UOTA Capitol Hill Month Feb 2 – 26

Greetings from UOTA’s Government Affairs Committee!  We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

It’s legislative season, again!  The 2021 legislative session is likely to be unlike any other in Utah’s history.  Here’s what UOTA has planned regarding legislation, as well as UOTA’s virtual Capitol Hill Month from February 2 to February 26.

Like most states in the country, Utah faces serious crises related to the economy, pandemic management, healthcare in general, racial justice, and policing.   Limits had to be imposed to prevent legislators from sponsoring too many bills, and pandemic restrictions have altered how the legislative process will proceed.  Individuals and interest groups (like UOTA) are encouraged to comment through virtual meetings, although in-person attendance is still possible with some restrictions related to mask use, number of people permitted, etc..

Cortney, Aubri, Kim, Krisanne, Sarah, Patrice, and David are the seven UOTA member volunteers who comprise the Government Affairs Committee.  They are hard at work identifying bills that may impact occupational therapy practice and preparing strategies to support/oppose them.

This year is special in that Utah is among the first states the AOTA has chosen to introduce a bill that, if signed into law, would form an interstate occupational therapy licensure compact with other states.  Sponsored by Senator Gene Davis, Senate Bill 112 would allow OTs and OTAs to apply for an interstate license to practice in any of the states that are part of the interstate compact.  Other bills of interest would affect telehealth, Medicaid reimbursement, and mental health crisis teams.

CAPITOL HILL MONTH 2021

As expected, Capitol Hill Day is different this year!  From February 2 through February 26, UOTA is hosting a virtual Capitol Hill Month, when as many OTs, OTAs, and students who can get involved will be able to promote occupational therapy at the state legislative level.  Here is the basic schedule:

On Tuesday, February 2 from 6:30pm-8:00pm, there will be an introductory Zoom meeting linked here with the UOTA lobbyist, executive board members, and government affairs committee to learn about how your membership dues make it possible to open doors for occupational therapy practice in Utah. See event and Zoom meeting details here.

From February 3 through February 26, practitioners and students will be able to contact state representatives according to your legislative districts, join/comment during bill hearings/debates, and watch the legislature vote on bills like the OT interstate licensure compact.  The events calendar on Capitol Hill is always somewhat last-minute with 3-10 days’ notice prior to a hearing.  So to make it simple, all relevant hearings will be listed and updated daily at the “Legislation” page on the UOTA website: https://utahotassociation.org/legislation/

On Friday, February 26 from 6:30pm-8:00pm, there will be a closing Zoom meeting linked here where attendees will be able to debrief with the UOTA lobbyist, executive board members, and government affairs committee.  We will answer questions and identify issues related to occupational therapy practice in Utah that we can plan ahead to address throughout 2021 and into next year’s legislative session.

Attached are two versions of a flyer for Capitol Hill Month 2021.

UOTA Capitol Hill Month 2021 flyer – pdf
UOTA Capitol Hill Month 2021 flyer – word

Thank you for all you are and all you do!  As always, if you have questions related to this legislative session, interest in joining the Government Affairs Committee, or passions/issues related to occupational therapy practice that we can help you and other practitioners/students solve, please reach out to DavidCacanindinOT@gmail.com, and/or the comments page via the UOTA website at https://utahotassociation.org/contact/.