H.B. 1288 requires the state to establish the State Board of Behavior Analysts. Behavior Analysis, as defined by the bill “means the design, implementation, and evaluation of instructional and environmental modifications to produce socially significant improvements in human behavior through skill acquisition and the reduction of problematic behavior”. It allows for two levels of Analysts, one requires a Bachelor’s degree, while the other requires a Master’s degree, although the degree can be in any area. Both certifications require a test and supervised hours. The requirements mimic the requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, a non-profit Florida Corporation.
This legislation was first requested at an Indiana Commission on Autism meeting. Specifically, the commission was asked by Michelle Trivedi, “parent of an autistic child, for the commission to support legislation to be introduced in the 2008 session of the General Assembly that would require board certification for applied behavior analysts.” The commission heard from Ms. Trivedi, but had many significant questions and did not recommend the legislation be pursued in it’s final report. However, Rep. Vanessa Summers and Rep. Phil Hinkle, both commission members, introduced the legislation in the 2008 session.
Upon introduction, the legislation became very controversial for several reasons. First, it did not exempt any professionals currently licensed to practice medicine, psychology, mental health counseling, social work, and marriage and family therapy. Because the definition of what behavior analysis is, it would require all of those professions to become certified as behavior analysts to continue to practice with the licenses they already have. Thankfully, the authors of the bill agreed to amend the bill to effectively state no-one could use the title Certified Behavior Analyst, unless they are certified. With this amendment, the concerns of the already licensed professionals were satisfied and they did not oppose the bill in the house. The bill passed the House last week and is now awaiting a hearing in the Senate Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters Committee.