Reps. Pace, Leber, Magnuson, Jones & White & Gov. McMaster:
I am reaching out to you on behalf of over 500 counseling professionals in the state of South Carolina. We are firmly against the proposed "Entrepreneur Freedom Act," of which you are sponsoring. This bill is as dangerous as it is unethical.
Licensed counselors, whether in school or community settings, are working with those experiencing mental health challenges and trauma every day. This work requires clinical experience, training, education, supervision, and yes, a license to practice. The licensure board functions to protect those we serve, ensure ethical guidelines are met, and to preserve the distinction of our profession. Repeal of the licensure requirement would harm community members, counseling professionals and our profession at large.
Governor McMaster himself commented on the "mental health crisis" facing our state, especially "our young people." This proposed bill is the complete opposite of what is needed to meet that crisis.
Furthermore, none of you have listed experience with mental health or any of kind of professional counseling services in your legislative profile, so you do not possess the knowledge or experience to even suggest a change of this magnitude - listen to those of us that do, your constituents. There are many other legislative priorities you can focus on to aid in this crisis. SCCA has campaigned for entry to the Counseling Compact, joined the SC Coalition for Safer Schools, and more. It would behoove you all to focus your resources and efforts in either of these issues if you are concerned about aiding professional counselors.
We have already connected with other organizations in our area, and we will continue to mobilize en masse if this bill moves forward.
Chandler Cox, M.Ed., LPC, NCC
South Carolina Counseling Association President
Advocacy In Action Team Chair