The Idaho Counseling Association is dedicated to social justice in advocating for the profession through lobbying and staying on top of political issues that challenge the counseling profession here in Idaho.
A third of the yearly budget goes into providing resources and funding these efforts.
Public Policy & Legislation Committee Chair
ICA's Public Policy and Legislation Committee meets once a month on the first Friday of the month at 12pm MST.
This meeting is open to any member who would like to attend and see what is coming up for us this year.
To find the zoom link, members must log into the site and go to the events page.
Idaho is working towards submitting legislation to join the counseling compact. We have found two sponsors for this bill and will be submitting it in the 2024 Legislative session. To learn more about the counseling compact, please visit: https://counselingcompact.org
Counseling Compact FAQ
How is the counseling compact constitutional?
Idaho is currently a member of 5 occupational licensure compacts. Interstate compacts are authorized by the Contracts Clause in the US Constitution.
How do states maintain sovereignty?
States have full authority over their own licensing laws and how they license counselors. By joining the compact, states agree to accept counselors who are licensed in other compact states and have received a privilege to practice in their state under the compact. The Counseling compact has no impact on a state’s scope of practice. As with any existing licensure compacts, the Counseling Compact leaves state specific licensure requirements in place. States have full authority over their own licensing laws and will continue to determine licensing requirements and scope of practice for themselves.
Will school counselors be able to apply for a privilege to practice?
Technically, school counselors who hold LCPCs and LCPs may apply for a privilege to practice in Idaho. This is due to the passage of HB654 (2022) which added LCPCs and LCPs to the legal definition of school counselors. However, requirements set by the State Board of Education must be met, including obtaining a pupil service staff certificate. Additionally, just because a school counselor is an LCPC or LCP does not mean they can practice to the full scope of their license. If practicing as a school counselor, they can only practice to the scope of a school counselor. School counselors cannot diagnose or provide a treatment plan even if their license allows- this is outside the scope of practice of a school counselor. It would be unethical for a school counselor to diagnose or create a treatment plan. The role of the school counselor is to listen and educate a student on ways they can cope and build skills to help themselves.
Explain LCPC/ LCP difference and why only LCPC’s will be able to apply?
Those who have completed the standard licensure process are Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs), and those who continued their education and further developed their clinical skills are Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPCs). LPCs often require supervision by more experienced counselors (LCPCs).
The LCPC is considered the highest tier of counseling licensure, and depending on the state, the license requires 2000-3000 additional supervised hours of clinical practice. Additionally, individuals are required to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). The Counseling Compact requires that interstate applicants hold a current license in which they can "independently diagnose, assess, and treat clients." In Idaho, LCPCs are able to provide these clinical services independently.
What is the compact commission?
The commission is a government agency established by the compact. The commission will be comprised of one delegate from each member state. The commission writes rules and bylaws to administer and implement the compact. As stated in section 9 of the compact, commissioners will be a designee from each participating state’s licensing authority.
We have had a very busy legislative session this year. Our goals for this session included blocking any universal licensure legislation, blocking any adverse school counseling legislation, strengthening our relationships with legislators, advertising the upcoming Counseling Compact legislation, and monitoring and blocking any adverse legislation leveled at the counseling profession in Idaho. We are proud that we achieved almost all of these goals.
The most significant effort this session was our fight against HB 63. This bill, if passed, would have contradicted the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics by allowing counselors to refer a client to another provider if they have a values conflict treating the client. HB 63 was passed in the Idaho House of Representatives, but when it moved to the Senate, we were able to defeat this bill in committee. We heard from legislators that counselors across the state made their voices heard through personal calls, emails, and testifying in committees. We want to thank all of you who worked so hard on defeating HB 63.
Although this bill was voted down, we saw a similar effort this session in HB 308, the Medical Ethics Defense Act. This bill was introduced late in the session and included provisions for all healthcare providers in Idaho to refuse to provide services to clients based on personal value conflicts. We joined with other healthcare professional associations in our opposition, and this bill was defeated in committee. However, bills like HB 63 and HB 308 are likely to be reintroduced in upcoming years. We hope to be ready again to advocate against these legislative efforts.
Our other goal of blocking any adverse school counseling legislation was also successful. Members from the Idaho School Counseling Association were invited to present on the role of School Counselors in schools in front of the House Education Committee and The Senate Education Committee. ISCA President Aimee Hurst and ISCA members Jordan Chesler and Baylie Bunn presented before both committees. This effort was impactful and contributed to our relationship with legislators in both the House and Senate. In this session, no adverse school counseling legislation was introduced.
A disappointing outcome of this session was the likely passage of HB 61, the Telehealth Access Act. This bill allows for a process known as universal licensure. The bill will enable professionals licensed in another state, with a significantly similar counseling license, to be granted the ability to provide mental health treatment services in Idaho. Idaho Counselors are not granted the same right to interstate practice. Universal licensing gives a leg up to out-of-state residents over hardworking Idaho professionals.
The likely passage of HB 61 is disappointing because the Counseling Compact is the better option for interstate practice. ICA will introduce the Counseling Compact legislation to join the 20+ states across the US that have passed the Counseling Compact in the 2024 legislative session. The Counseling Compact creates a shared interstate licensure data system, allowing for near-instant verification of licensure status and disciplinary information. Compacts have been the gold standard of professional interstate practice in Idaho because they allow for mutual interstate practice and contain proven data tracking systems to register applicants and safeguard the public.
However, a benefit from the testimony on HB 61 was that legislators voiced strong favor for compacts. We anticipate a successful effort to pass the Counseling Compact next year. We hope that the compact becomes the preferred choice for interstate practice in our state.
For more information about the Counseling Compact, please visit: https://counselingcompact.org/
If you would like to be included in more of our legislative efforts, please consider joining our Legislative Contact List.
The purpose of this list is to allow the PP&L Committee to find counselors who live in the same district as the legislators we are working with on important issues. This Legislative Contact List will include counselors in Idaho’s 35 legislative districts. The list will consist of multiple counselors per district so we can balance our advocacy work.
To be included on the Legislative Contact List, you must:
If you are willing to be listed, please visit the following link:
Thank you to everyone who joined our efforts this session.
ICA Public Policy and Legislative Committee
Click HERE for a link to the Idaho State Legislature.Who is my Legislator?
Helpful Documents to Utilize in Successful Legislator Meetings:
National Talking Points and Handouts
Each year during the Idaho Legislative Session, ICA hosts a luncheon for its members, legislators, committee staff, and other agency officials in an effort to discuss current issues important to the counseling profession.
Purpose & History of the Legislative Luncheon
The Public Policy & Legislation Luncheon emerged from a planning idea during ICA's Leadership Development Institute Training in June, 2013. The mission of the event is to help Legislators learn about the many ways Counselors contribute to the well-being of Idaho's communities and to establish relationships that can be used when seeking support for counselor initiatives, locally and nationally.
The 2024 Legislative Luncheon is in the planning stages currently.
If you cannot attend each year, you can support the event by encouraging others to attend or by making a donation. We cannot do this alone and hope to have as many counselors across all the specialties and ICA Divisions.
We ask you to consider joining the ICA Public Policy & Legislative committee as we continue to advocate for this great profession!