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Meet our WCA Legislative Advocate

As a member benefit, the Wyoming Counseling Association contracts with a Legislative Advocate to track Wyoming state legislation and meet with legislators on behalf of WCA members. Our advocate provides updates to our membership about legislation impacting mental health providers and the communities they serve. Your membership dues help make this advocacy work possible!

Lindsay Simineo, LPC

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Lindsay Simineo is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Cheyenne, WY. Her private practice focuses on trauma, adolescents, and the needs of LGBTQ+ folks. Lindsay has used her skills and interests in advocacy and legislative work. Since 2017 Lindsay has been working with the WCA to monitor state and federal legislation that impacts mental health providers and consumers including but not limited to Medicare amendments, state licensure amendments, access to Medicaid, and access to services. 

WCA WAS AWARDED THE 2020 AMERICAN COUNSELING ASSOCIATION STATE BRANCH ADVOCACY AWARD!

The ACA State Branch Advocacy Award recognizes a state counseling organization for excellence in legislative advocacy efforts.

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Read more about WCA advocacy and legislative updates below:

WCA Advocacy In Action

  • March 2016: Advocacy for Expanded Counselor Education in Wyoming
    During the 2016 Wyoming legislative session, Wyoming Counseling Association joined forces with the Casper Economic Development Alliance (CAEDA) to promote the idea of bringing the University of Wyoming Counselor Education Master’s program back to the UW Casper campus. The program has been put on hiatus for five years due to funding and staffing issues. The program is a three-year, 60 credit degree taught on weekends. The students come from around the state and most are working in human service jobs. Upon graduation, the majority stay living and working in Wyoming. CAEDA researched and presented the need for more counselors in the state as an economic development strategy. WCA spoke to the mental health needs of our frontier state. Rep. Bunky Loucks (R-Natrona County; pictured below) brought this issue to the full session of the legislature and was successful in adding a line item to the state budget to fund the salaries of two full-time faculty in Casper for three years. This was a major victory since the legislature was cutting the budget. Read this legislation here.
  • Sept 2019: Advocacy Panel at WCA/NASW Joint Conference
    WCA in partnership with NASW-WY offered a legislative advocacy panel, “Legislative Advocacy in Behavioral Health: A Panel Discussion,” at the 2019 fall conference in Cheyenne, WY. The panel was moderated by Lance Goede, member of the Mental Health Professionals Licensing Board. Panelists included: Senator Tara Nethercott, Co-Chair Wyoming Judiciary Committee Representative Sue Wilson, Co-Chair Wyoming Labor & Health Committee Korin Schmidt, Director of the Department of Family Services Bob Lampert, Director of the Department of Corrections Tara Muir, JD, Lobbyist/Public Policy Director WCADVSA Andi Summerville, Executive Director/Lobbyist WAMHSAC Lindsay Simineo, LPC, Legislative Advocate Wyoming Counseling Association
  • February 2023 - Wyoming Becomes Eighteenth State to Sign Interstate Counseling Compact into Law
    Wyoming Becomes Eighteenth State to Sign Interstate Counseling Compact into Law Feb 23, 2023 The dream of many licensed professional counselors to practice across state lines moves toward reality as Governor Mark Gordon signed into law his state’s Counseling Compact legislation. This milestone marks the eighteenth state to sign the Counseling Compact into law, allowing licensed professional counselors residing in a compact member state to practice in other compact member states without the need for multiple licenses. "The Wyoming Counseling Association is so excited and grateful to be joining the Counseling Compact,” said Lindsay Simineo, Executive Director of the Wyoming Counseling Association. “The last few years of work will not just benefit Wyoming providers who will now have the option of license mobility, but also all Wyoming residents with increased access to care." Funded and created by the American Counseling Association, the Counseling Compact was finalized in December 2020 and has now been passed by the legislatures in Georgia, Maryland, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, Utah, Maine, Florida, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee, Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Delaware, and Wyoming. Currently, the Counseling Compact has been introduced in 22 states this legislative session. Compacts provide a pathway for counselors to move seamlessly from one state to another through an agreement among states to recognize another state’s license. Previously, counselors have had difficulty transferring their licenses from one state/jurisdiction to another because of the independent nature of jurisdictional licensing rules and regulations. There was little consistency regarding the requirements for licensure and these varying requirements make it difficult to transfer one’s license. The Counseling Compact enables professional counselors who meet uniform licensure requirements to quickly obtain a privilege to practice, which is equivalent to a license to practice counseling in another state. For more information, please visit CounselingCompact.org
