Fall 2016 Government Relations Report

PDF Fall 2016 Government Relations Update

Government Relations/MN State Recognition Task Force

The Government Relations/MN State Recognition Task Force is already in preparations for the 2017 legislative session. We have several goals and needs from you for the coming session:
-Collect video examples of music therapy in different clinical settings and with various clinical populations
These videos could be in the form of media recognition of music therapy, testimonials, or examples of music therapy in action that can be utilized for educational and advocacy purposes. Proper releases must be obtained in order to utilize these videos for educational and advocacy purposes.
-Secure music therapy bill sponsors with the majority party with a cosponsor in the minority party
Legislative bills are active for two years. We plan to re-introduce our music therapy licensure bills for the 2017-2018 session. Along with our colleagues at AMTA/CBMT, we will make any necessary changes to the language (simplification, further definition, etc), as needed based on what we learn in MN and in other states as the session progresses. We will need to wait until after the elections for this step as seats may be changing.
-Obtain support from committee leadership and from other Senators and Representatives
This is where your letters, emails, calls of support, meetings with Senators and Representatives, Hill Day attendance, videos, and community education come into play. Since last year’s legislation is no longer active we need to collect new letters of support with the updated bill numbers once we have them. They can be the same letters used in the past with updated bill numbers. We will inform you of these new bill numbers as soon as we obtain them.
-Build a base of music therapy champions and advocates
These are community members who will advocate for the state recognition of music therapy in Minnesota regardless of opposition. Music therapy champions can include clients, family members of clients, case managers of clients, Senators or Representatives, supervisors of music therapists, key players in the community, and large and respected companies in the area (could be related to healthcare or education or completely independent), among others. The most ardent champions are those who observe music therapy in action. Thus, we would like to have multiple music therapists in different populations available for these advocates to shadow or meet with depending on the advocate’s area of interest.
-Get as many local music therapists involved in music therapy advocacy as possible

If you would like to help advocate for music therapy there are a variety of ways you can be involved. Please contact Melissa Spiess (previously Hirokawa) if you would like to:
· Join the task force. Your level of involvement could be small or large.
· Provide examples of the potential for harm due to improper facilitation of “music therapy” by a nonmusic therapist, music therapy services being declined because music therapy isn’t licensed, and/or misrepresentation of music therapy.
· Participate in meetings with key players. Senators and Representatives are most responsive to people within their district.
· Write letters in support of music therapy licensure, and/or would be willing to help collect letters of support.
· Share or create videos of music therapy in action or in the media. Be sure to gain written authorization from any clients featured to utilize videos for such purposes.
· Help spread the word about music therapy recognition in the media and/or educational/testimonial videos of music therapy through social media.
· Share personal connections you have to large or significant organizations in our community or know a lobbyist for a different group or cause.
· Have a potential advocate shadow you in action.
· Have a personal connection with a Senator or Representative.
· Help with Hill Day.
· Help in some other way.
If you have ANY questions or concerns with music therapy licensure please don’t hesitate to contact Melissa or Todd.
As always, thank you very much for all you do for your clients and the music therapy profession!

Melissa Spiess (previously Hirokawa), M.M., MT-BC
MTAM Government Relations Chair

Todd Schwartzberg, M.Ed., MT-BC
Chair, Minnesota State Recognition Task Force