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State Legislative Updates

Breaking news!

United States Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio) has agreed to co-sponsor Senate Bill 1830, or the Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2015. This bill calls for the reimbursement of counselors under Medicare.

Thanks to Chelsey Zoldan- OCA Secretary- and Victoria Kress - Ohio Counseling Association Past-President-  for their tireless advocacy efforts related to this legislation! 

This summer, OCA President Kara Kaelber, OCA President-Elect Martha Fleming,  and OCA Past- President Victoria Kress, met with our state senators during the American Counseling Association's Institute for Leadership Training in Washington D.C. to discuss co-sponsoring this important legislation. 

Senator Brown's co-sponsorship puts us one step closer to our goal of counselor's being recognized as Medicare providers! Please contact Senator Brown and thank him for his support! See: http://www.brown.senate.gov/

Moving forward we are asking that all OCA members immediately contact Senator Rob Portman and request his co-sponsorship of this important legislation. Attached here you will find a copy of a letter that was sent to Senator Portman on behalf of OCA. Please feel free  to edit  it and personalize it based on your ideas and experiences. See:http://www.portman.senate.gov/public/

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Please click here for the Mental Health Hold Bill Fact Sheet

Find out the latest changes and updates in rules, regulations, and licensure from the Ohio CSWMFT Board:
 
Ohio's most recent Legislative and Political Report & House and Senate Bills Update can be found at this link: 
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Four Steps to Influencing Your People in Congress         
About half of Americans contact their Senators or Representative. 
It’s easy to be part of the discussion, but these tips can help 
you maximize your effectiveness.         


1. Find out who represents you     
Go to http://capwiz.com/counseling and enter your zip code in the box 
under the heading “Elected Officials.” Click “Go,” and you’ll find the 
names of your two Senators and your Representative. (If your zip code is 
split between congressional districts, you may be asked for your zip+4, 
which you can identify by entering your address.) These are the people 
who represent you in Congress! Your Senators and Representative are almost 
always who you should contact about federal legislation. Other members of 
Congress (MoC's) have their hands full just keeping their own constituents 
happy.
         
2. Ask for something specific and measurable 
The basic rule with working with your legislators is “the squeaky wheel 
gets the grease” (as long as you’re squeaky in a nice, respectful way!). 
But a squeaky wheel is much more likely to get grease if it says 
“I need grease” than if it just says “I’m squeaky.” If you ask them to do 
something concrete and specific-like cosponsor a particular bill, or send 
a letter on your issue to a government agency-you'll be able to tell 
whether or not they've done it. Asking them to "support" your issue is like 
asking them to prefer puppy dogs to kittens; it doesn't have nearly as much     
impact as asking them to cosponsor a resolution establishing National Puppy 
Dog Week. You want your federal representatives to do something, not just 
write you a short, vaguely supportive letter or email back.
         

3. WRITE IN YOUR OWN WORDS!     
Organizations used to try to flood Capitol Hill with calls and emails, form 
letters, and pre-printed postcards, in the belief that MoC's would be so 
overwhelmed that they'd do what was necessary to make the deluge stop. 
However, something big has happened over in the recent past that has changed 
things: electronic communication. These days, the deluge never stops. 
Congressional offices receive in the neighborhood of 400 million emails a 
year, when 20 years ago they received none. Unfortunately, MoC's have the     
same number of staff-and the same number of hours in the day-to respond to 
all of these contacts as they've had since the 1970's. Congressional offices 
get so many constituent contacts (mostly emails, but also calls and letters) 
that they are forced to engage in information triage: the more effort the 
constituent put into the contact, the more it's listened to. Contacts that 
the constituent actually took the time to write themselves are the wheat; 
contacts where all the constituent did was click a button on a website, or 
printed their name on a pre-printed petition or postcard, are the chaff. 
Researchers at the Congressional Management Foundation have studied the 
effectiveness of various forms of constituent contact, and here's what they 
found: 
           
Quality counts. A lot! 
Taking an extra 30 seconds to say in your own words why you care about the 
issue dramatically improves your message's effectiveness. 
        

4. Contact them again if you don’t get a clear, concrete response     
If your MoC writes you back and they don't hear from you again, as far as they 
know you’re happy. If you want more-if you asked them to cosponsor a bill 
and they didn't say whether or not they would, or why-you need to ask. You 
deserve an answer, so feel free to politely and respectfully keep pestering 
them until you get one. You may not get the answer you want,ultimately, but 
at least make them give you one. There are tons of people clamoring for your 
MoC’s attention. In this race, if you care enough to contact her/him twice, 
you just jumped ahead of everyone who didn’t.
         

TWO BONUS RULES!:  
A. Keep emails and letters brief. As a point of reference, postal letters should 
be no more than one side of one page. They simply don't have time to read anything 
longer.     
B. Stick to one issue per letter/email/phone call. Otherwise, you'll probably 
wind up getting a form letter back on whichever issue the office already has a 
form letter prepared.   

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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