  • April 2021: SF0052, Insurance-Mental Health and Substance Use Parity
    WCA board members Janet de Vries and Amanda DeDiego joined WCA member Mary Alice Bruce and our WCA Legislative Advocate, Lindsay Simineo, in Cheyenne to attend the signing ceremony with Governor Gordon for SF0052 designating insurance parity for telemental health therapy in Wyoming. Wyoming is one of the first in the nation to pass telehealth parity legislation. Read more about this he re.
  • Jul 2019: Advocacy at ACA Institute for Leadership Training
    President Chris Clark traveled to Washington, DC for the 11th annual ACA Institute for Leadership Training as a representative of Wyoming. As part of his visit, Chris presented Wyoming Senator John Barrasso with the American Counseling Association Legislative Service Award in recognition of his ongoing sponsorship of legislation to allow LPCs as providers for Medicare mental health services. Chris is pictured below with ACA President, Heather Trepal, and ACA CEO, Richard Yep, presenting this award. Get involved with advocacy for Medicare reimbursement through the American Counseling Association!
  • May 2019: Advocacy in Washington DC for Medicare Coverage
    WCA Past President, Amanda DeDiego, traveled to Washington, DC in partnership with the American Counseling Association. She met with Wyoming legislators Senator John Barrasso, Senator Mike Enzi, and Representative Liz Cheney in addition to congressional committee staff advocating for Medicare coverage for counselors and increased funding for school counselors nation-wide. Get involved with advocacy for Medicare reimbursement through the American Counseling Association!
  • February 2020: Advocacy for Suicide Prevention Funding
    WCA Board members Janet de Vries and Amanda DeDiego visited the Wyoming capitol in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Grace for 2 Brothers to advocate for funding a Wyoming Crisis Call Center as an affiliate of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Janet and Amanda are pictured with Representatives Andi Clifford, Sara Burlingame (left), and Garry Piiparinen (right).
  • March 2018: Advocacy with Governor’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council
    President, Amanda DeDiego, and President-Elect, Chris Clark, met with the Wyoming Governor’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council in Cheyenne, WY. During their scheduled meeting on March 8th, our WCA representatives shared about the important work counselors do in the state of Wyoming to support mental health needs. They also discussed with the committee issues related to mental health access in the state. Read more about this Wyoming Department of Health council and how to get involved here.
  • July 2017: Advocacy at ACA Institute for Leadership Training
    WCA President-Elect, Amanda DeDiego, traveled to Washington, DC for the ACA Institute for Leadership Training as a representative of Wyoming. During this training she connected with state ACA leaders from across the country to talk about how to support counselors in training and advocacy. As part of the “Day on the Hill,” she met with Wyoming Senator John Barrasso to advocate for Medicare Coverage for counselors. Her efforts were noted in a recent Counseling Today article. Read more about this advocacy event here. Get involved with advocacy for Medicare reimbursement through the American Counseling Association!
  • March 2015: Advocacy for Medicaid Reimbursement for Provisional Counselors
    In 2015, WCA worked with Sen. Bill Landen (pictured below) to pass SF0102 Medicaid billing- provisional providers which streamlines the administration of provisionally licensed counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists and addiction therapists providing mental health services for people with disabilities and low incomes. Read this legislation here.
  • Jan 2019: Advocacy for Mental Health Parity
    Member-at-Large Janet de Vries attended an advocacy event for mental heath parity in January 2019. Supported by legislators like Representative Sara Burlingame (pictured below), HB0122 was passed providing comparable reimbursement for mental health services by insurance providers. Follow Wyoming Counseling Association for legislative updates and advocacy opportunities!
  • July 2018: Advocacy at ACA Institute for Leadership Training
    President-Elect Chris Clark traveled to Washington, DC for the 10th annual ACA Institute for Leadership Training as a representative of Wyoming. As part of his visit, Chris met with Wyoming Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi to advocate for legislation to allow LPCs to be recognized for reimbursement with Medicare. Every summer state leaders travel to Washington, DC for a Day on the Hill to promote the important work of counselors. Read more about this leadership training here.
  • 2020 Legislative Advocacy Report
