creating more roadblocks. This legislation does that.”

Because the bill contains an emergency clause, it takes effect immediately.

The 2021 legislative session is scheduled to end Sunday, April 25.


Washington State House Republican Communications