Since our last update, the Governor released his May Revision of the State Budget. California is still in good economic shape, and we have a large budget surplus. Unfortunately, the Governor did not target budget augmentations to the communities in the most need. We will be working to ensure that the benefits of the surplus will benefit SSI/SSP recipients, CalWORKs recipients and others on public programs.
We are continuing to work on our budget proposal to increase capacity at MSW social work programs. The Senate and Assembly will release their own budget proposals soon, so we will work with both houses to ensure our priorities are reflected in their budget blueprints.
On the legislative side, the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees passed out bills that had been held on their “suspense” calendar. The good news is the majority of bills we are supporting survived this difficult step in the legislative process. This includes all our lobby days bills which will be heard on the Floor of the Assembly soon. Here is the status of the bills we reported on a recent newsletter:
2022 Lobby Day Bills
- AB 1816 (Bryan) – Provides grants for innovative or evidence-based housing, housing-based services, and employment interventions to allow people with recent histories of incarceration to exit homelessness and remain stably housed. Status: Passed Assembly Appropriations committee, 12-4. On the Assembly Floor.
- AB 1900 (Arambula) – Helps low-income older adults and people with disabilities by raising the amount people can retain for basic needs from $600 to 138% of the poverty level in Medi-Cal. Status: Passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee, 15-0. On the Assembly Floor.
- AB 2222 ( Reyes) – Provides up to $20,000 annually to social work students who commit to working for at least two years at a California based nonprofit upon completion of their graduate school program. The program prioritizes students with lived experiences as former foster and homeless youth to pursue licensure as an LCSW. Status: Passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee, 16-0. On the Assembly Floor.
In addition to our lobby day bills, NASW-CA takes a position of support or oppose on over 150 bills each year. Here is a summary of select bills with a direct impact on social work:
- AB 1758 (Aguiar-Curry) Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) sponsored legislation to allow remote supervision in all work settings. Status: In the State Business and Professions Committee. This is an urgency measure which will go into effect immediately once it is signed by the Governor. The current remote supervision waiver has been extended until June 30, 2022.
- AB 1860 (Ward) – Would exempt social work graduate student interns who are completing their supervised practicum hours in a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) setting, from needing to register with a SUD counselor certifying organization. Status: Passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, 16-0. On the Assembly Floor.
- AB 2581 (Salas) – Would require a health care service plan that provides coverage for mental health and substance use disorders and credentials health care providers of those services, to assess and verify the qualifications of a health care provider within 60 days after receiving a completed provider credentialing application. Status: Passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, 16-0. On the Assembly Floor.
- AB 2590 (Arambula) – Creates a social work mentoring program patterned after a NASW- CA initiative. Status: Status: Failed in Assembly Appropriations.
- AB 2666 (Salas) – This bill, subject to an appropriation, would establish and administer a grant program to allocate funding in the form of stipends, to students in behavioral health fields of study and practice, who are participating in internships or completing licensure hours, through unpaid positions, at federally qualified health centers. Status: On the Assembly Floor.
- SB 964 (Wiener) – Creates a stipend program for MSW students with a focus on public behavioral health. The bill also looks to develop more accelerated social work programs to get more social workers into the field quickly. Status: Passed out of Senate Appropriations 6-0. On the Senate Floor. This will also be amended to include the entire mega behavioral health budget proposal and we are working on amendments to improve this proposal.
- SB 1002 (Portantino) – Under Worker’s Compensation, this bill enables employees to seek mental health care services from a LCSW without physician referral and authorizes medical provider networks to add LCSWs as providers. Status: Passed of the Senate Floor, 36-0. In Assembly Insurance Committee.
- SB 1229 (McGuire) – Establishes a program to provide 10,000 grants of up to $25,000 each for students pursuing MSWs, MFTs, MA in Psychology, MA in School Counseling, or MA in School Psychology with the goal to increase the number of behavioral health professionals serving children and youth at California public schools and in community-based organizations. Status: Passed out of Senate Appropriations Committee, 7-0. On the Senate Floor.