    Wyoming Counseling Association Legislative Report 2020 This year WCA was very involved with the interim and budget legislative sessions in Wyoming. We worked on a number of bills to help support mental health needs and counselors in our state. SF0113: Clubhouse-Based Psychosocial Rehabilitation Programs-Repeal. A bill that would have repealed clubhouse funding through Medicaid. We advocated for this bill in 2019 and it passed. The hope was to save money with its repeal. Information informing Appropriations that funding the program would save the state money long term was given to them. It appears that this bill “found a drawer”, meaning it mysteriously didn’t make it to Committee of the Whole in time. A win is a win regardless of how it comes. SF0107 – Penal Institutions-Addiction Counselor License Reciprocity. The hope of this bill was to create certifications so that those coming from out of state could practice within the prison system. It was an incomplete bill that did not take into account current certifications and standards, and was dropped at the very last minute. It would have created duplicate certifications, one new certification (Certified Criminal Justice Specialist) and lacked definitions, scope of practice. This was the bill we lobbied the strongest against and by far took up the most time. Though it passed through the Senate it died in first reading on the House floor 12-46-2. HB0127 – Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation. This was a bill that was watched closely as it originally contain language that would have made sex reassignment surgery illegal for anyone under 18. This was concerning because it would have placed a limit on trans health for minors as well as open the opportunity for more anti-trans legislation in the future. The language was amended out by the Senate. The bill passed and was signed by Gov. Gordon on March 13, 2020. HB0075 – Medicaid Expansion-Authorization. Unfortunately this bill never made it passed its initial introduction. Failed House Introduction 20-39-1. HB0031 – Criminal Justice-Mental Health-Substance Use Programming. This bill placed funding back into programs with the hopes of decreasing the recidivism rate in Wyoming. The Wyoming Counseling Association has worked closely with TreNd, and the ACLU to advocate on this bill. Because of the fervor of SF107, we were not able to actively lobby for this bill as much as we had planned, but made sure that we were represented on all written lobbying materials for the bill. As of right now this bill has been signed by the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, and is awaiting signature by the Governor Gordon. SF0117 – First Responder Workplace Mental Injury Coverage. This bill allowed mental health services to be covered by worker’s compensation for all first responders as well as gave them job protections for seeking out said services. We advocated for this bill. The bill has been signed by the Senate President, the Speaker of the House as is awaiting signature by Governor Gordon. Suicide Prevention Funding Through working with Rep. Sweeney as well as others on the appropriations committee, WAMHSAC, Grace For 2 Brothers, and NASW-WY we were able to secure $400,000 in funding for a call center for Wyoming. Without a call center, all calls from Wyoming to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline were being outsourced to other states, making it impossible to get those calling local resources. This call center will be vital in getting local resources to those who need it. It was a very active and exhausting year, but the work that was accomplished was rewarding. I thank you for the opportunity to represent the WCA, and look forward to the work to come. Sincerely, Lindsay Simineo, MA, LPC WCA Legislative Advocate PO Box 843 Cheyenne, WY 82003 yanacounseling@gmail.com
  • February 2022: Legislative Bill Tracker
    It is the most wonderful time of the year! The time where our Legislative Advocate, Lindsay Simineo, is elbows deep in the Wyoming Legislature ensuring that Professional Counselors and their clients are seen and heard. Here are some of the things that WCA is working on this legislative session. We split them into three categories: Actively Support, Actively Oppose, and Actively Watching: Actively Support SF0054 – Licensed Professional Counselor Compact The LPC Interstate Compact will be one of our main focuses this session. This bill will allow any LPC in a participating state to receive licensure equivalency with other participating states. The compact will become active after 10 states enact it. Currently there are 3 states that have enacted it with 20 states moving forward with the compact this year. It is hopeful that the Compact will become active by the end of the Calendar year. We ask that you contact your state senator encouraging them to support SF0054: – That it is supported by the Department of Defense, as interstate compacts ease the burden on military families relocating. – That it would improve continuity of care for professionals and clients as people are relocating during this unpredictable time. – Will promote cooperation among Counseling Compact states in areas of licensure and regulation. – Provide a higher degree of client protection across state lines. HB0033 – Community health services-continued redesign efforts Last year the Legislature passed sweeping mental health redesign efforts that would have major impacts to all state community mental health centers. This bill would amend last year’s bill in ways that would work better for the community mental health centers, extend deadlines, etc. This bill struggled to get out of interim, as some thought if they voted against this bill all community mental health redesigns would also be killed. This bill is needed to make sure out