South Dakota Eyes Universal Licensure South Dakota is one of only two states (Colorado is the other) that have no licensure law for speech-language pathologists—but not for lack of trying by the state association. For the past two years, the South Dakota Speech-Language-Hearing Association (SDSLHA) has focused on passing legislation to achieve licensure for SLPs. ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   March 01, 2012
South Dakota Eyes Universal Licensure
Author Notes
  • Janet Deppe, MS, CCC-SLP, state advocacy director, can be reached at jdeppe@asha.org.
    Janet Deppe, MS, CCC-SLP, state advocacy director, can be reached at jdeppe@asha.org.×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   March 01, 2012
South Dakota Eyes Universal Licensure
The ASHA Leader, March 2012, Vol. 17, 21. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.17032012.21
The ASHA Leader, March 2012, Vol. 17, 21. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.17032012.21
South Dakota is one of only two states (Colorado is the other) that have no licensure law for speech-language pathologists—but not for lack of trying by the state association.
For the past two years, the South Dakota Speech-Language-Hearing Association (SDSLHA) has focused on passing legislation to achieve licensure for SLPs. During the first year, SDSLHA formed a licensure committee and held town hall meetings to educate decision-makers about licensure benefits.
SDSLHA identified state legislative contacts, helped draft a bill with universal licensing provisions that would require a state license in any practice setting, and sponsored the first-ever “SLP Day at the Capitol” in Pierre to lobby for its passage. The bill sailed through the House with little to no opposition—but hit a brick wall in the Senate.
After special education directors came forward to oppose the bill, the Senate sponsors withdrew their support. The special education directors raised concerns about the length of the bill, the grandfathering provisions for practicing SLPs, and the time one could work in the state without a license (typically up to five days for training purposes). Members of the SDSLHA licensure committee worked together to trim the bill to 14 pages, spoke individually with special education directors about their concerns, and amended the grandfather provisions in the bill.
“We learned a tremendous amount during the 2011 attempt at gaining licensure, and were not deterred,” said Becky Cermak, chair of the licensing committee. “We knew that the people of South Dakota deserved to have qualified licensed practitioners providing services.”
Although disappointed in 2011, committee members vowed not to give up in 2012. More members joined the advocacy effort and prepared for the new legislative session. Licensing committee members met with legislators in their home districts to elicit their support and held meetings with superintendents, special education directors, and staff of the South Dakota State Department of Education. The licensing committee also reviewed the language of the bill with the cabinet secretary and staff at the South Dakota Department of Health.
Once again, SDSLHA members descended on Pierre for the second annual “SLP Day at the Capitol.” Held the day the bill was introduced, the event gave members the opportunity to speak with legislators shortly before they would hear the bill. Additional provisions were added for speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs) and more sponsors agreed to sign on.
This year’s bill was introduced in the Senate and passed with flying colors. The bill has been sent to the House for consideration. Members are hoping to have the bill heard early in the legislative short session, which runs through March 19.
“Our success so far is a result of the work of last year’s licensure committee, support from ASHA and SDSLHA, grass-roots lobbying efforts from SLPs across the state, support from special education directors and SLPA training program administrators, and excellent leadership from our legislative sponsors,” Jennifer Schultz, 2012 licensing committee co-chair, said. “It has been exciting to see all of the stakeholders unite to help get us closer to making SLP licensure in South Dakota a reality.”
This new column highlights issues, activities, challenges, and successes of ASHA-recognized state associations. To submit an article idea, contact Michelle Mannebach at mmannebach@asha.org.
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March 2012
Volume 17, Issue 3