- Associated Press - Friday, September 19, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska licensing board has proposed changing its rules to prevent mental health professionals from discriminating against clients based on gender identity.

The Mental Health Practice Board added language to its proposed ethics code Thursday that would prevent discrimination against people who identify with a different gender than the one they were born.

But attorneys for the state Department of Health and Human Services have told the board the proposed rules will not move forward if gender identity is included because that language is not found in state statute.

The board’s 6-2 approval of the language likely guarantees the proposed ethics code will not be approved, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/1saNlv1 ).

Board member Susan Meyerle said she believes the rules should include the gender identity language but argued for the board to consider the likelihood of passage. The board governs independent counselors, social workers and marriage and family counselors.

Meyerle said for the public’s safety, the board needs to get the rest of the changes through the bureaucratic process first.

“We need to have these regulations in place,” Meyerle said. “The reality is our regulations are not going to go anywhere if we include that terminology.”

The old rules, which are still in effect, do not include new educational requirements. National professional organizations are working on allowing people licensed in one state to practice in others.

Meyerle said not having the new rules in place would mean people with Nebraska licenses would not be able to practice in other states.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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