Important Legislative Updates

June 8, 2021

NYS Council members,

With just two days left in the regularly scheduled 2021 Legislative Session we have the following updates/requests for assistance:

1) It appears that the NYS Senate will vote on the Opioid Settlement bill sponsored by Senator Gustavo Rivera today.  As we noted yesterday, there are now ‘same as’ bills being prepped for a full house votes.  It looks like the Senate will go first.  Stand by for more on this.

2) There is still significant resistance from certain professional associations (Psychologists and NASW to name just two) as well as certain lawmakers in the Senate to the (Senate) bill that would extend the current exemption of our workforce by one year from having to comply with the all aspects of the ‘Licensing Laws’.  Take a look at what NASW put out on Friday, opposing the bills passage (BELOW).    FRANKLY?  This should outrage any social worker working in community mental health/community substance use disorder settings and I urge those of you who are members of NASW NYS to contact your professional association and instruct them to stand down.  In the meantime, we have work to do to ensure the bill passes in the Senate.

PLEASE get on the phone today and call your Senate representative, requesting that he or she get in touch with his boss or Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris, and Higher Ed Chair Toby Stavisky and tell them what will happen if the extension is not passed by the full Senate.   For those in the above listed leader districts, please call their Albany Office and weigh in as a constituent, urging the leader to support passage of the bill before the session concludes.

Access to mental health and substance use disorder/addiction prevention, treatment and recovery services is completely dependent on your ability to continued to employ qualified licensed professionals as well as unlicensed staff who are currently performing incredibly difficult tasks and activities as they work to assist New Yorkers with behavioral health conditions.  Care must not be disrupted – especially now.  We need a one year extender of the exemption to address the remaining issues that prevent our workforce from being able to comply with the Licensing Laws.  To this point, an exemption has been the primary method for addressing the discrepancy between what the law says and what we can actually do.  Another year is needed to iron out the remaining issues. 

Please see our Memo in Support for more ideas as to talking points you can use when contacting your lawmaker.


———- Forwarded message ———

From: NASW-NYS <>
Date: Fri, Jun 4, 2021 at 5:23 PM
To: <>

Advocate for social work in NYS!
*Please unblock images on your settings to view the full email* For almost 20 years, state agencies were granted licensing exemptions for social workers, psychologists, and other mental health professionals. In 2018, the legislature voted to end practice with a sunset period ending on June 24th, 2021. The exemption must end as legislated on June 24, 2021 to discontinue the bifurcated system in place that further disenfranchises marginalized groups, harms the most vulnerable New Yorkers, and devalues the standard of licensing set forth by NYSED for social workers. We need you to help us advocate to stop S6431!