July 5, 2018 | By Molly Kometiani, MA, ATR-BC, LPCC, BATA President

On June 6th, HB 557 passed with overwhelming support from the Ohio House Health Committee!  The legislature is now in summer recess, but we are looking forward to the House vote in the Fall Session.  This process continues to be a group effort, and we want to take the time to thank all who are involved.  First, BATA wishes to express utmost gratitude to Representative Marlene Anielski for being the primary bill sponsor for Ohio HB 557 Art Therapy Licensure and Regulation Bill.  Under Rep. Anielski’s leadership, BATA is excited about continuing to advocate for art therapy licensure to expand access to art therapy services to all Ohioans.

Representative Marlene Anielski with art therapists and art therapy supporters following a House Health Committee hearing for HB 557, Ohio art therapy licensure bill, on April 11, 2018.

BATA is also grateful to the bill co-sponsors Representatives Kirk Schuring, Bill Reineke, Andrew Brenner, Nickie Antonio, Brigid Kelly, John Barnes, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Bill Patmon, and Martin Sweeney.  Special thanks to the members of the Ohio House Health Committee that voted yes: Representatives Theresa Gavarone, Nickie Antoni, Niraj Antani, John Barnes, Mike Duffey, Jay Edwards, Timothy Ginter, Bernadine Kennedy Kent, Sarah LaTourette, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Darrell Kick, Emilia Strong Sykes, and Thomas West.

Our success in the House Health Committee is the result of collaborative effort:

  • Anielski’s influential and educational proponent testimony on March 21st. To read her press release, please visit:


  • Powerful, informative, and engaging proponent testimony for the Health Committee during two hearings from:
    • Ashley Skelly, LPCC, ATR; Maria Jukic, JD, Executive Director of the Arts & Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic; and BATA President Molly K. Kometani, MA, ATR-BC, LPCC;
    • Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC, ACTP, on behalf of the AATA; Kristen Herrmann as a client; Robert Tavani, ATR; and Gail Rule-Hoffman, M.Ed., ATR-BC, LPC-S, LICDC-S representing the Ursuline Counseling and Art Therapy program. For more information on the testimonies, visit the Ohio House Health Committee’s website: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/health
  • Extraordinary team effort from supportive board members: Ashley Rogols, MA, ATR, LPCC-S, First Vice President; Tamara Shella, MA, ATR-BC, Second Vice President; Molly O’Neill Haaga, PhD, ATR, LPC, Secretary; Audrey Hook, MA, ATR-BC, Treasurer; Yvette Nosal, ATR-BC, LPCC-S, CDCA, Bylaws Chair; Melissa Newlin, MA, ATR, LPC, Membership Chair; Diane Fleisch-Hughes, MA, ATR, Publication Chair; Janeane Grisez, MA, ATR, LPC, LICDC-CS, GAMB, Clinical Chair; Mary Sender, MA, ATR, CRC, External Relations Chair.
  • The Legislative Committee, who helped navigate legislation and provide support through preparation for the various committee hearings. Thanks, Mickie McGraw; Marty Stitt; Gail Wetherell-Sack; Sharon Doering, and especially Don Cutcher. Also, special thanks to Gretchen Miller for rallying the art therapists in Ohio to contact their legislators and to Gail Rule-Hoffman for helping with the response to the opponent testimony submitted to the House Health Committee.
  • The BATA membership’s follow-through on legislative calls to action.
  • AATA’s assistance and support has been especially crucial to BATA. We are very grateful to Dean Sagar’s prompt and detailed advice throughout this process, and we acknowledge his help in advancing the bill!
  • BATA’s lobbyists, the Batchelder Company, for providing assistance every step of the way!

BATA will continue legislative advocacy efforts through BATA’s Call to Action: Art Therapy Postcard Outreach by contacting legislators with postcards that showcase art therapy images from Ohio. We continue to be grateful for Representative Anielski’s advocacy for art therapy licensure. BATA has been actively advocating and fighting for art therapy licensure since the 1980s, and approval from the Ohio House Health Committee on June 6th is the farthest we have advanced in our licensure pursuit in the past 30 years. #Advocate4BATA

For more information on HB 557: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-557