March 12, 2020 


While exciting developments in art therapy licensing legislation have continued to occur, uncertainties around COVID-19 have begun to impact legislative schedules as the public health crisis continues to unfold. Here is a quick update:

  • The sunrise review proposal was approved in Nebraska
  • A new licensure bill was introduced in Louisiana
  • We are monitoring a unique situation regarding the licensure bill in Virginia which was presented to the Governor

As state legislators across the country shift their focus to implementing responses to the coronavirus pandemic, legislative schedules and priorities are likely to adjust. Federally, House and Senate offices have decided on a case by case basis to cancel tours and meet with constituents online. We anticipate that many state capitols will be taking similar precautions.

Below are recent legislative accomplishments.


Progress on the Virginia licensure bill


Due to technicalities in the Virginia’s legislative process and the dynamic situation related to the coronavirus, we are closely monitoring the status of SB 713.  

According to Virginia’s Constitution, “During a regular or special session, the Governor shall have seven days in which to act on the bill after it is presented to him,” and the Governor does not act on the bill in that time, “it shall become law without his signature.” However, because our bill was officially presented to Governor Northam on March 4th, less than seven days before the scheduled adjournment date of March 8th, the original Governor’s Action Deadline was set as April 6th — following the thirty-day timeline for bills presented after the session.

The General Assembly voted to extend the session in order to address the coronavirus and other issues, moving the Governor’s Action Deadline was moved to March 11, 2020 — following the seven-day timeline.

The AATA and the Virginia Art Therapy Association are eagerly awaiting confirmation and will keep you posted!


Virginia Art Therapy Association Members in the audience during the Virginia Senate Committee on Education Health Professions Subcommittee meeting on January 24, 2020.


The sunrise review proposal in Nebraska was voted to the next step  


The Credentialing Review Committee voted unanimously to move the art therapy sunrise review application forward!  After final on March 3, 2020, the Committee issued a Report of Recommendations and Findings. The State Board of Health Credentialing Review Committee is scheduled to review the recommendations on March 16th.

The Committee based their evaluation of Nebraska Art Therapy Licensure Coalition’s proposal based on the following four criteria:

  • Unregulated practice can clearly harm or endanger the health, safety, or welfare of the public.
  • Regulation of the profession does not impose significant new economic hardship on the public, significantly diminish the supply of qualified practitioners, or otherwise create barriers to service that are not consistent with the public welfare and interest.
  • The public needs assurance from the state of initial and continuing professional ability.
  • The public cannot be protected by a more effective alternative.

The Committee voted unanimously that the proposal satisfies each of the four criterion and to recommend approval.

One Committee member commented that “the applicants provided good examples of harm that has occurred as a result of poor quality care provided by unqualified providers of art therapy services.” Another noted, “this information shows that there is potential for real harm from unqualified providers of this kind of care.


New art therapy licensure bill in Louisiana


HB 505 – Establishes the licensed profession of art therapist was introduced by Representative Stuart Bishop (R-43) on February 28, 2020. The legislation was referred to the Committee on Health and Welfare, which has scheduled a public hearing on March 19, 2020.


Active Art Therapy Legislation


Thank you to the many volunteers across the country working hard to advance the profession of art therapy!