The Summer Government Relations Report Is In!


Respectfully Submitted:

Maria Hricko Fay, LSW, LCAT, MT-BC

Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery

Summer is usually a time to slow down in the lazy, hazy heat. While work related to government relations generally slows down a bit in the summer months, task forces are still very active gathering information, and preparing for upcoming sessions. Summertime also provides a wonderful opportunity for music therapists to connect with legislators when they are working in their home districts. This can be done by scheduling a visit with your legislator in your home district, visiting an event close to home that your legislator sponsored or by attending an event that you know your legislator will be attending. Increasingly there is more and more to do in the summer months as there is increased activity across the country and in the MAR Region.


New Government Relations Elect Position on the MAR Board – At the conference in Harrisburg the MAR membership voted to create two new positions on the MAR Board. One of these positions was the Government Relations Elect Position. A special election was held and Amy Rodgers Smith was elected. In her role, she will shadow the Government Relations Chair for the year and then move into that position in June 2017. Welcome Amy to the MAR Board!


Music Therapy License Created in Oklahoma – The American Music Therapy (AMTA) and the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) announced on April 26, 2016 that Governor Fallin of Oklahoma signed into law HB 2820. This legislation creates a music therapy license under the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision. Many thanks to the members of the Oklahoma State Task Force (Suzanne Heppel, Jennifer Voss, Amber Loomis, Heather Malcom, Rebecca Cantrell, Brandy Jenkins, Sophia Lee, and Hayoung Lim) for all their work, dedication, and advocacy for this legislation and their commitment since 2006 to the state recognition process. Many thanks as well to Anne Roberts, Director of Legislative Affairs at INTEGRIS Health, as well as the music therapists from the southwestern region for their support of HB 2820. Congratulations Oklahoma music therapists!

Music Therapy Title Protection is Created in Connecticut – The American Music Therapy (AMTA) and the Certificaton Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) announced on May 27, 2016 that Governor Malloy of Connecticut signed into law HB 5537. This legislation includes language stating that music therapy services can only be provided by those who hold the MT-BC credential. Many thanks to the members of the Connecticut Task Force (Emily Bevelaqua, Jennifer Sokira, Courtney Biddle, Natalie McClune, and Heather Wagner) for all their work, dedication, and advocacy for this legislation.


Delaware State Task Force

Delaware has a task force that is forming. The first meeting will be in July. The task force is still looking for task force members. If you are interested in becoming involved please contact Maria Hricko Fay at

Maryland State Task Force

Niki Runge and Tatyana Martin, Co-Chairs

Maryland Advocacy Event – There has been an increase in legislative interest in music therapy with several Maryland music therapists meeting with their legislators. In response to this increase in interest and the interest of Maryland music therapy students to participate in state recognition efforts, the state task force will host a FREE 3-Hour CMTE (with lunch). Details on how to sign up will follow shortly. Save the date and plan on attending!

EVENT: Next Step Advocacy for Music Therapists

DATE: Saturday, August 6, 2016


LOCATION: Annapolis, MD

Maryland State Task Force Facebook Page – The state task force has also increased their efforts in communicating with Maryland music therapists and students by creating a Maryland Music Therapy Facebook page. To follow government relations efforts in Maryland, “like” us at:

Task Force Personnel Changes – The task force would like to thank Anne Lipe for all her hard work and wish her all the best as she has stepped down from the task force. We would also like to welcome CJ Shiloh to the task force!

New Jersey State Task Force

Report submitted by Paula Unsal, Chair

New Jersey Senate Music Therapy Hill Day – plan to visit the state capitol to meet with NJ Senators to advocate for A793/S1601, The Music Therapist Licensing Act. If you are able to attend, contact the task force at so they can organize meetings. The NJSTF has not been able to schedule many meetings with NJ Senators to date and are hoping to reach a broader number of Senators to educate them about the need for the Music Therapist License and to gain support as the bill is nearing the Senate phase for hearings and votes. The format for this event will be similar to the Music Therapy Hill Day on June 11, 2015. If you were not able to participate in previous legislator meetings, the task force members will be there to guide you.  Unlike the previous Hill Day, CMTE credits will NOT be offered as there will not be a workshop offered. Details are as follows:

What: New Jersey Senate Music Therapy Hill Day

Where:  Trenton, New Jersey

When:  Monday, August 1, 2016

Time: 9am-2pm

Budget Hearing at Montclair University – The New Jersey legislature has had a very busy start to the 2016/17 session with budget hearings held all over the state and other legislation, including A783, the Music Therapist Licensing Act. In March, Brian Abrams and Paula Unsal of the New Jersey State Task Force (NJSTF) attended a public budget hearing held at Montclair State University and met with several legislators to seek support for A783. Read why we are seeking a music therapist license and see an overview from Montclair State University on The Music Therapist Licensing Act (A783/S1601) at

A783 Bill Update – In late May the NJSTF was able to negotiate amendment language with the NJ Speech Pathologists and Audiologists in order to alleviate their concerns over our bill, which they expressed at the Regulated Professions Hearing in February. The amended language does not reflect any changes in the intent and focus of our bill.

