Legislative Agenda

Social Work Professional Practice

  1. Pay Equity for Clinical Social Workers: Formerly bill HB 6268: Increases reimbursement rates for behavioral health providers over a five year period. Minimum increase per year would be 4%, resulting in a total increase 23.4%.
    • Current status: committee recommended measure be held for further study 5/13/2021. Will prioritize with RI Psych Association in 2022.
  2. Social Work Licensing Equity: Legislation exempting MSW graduates from the licensing board exam for the LCSW license.
  3. Health Care Coverage for Clients: Formerly bill SB. 05 SubA: Requires individual health insurers, large group health insurers and small employer health insurers to provide coverage for 10 categories of essential health benefits not currently required to be covered by state law.
    • Current status: Committee transferred to House Health & Human Services 2/02/2021. Will prioritize with healthcare coalition in 2022.

Economic and Racial Justice

  1. Reduce Food Insecurity: SB 824: Requires free lunches to be provided for all elementary and secondary students attending public schools.
    • Current status: Did not pass in 2/02/2021. Will prioritize with RI Food Bank.
  2. Increase Access to Housing: Specific bill pending.
  3. Community Emergency Services and Policing: Specific bill pending.

Children and Families

  1. Improve Access to School Social Workers:
    • Funding: Formerly HB 6029 Appropriates two million dollars ($2,000,000) for FY-2023 for school social workers.
      • Current status: Held for further study 3/23/21, will be refiled.
      • Staffing: Formerly SB.217 Requires all public schools in grades kindergarten through 12 to have at least one full-time licensed school social worker for every 400 students.
        • Held for further study 4/14/21, will be refiled.
  2. Improve Early Childhood Support and Services:
    • The Rhode Island Early Childhood Innovation Act: Formerly HB. 5062: Establishes the RI Early Childhood Innovation Act and authorizes the department of human services to fund programs for at-risk kindergarten children.
      • Held for further study 3/23/21, will be refiled.
    • RI Child Care is Essential Act: HB 5672/ SB 378 to make the increased rates for the Child Care Assistance Program permanent. Safe, healthy, and high-quality child care options are essential for working parents and for children.
      • SB 378 Senate passed 6/30/2021./ HB held for further study 4/8/21. Will prioritize for 2022.

For more information on the NASW-RI Legislative Agenda, please be in touch with Executive Director, Rebekah Gewirtz at rgewirtz.naswma@socialworkers.org.

RI Statehouse

Our Policy and Advocacy Committee has worked long and hard to put together our Legislative Agenda for 2022.