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February 22, 2024

House Education Committee Passes Bill to Boost Behavioral Health Professionals In Schools

DENVER, CO – The House Education Committee today passed legislation to boost behavioral health professionals in schools. HB24-1096, sponsored by Representatives Meghan Lukens and Mary Young, would create an interstate compact for school psychologists.

“To help our students succeed in the classroom and beyond we need to ensure they have access to behavioral and mental health professionals,” said Rep. Meghan Lukens, D-Steamboat Springs. “As a teacher, I know how important it is to address our students' behavioral and mental health care needs so they can reach their full educational potential. Our legislation creates an interstate compact to streamline licensed school psychologists into Colorado school districts and boost behavioral health access for our youth.”

“I spent most of my career as a school psychologist helping students grow and thrive in our public schools,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “This important bill helps us attract more high-quality, licensed school psychologists to Colorado schools and meet the complex needs of our students. It’s clear – we need more behavioral health professionals working in schools. This bill will help break down barriers so already licensed school psychologists can begin working in school districts across the state.” 

HB24-1096 passed committee unanimously and would create new pathways for out-of-state school psychologists to gain professional licensure to practice in Colorado. This bill creates the "School Psychologists Licensure Interstate Compact", which creates an agreement between Colorado and six other states where licensed school psychologists in member states can obtain and easily transfer a license from another member state to practice school psychological services. 

This legislation aims to reduce barriers for school psychologists by easing the state-to-state licensure process to increase special education services and access to behavioral health care in Colorado schools.  The “School Psychologists Licensure Interstate Compact" would be particularly helpful for active military and military spouses who often relocate from state-to-state.  

To participate in the compact, applicants must already be licensed school psychologists. This includes passing a qualifying national exam, completing at least 1,200 hours of supervision prior to licensure, and graduating from a qualifying school psychologist program. 

Colorado lawmakers have championed nine mobility compact laws over the years, including last year’s HB23-1064 to address Colorado’s teacher shortage. 

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