community mental health centers can enact last years redesign well without over burdening their providers. We ask that you email your representative asking that this bill be heard off of the consent list HB0020 – Medical Treatment Opportunity Act This bill will expand Medicaid to 24,000 participants that are not currently being services in Wyoming. It is no secret that Medicaid expansion would greatly benefit Wyoming and serve a high needs population. We are actively supporting this bill, and ask you do the same by signing the following citizen and business petition: https://healthywyoming.org/join/ http://bit.ly/medicaidbiz HB0037 – Juvenile Justice Data Reporting This bill that will modify and shift responsibility for uniform, statewide juvenile data collection to the Department of Family Services. This will promote uniform data collection from all counties along with the ability of DFS to disseminate aggregate data for analysis. This is critical to identifying disparities within Wyoming’s juvenile justice system and identifying what diversion programs or community-based services are most effective at keeping children out of the system and lowering recidivism. SF0066 – American Rescue Plan Act Recovery Funds Appropriations This is the bill that appropriates all of the funds awarded to the state of Wyoming by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. A majority of the funds were not allocated by the Joint Appropriations Committee. The reason for this is to give lawmakers the opportunity to amend the bill with projects that they are passionate about. We are hoping to use this as an opportunity to ask for funds for the state suicide hotline, tele-psychiatry infrastructure, telehealth infrastructure. SF0002 – Legislative Budget Currently, the funds that were cut from community mental health centers in 2021 have been restored in this most recent budget. Our goal is to ensure it stays that way. Actively Oppose SF0051 – Fairness in Women’s Sports Act This bill would make it to where transgender girls would not be able to compete as their identified gender in public school sports. The WCA recognizes that anytime legislation is made against the LGBTQ community in a state, that state then experiences an increase in attempted and completed suicides. It means that when a small group is targeted; the larger, younger population takes notice. This bill will negatively impact the mental health of all the children in our state as well as encourage them to leave the state once they are young adults. We encourage you to contact your state senator encouraging a no vote on the introduction of this bill. SF0021 – Substance Abuse and Mental Health – Accreditations Amendments This bill would get rid of the national accreditation CARF that is used for the states Court Ordered Treatment (substance use) programs. We have concerns about how this bill will impact CST programs, the Department of Health, and their overall budget. Having a national accreditation partner helps alleviate the budgetary needs DOH would need to set aside to oversee the accreditation themselves. Eliminating this partnership would move the oversight in house in the Department of Health, costing more money long term. Actively Watching HB0068 – Broadband and Telehealth Access projects – Set up a grant programs for towns and communities to set up telehealth infrastructure. HB0085 – Child Endangering – controlled substance use while pregnant – would make it a felony for a pregnant woman to use narcotics while pregnant HB0088 – Name Change Notice publication of minors amendment – Minors would no longer be required to public notify their name change in the newspaper. HB0083 – Protection of parental rights – application – Increases the protection of parental rights, making it more difficult to terminate rights.
  • March 2014: Advocacy for Medicaid Reimbursement for Counselors
    In 2014, WCA worked with Sen. Bill Landen (pictured below) to pass SF0089 Health Professional-Medicaid Billing which allowed LPCs, LCSWs, LMFTs and LATs to bill for Medicaid services providing mental health services for people with disabilities and low incomes. Read this legislation here.
  • August 2020: Wyoming Suicide Prevention Hotline Opens
    As a result of advocacy efforts from WCA, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Grace for 2 Brothers, a new call center was opened in Wyoming. The Call Center was funded and opened in Casper in August 2020. The call center serves as an affiliate of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Read more about this resource here.
  • April 2020: Wyoming Wins Advocacy Award
    In recognition for advocacy efforts, the Wyoming Counseling Association was awarded the 2020 State Branch Advocacy Award from the American Counseling Association. “Counseling organization legislative efforts require collaboration, energy and cooperation of the organization’s leaders and members. The ACA State Branch Advocacy Award was established to help recognize and encourage collective advocacy efforts on the part of a state organization.” One state organization is chosen each year to be honored by ACA. Branch leaders were to be recognized at the national ACA conference in San Diego, Florida in April 2020. Unfortunately, this conference was cancelled due to COVID-19, but WCA is still recognized as leaders in advocacy! Read more about this here.
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