Social Action and Policy

Legislative Committee

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Chair: Adrienne Bombelles: abombelles@gmail.com

Purpose: This committee is responsible for monitoring, evaluating, recommending and introducing legislation for the purpose of enhancing the profession of social work in Montana and supporting and promoting social justice outcomes for diverse marginalized groups, especially in Montana.

We are currently seeking NASW members to join this committee and encourage you to email Adrienne to learn more. Meetings are currently held virtually every other month on the fourth Thursday from 6-7pm. During session we will have more frequent opportunities to connect via Slack and other means.

2023 Legislative Session

NASW-Montana Members,

As the 2023 legislative session begins, we will be tracking social work and social justice related bills through our Legislative Committee. Using the NASW Code of Ethics as a guide, we will examine bills and take positions of support and opposition.

As a chapter, we understand that we must be very strategic on how we spend our political capital. We want to be sure we are using our voice on behalf of social workers across Montana, and our members will also help guide the positions we take on bills.

As a committee, we are committed to taking our time to ensure we understand a bill before we take a position on it. We also encourage you, our members to do your part by contacting your legislators and supporting or opposing legislation that affects you and the populations you serve. As we know, Montana politicians listen to their constituents (YOU!) and if there is a bill that you are hoping to take action on, we encourage you to do so. 

To find your local representatives, visit the Montana Legislator Lookup.
To learn how you can testify virtually and get on a bill's schedule, click here.

As we identify bills that we intend to take a stance on, we will post information below for each. Feel free to use the talking points we create to engage your legislator and reach out if you want to join the Policy Committee and be part of making decisions around various bills!

SB99

NASW-MT's Position: In Opposition

Bill Summary: SB99 sets restrictions on healthcare professionals and limits their ability to provide gender-affirming care to minors. It also establishes penalties for professionals who offer this care to a child and their family.

Legislator Talking Points:


HB101

NASW-MT's Position: In Support

Bill Summary: HB101 establishes that behavioral health professionals who are licensed and in good standing in another state can obtain a license in Montana if they are a new residents and certain conditions exist.

Legislator Talking Points:

  • Makes it easier for fully licensed clinicians moving from out of state into MT to secure their MT licensure more quickly.
  • Positively impacts access to social workers and other behavioral health professionals for all Montanans.
  • Encourages clinicians to move to Montana, not just get a Montana license allowing for in-person counseling opportunities.
  • Keeps the possibility of interstate compact licenses separate which allows for a different path towards that license type in the future.


SB115

NASW-MT's Position: In Opposition

Bill summary: SB115 would revise child and neglect laws and change the definition of the term "psychological abuse or neglect". the bill specifically aims to require that a child be diagnosed with a mental disorder to constitute an act or omission resulting in psychological abuse or neglect.

Legislator Talking Points:

  • Removes the word "emotional" from the definition of psychological abuse or neglect. By striking this word, we narrow our definition of abuse and send the signal that what the victim feels emotionally is not important. Psychological and emotional go hand-in-hand and we believe keeping both words in this section of the bill creates a more accurate definition of abuse.
  • Negatively impacts children experiencing abuse, their families and communities by requiring a DSM 5 diagnosis.
  • Trauma, especially in children, can take years to manifest and be diagnosed properly. A diagnosis immediately following a traumatic event is unrealistic and puts undue burden on victims, their families and mental health professionals.
  • Diagnosing psychological abuse or neglect prematurely is unethical and inappropriate for our profession and goes against our Code of Ethics.


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