NJ Governor Proposes State Board for Creative Arts Therapies
Submitted by Paula Unsal, Chair NJSTF
On January 31, 2019, at the “eleventh” hour, NJ Governor Phil Murphy sent the Drama/Dance Movement Therapist (D/DMT) licensing bill A1220 back to the General Assembly with a conditional veto. The veto recommended establishing a new State Board of Creative Arts Therapies which would oversee all arts therapy licenses in New Jersey, including presumably a music therapist (MT) license.
Both D/DMT and MT licensing bills got off to a quick start in the 2018-2019 session and passed General Assembly committee and house in the early months of 2018. D/DMT continued a steady move through the Senate culminating in a Senate vote on December 17, 2018 which put their bill on the Governor’s desk.
In an unexpected turn of events, the Music Therapist licensing bills A2183/S1687 were put on hold in the Senate Commerce Committee and have not progressed on the Senate side. As explanation, the New Jersey State Task Force (NJSTF) was informed that discussions were being held between the Attorney General’s office and the Administration regarding “the many arts therapy bills”.
Also unforeseen via the veto would be a change in boards for Art Therapists (AT), whose license was signed into law on January 12, 2016 by then Governor Chris Christie. The conditional veto specifies eliminating the AT Advisory Committee under the State Board of Marriage and Family Examiners and bringing ATs under the new proposed State Board of Creative Arts Therapies as well. One more license currently in legislation might fall under the proposed state board, the Recreational Therapists. Their licensing bills A1604/S2734 are together in the Senate Commerce Committee as of January 31, 2019.
NJSTF is open to discussions that will allow music therapist licensing to move forward and Governor Murphy acknowledges the need for licensing. Certainly, the proposal to establish a state board just for creative arts therapies is a strong statement of support and NJSTF remains positive!!