Government Relations Newsletter

Respectfully Submitted:
Maria Hricko Fay, LSW, LCAT, MT-BC
Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery


Help us Celebrate 10 years of the AMTA/CBMT State Recognition Operational Plan! Nationally there are over 43 active state task forces. There is anticipated recognition legislation in at least nine states in 2016. In MAR there are 6 active state task forces and interest in beginning a new task force in Delaware. There are active bills in PA and NJ. Make a resolution this year to assist your state task force in state recognition efforts and “Take 10 for Advocacy.” Commit to doing one or more of these Top 10 Ways to Advocate for Music Therapy and then let your state task force know!

1) Email your state legislators to introduce yourself and tell them about music therapy.
2) Follow your state legislators on social media.
3) Attend community events hosted by your state legislators.
4) Visit your state legislators’ district offices.
5) Participate in a state advocacy training.
6) Attend a Music Therapy Legislative Hill Day in your state.
7) Invite your state legislators to visit your workplace to see music therapy in action.
8) Respond to “Calls-to-Action” from your state task force.
9) Add professional partners and consumers to your Advocacy Team.
10) Stay connected to your profession by joining AMTA!

Federal Support from the Federal Department of Education –
AMTA has received updated support from the federal Department of Education regarding music therapy as a related service under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issued guidance to all state special education directors clarifying the Department’s previous communications recognizing music therapy as a related service. Supportive language is being prepared for posting on the AMTA website as a resource for members and families.

Click here to see the 2015 American Music Therapy Association
Government Relations Committee Report :


DE & SPED – Patricia J. Gonzalez, MMT, MT-BC has been working on gathering information about SPED to work with Representative Melanie George Smith, to develop a recommendation that music therapy be included in a new state model for delivering services and education to children with special needs.
There is interest in beginning a task force in DE. If you are interested in becoming involved please contact Maria Hricko Fay at
MDSTF (Chair – Niki Runge and Tatyana Martin)
Click here to see the task force update.
For more information contact: 

NJSTF (Chair – Paula Unsal)
NJ Assembly Bill A4353 – The Music Therapist Licensing Act was heard by the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee on December 10, 2015 and was successfully released by vote from the committee to the General Assembly. Congratulations New Jersey on a successful hearing! Click here to read and see more about the success from the hearing.

Assembly Bill A4353 language amendments to acknowledge social workers and requested language change regarding proposed Advisory Committee compensation were considered in the Regulated Professions Committee vote. In addition a speech and language representative spoke at the hearing to register their intention to discuss the bill language. The bill sponsor will meet with S&L to determine their concerns.
The New Jersey Legislative 2015-2016 session ended on January 11, 2016 without further action on A4353. This bill was reintroduced to the Assembly on January 12, 2016 and is now known as Assembly Bill A783 in the 2016-2017 session. The bill retains all of its sponsors except for Assemblyman Gilbert Wilson who did not run for re-election in 2015. It is expected to be re-assigned to the Regulated Professions Committee when the Assembly committees are announced for the new session.
Senate Bill 2971 is expected to be re-introduced as well in the 2016-2017 session. Look for updates from the task force and on the MAR Website for updates.

In order to educate legislators and the general public about music therapy in NJ, the NJSTF has issued an ongoing Call to Action to NJ Music Therapists and Music Therapy Students to submit photos and videos that may be shared on social media and in a legislative presentation. Take 10 for Music Therapy Advocacy!
Other NJ creative arts news: The Art Therapist Licensing Act successfully passed in both houses and was formally approved on January 11, 2016. It is now New Jersey P.L. 2015, c.199. The Drama and Dance/Movement Therapists also had a licensing act introduced in the last session as Assembly Bill A4582. They hope to get this bill re-introduced in the current session.
For more information contact:


NYSTF (Chair – Donna Polen)
Click here for the NYSTF Update. Click here to stay informed regarding the Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT) law and regulations.
For more information contact:


PASTF (Co-Chairs – Nicole Hahna, and Melanie Walborn)
The PASTF held its third successful Hill Day this past October. Participants met with 55 legislators and staffers to request support for the proposed music therapy licensure bills (HB 1438 & SB 947). As a result of these meetings, they had several legislators co-sponsor this legislation/or provide verbal support.

DSCN2463 (1)

DSCN2472 (2) copy







Co-sponsor Senator Teplitz Visits with Licensure Committee Members

Directly after the PA Hill Day in October, task force members Nicole Hahna and Michelle Muth met personally with Nancy Thaler, the Deputy Secretary of the PA Office of Developmental Programs (ODP). The PASTF has been working with (ODP) on revisions to the Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support (P/FDS) Waiver to add music therapy into the waiver language. The task force has been working with the national team creating and reviewing draft language to submit.

The PASTF is taking advantage of the regional conference being held in Harrisburg and would like to storm the PA State Capital with music therapists and students to show support for HB 1438 and SB 947!

Two FREE CMTE advocacy events are being held at the conference:

PASTF will offer a free Advocacy Training ONLINE CMTE for PA MT’s to complete prior to Wednesday March 16th. Participants will then make critical meetings with LEGISLATORS on Wednesday March 16th. The task force is also pushing to have a joint hearing on this day.

Wednesday evening March 16, 2016, the task force will provide an Advocacy Training with Hill Day visits on Thursday morning. The Hill Day visits will most likely be with STAFF (not legislators) . This event also includes the student service project with students being involved in meetings and a drum circle in the Capitol.


Congratulations Melanie Walborn and Nicole Hahna for receiving the 2015 Change Maker Award at the National Conference in Kansas City, MO! This award is a testament to the incredible work they are doing in PA to increase access to music therapy services. Well done!!!

Changemaker Award 2015

If you are a resident of PA, stay connected to the task force through the monthly E-Newsletter by signing-up here. You can also “like” the PA Task Force on FB to receive updates on our advocacy work in PA.

For more information or questions contact:


VASTF (Chair- Briana Priester)
The task force continues to research the state regulations to see if any language needs to be updated, changed, or added.
The task force will be updating the state fact sheet. VA Music Therapists, PLEASE respond to the task force survey when it hits your inbox. This information is critical to give state legislators an accurate account of music therapy/music therapists in VA.
Task force member Tom Sweitzer continues to meet with Senator Jill Vogel who has expressed interest in supporting music therapy in VA.
For more information contact:

WVSTF (Chair – Amy Rodgers Smith)
WV recently has had some very productive meetings with legislators. There is the possibility of bill introduction this year! Be on the look-out for forthcoming news!
For more information please contact: