Okay, maybe this one isn’t quite as funny as the bill former state Sen. Gary Nelson sponsored 20 years ago that required the licensing of exotic dancers. He didn’t want people falling down on the job.
The state’s music therapists want the state to begin licensing music therapists.
Under a measure up for a “sunrise review” by the state Department of Health, it would become a crime to practice music therapy without a license. Fees would be charged, criteria would be established, and those who fail to uphold the standards of the music-therapy profession would face harsh discipline. A hearing is set for Aug. 20. If the Department of Health gives its blessing, Senate Bill 6276 will be forwarded to the Legislature with a recommendation for passage.
It is routine practice for bills like these to get a department review, and for good reason. Lawmakers have learned to be a bit suspicious when a profession calls for more regulation. Its leading practicioners always point out that “professionalization” is a way of ensuring quality. Others might see a barrier to entry, an effort to impose high prices and erect a state-enforced cartel. According to the documents filed with the Department of Health, there are 45 people in the music-therapy business in Washington state, but only 24 of them are members of the Music Therapy Association of Washington. Maybe that offers a clue as to what this one is about.
According to a letter from state Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, chairwoman of the Senate Health and Long Term Care committee, music therapy “helps individuals advance physically and cognitively. Those who have a limited ability to communicate can develop, regain or retain speech through music therapy.” And naturally quality music therapy is a boon to the state because those with memory loss and dementia might be able to stay home and avoid costly institutionalization.
Yet you just have to wonder about the damage that might be wrought by an unqualified music therapist. What, they can’t carry a tune? It makes you shudder. Yup, definitely, sounds like a job for state government.