As required, this new language was presented to the General Assembly on June 16th, voted on and passed. The next step is for a vote on the entire bill by the General Assembly. Unfortunately, due to an excess of bills and business to be discussed, our sponsor was not able to get A783 included for a vote in the last two sessions of June.

We look forward to bringing A783 up for vote at the earliest opportunity and in the meantime NJSTF is continuing outreach to NJ Senators in order to prepare for Senate Committee hearings, gain sponsors and generally explain the need for a music therapist license.

NJSTF wants to especially thank all NJ Music Therapists, Music Therapy Students and friends, family and colleagues of the same who have reached out to their legislators in response to NJSTF Call to Actions. You do make a difference!!

Other Creative Arts News – NJ Drama and Dance/Movement Therapists saw their licensing bill A2477 pass in the General Assembly on June 27th. We congratulate them!

New York State Task Force

Report submitted by Donna Polen, Chair

NYSTF Coming to Your School – With the pre-approved CMTE having already been provided at NYU and SUNY New Paltz and Fredonia, the task force is making final preparations for the remaining two schools:

Nazareth College: Saturday, September 24

Molloy College: Friday, October 21

These workshops provide a morning session geared toward students and others pursuing licensure, providing step-by-step guidance for those who are beginning the licensure process, followed by a 5-hour pre-approved CMTE (including 3 hours of ethics for CBMT recertification); the course includes detailed information on the Mental Health Practitioners Practice Guidelines as well as new legislation and other considerations that may impact the practice of music therapy, now and in the future. If you are interested in attending either of these events and do not receive registration materials within a week or so in advance, please contact us directly and we will make sure to get the information to you.

Medicaid and other service provision and reimbursement concerns – The NYSTF continues to actively recruit team members for our Reimbursement Team. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us directly.

Mandatory Continuing Education Requirements for LCATs – Now required by law and specified in regulation, LCATs must now accrue 36 hours of continuing education (CE) during every 3-year registration period, effective January 1, 2017. These CE hours must be earned through state-approved providers. Procedures for becoming a state-approved provider are still in development.

Music therapy licensing – The task force, in collaboration with the national team and Diana Georgia, our legislative advocate, continues work on the creation of an authentic music therapy license in NYS. A number of recent developments (including the mandatory CE regulations, restrictive interpretations of supervision requirements, and differing perspectives on scope of practice issues with other professions licensed under the law) have further strengthened the need for a music therapy license. We are very excited about the language that we are developing and will be sharing it soon, following review and finalization by legal counsel and advocates in Albany.

Hey, New York!!! Did You Know??? Click here to keep informed regarding the Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT) law and regulations. This issue’s feature includes, Help of the Helpers.

Pennsylvania State Task Force

Nicole Hahna, and Melanie Walborn, Co-Chairs

Informational Hearing Update – On Tuesday, March 22, 2016 members of the PASTF, along with Judy Simpson from AMTA, and other allied health professionals and families of clients receiving music therapy, testified in support of HB1438, in front of the House of Representatives Professional Licensure Committee. Many thanks to everyone who reached out in support of this bill. Over 135 letters of support were emailed to Chairwoman Harhart’s office prior to the hearing. Rep. Harhart started during the hearing that they had never received so much correspondence regarding a licensure bill! Four groups spoke in opposition to the bill: Marriage and Family Therapists, Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists. The task force is reaching out to these groups to create a level of understanding and collaboration between our professions. In May the PASTF presented a formal response to the licensure committee.  Further plans over the summer and into the fall include meeting with bill sponsors to make HB1438 and SB947 language amendments so these bills move out of the licensure committee and onto the house floor for a vote.

School Tours – The PASTF will be doing “school tours” in the 9 universities in PA this upcoming fall. CMTE’s will be offered. These tours will be an opportunity for participants to stay updated, learn, and ask questions about the current licensure bill in PA. Plan on attending! More information and details to follow.


Stay Connected in PA – 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:

Virginia State Task Force

Briana Priester, Chair

VA Advocacy Blog – The Virginia state task force is currently developing a blog as a home base for sharing information, updates, and calls to action across the state. You can find it at

VA Music Therapy Survey – 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..

West Virginia State Task Force

Amy Rodgers Smith, Chair

Sunrise Review – The WVSTF worked hard this summer to complete a Sunrise Review for their state. Thank you to Amy Rodgers Smith and the national team (Dena Register, Judy Simpson, and Kimberly Sena Moore) for completing this rather arduous document!