Current New Jersey Legislation and Outreach Efforts 
NJPA is committed to strengthening our political outreach and advocating for the interests of NJ psychologists and mental health issues that are important to the public. NJPA is instrumental in maintaining standards of psychology practice in NJ, protecting patients’ rights, and supporting public policy. We monitor state rules and laws that regulate the profession, and maintain a liaison with the NJ Board of Psychological Examiners to stay informed about any changes that may affect our members. As an affiliate of APA, NJPA is involved in federal advocacy initiatives and regularly lobbies for federal issues that affect Psychology.

Life during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can be extremely stressful. This ongoing stress has translated into a new normal of frequently and openly discussing mental health issues, and a flood of New Jersey mental health legislation for review. Legislators are contacting NJPA to discuss existing and potential legislation related to mental health. NJPA members are contacting NJPA Central Office, leadership, and our NJPA Director of Professional Affairs about their guild issues related to COVID-19. NJPA is proposing our own legislation related to access to care. The American Psychological Association is reaching out to collaborate on important initiatives. Below you will find out about some of our current advocacy initiatives.

Licensure Act
On December 14, 2020, NJ Governor Murphy has signed into law bill S2582/A543  that amends the licensure requirements for psychologists in the State. Although advocacy for students, permit holders and ECPs, was one of my reasons to becoming more active in NJPA, this took a significant amount of teamwork. Review the NJPA historical perspective.

Permanent Expansion of Telehealth
NJPA 2020 President, Dr. Lucy Sant'Anna Takagi, testified at the Senate Health Committee Telehealth Meeting. The Committee heard testimony from members of the public concerning the provision of services using telemedicine and telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, including how those services are covered under health benefit plans, and the ways in which state law concerning the provision of services using telemedicine and telehealth may be revised or restructured on a permanent basis. (Listen to Dr. Lucy Sant/Anna Takagi starting at recording time 1:38:00)  Chairman Vitale and the committee members are currently reviewing all the comments that have been submitted and plan to have a follow-up hearing to discuss their findings and next steps.

PsyPact in New Jersey S2506/A4205
In July 2020, the NJPA Executive Board approved to support the bill, and on September 18, 2020 voted to actively support this bill. This position requires the full resources of NJPA behind a bill, including financial support, grassroots activation, NJPA written communication, and preparing testimony to present at legislative hearings. NJPA’s government affairs agent shall actively lobby sponsor(s), committees, legislature, and the governor’s office. On January 14, 2020 bill 2506 passed the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee by a vote of 9-0.

Maiden Names A2308/S3145
We are pleased to report that our NJPA advocacy work is paying off and we are moving our Bill A2308, that addresses legal names required on applications for professional and occupational licensure, through the legislative process. In October, our bill was up in the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee. The bill passed passed the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee by votes of 8-0 Click here to listen to NJPA President-Elect, Dr. Daniel Lee, testify in Trenton  (The committee begins talking about the bill 3:53 minutes in the recording.  Dr. Lee's testimony and the bill vote starts 5:09 - 8:54 minutes into the recording.)
On January 20, 2021, S 3145 passed the Senate Commerce Committee by a vote of 5-0. 

Summary of the NJPA 202 Q4 Advocacy Efforts
NJPA Q4 2020 Advocacy Report