FLASHA Files Senate Bill
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Posted by: William Campbell
Introducing FLASHA’s Caseload/Workload Bill for School-Based SLPs
The 2018 Florida Legislative session convenes on January 9. Friday, January 5 was the deadline for bills to be filed in the House and Senate. FLASHA is pleased to inform members about Senate Bill 1544, sponsored by Senator Gary Farmer, which proposes student caseload and workload guidance for school-based SLPs. The bill was drafted over a period of two years by the FLASHA Schools Task Force. Members of the task force, FLASHA Executive Board, and Chris Snow of Snow Strategies (FLASHA’s lobbyist) worked together to identify this important member issue, review ASHA’s guidance and legislation for caseload/workload initiatives from other states, generate technical reports and summaries with relevant data, propose a draft bill, and meet with many legislators and legislative staff to raise awareness and gain support for the bill.
We are grateful to Chris Snow’s guidance during this initiative. We also appreciate Senator Farmer’s interest in school-based speech-language therapy services, and his sponsorship of the bill.
How You Can Help
Please contact your senator to express support for this bill. School-based SLPs in Florida face the largest average caseloads in the country, and workload concerns have consistently been identified by school based SLPs as the number one challenge they face. It’s a pervasive problem that impacts the services we provide to students with disabilities. Furthermore, the current caseload and workload landscape presents significant challenges to recruiting and retaining SLPs in schools. The caseload guidance in the proposed bill would place Florida more on par with other states. The workload formula we present in the bill is already in use in some Florida schools with success.
In addition to contacting your senator in support of this bill, we’ve learned through this process how essential it is to build awareness of our field and the services we provide. Many of our initial legislative staff meetings were focused on building awareness, prior to raising the issue of caseload/workload in schools. The Schools Task Force and the FLASHA lobbyist cannot do this alone. FLASHA members should be reaching out to their legislators each year to share information and relay their personal experiences as SLPs and Audiologists. Many of us have complained about other people not knowing what we do in our professions. The primary responsibility of building awareness rests squarely on our shoulders as the speech-language and hearing professionals, regardless of our work setting.
View the Proposed Bill
Members may view the full text of the bill here: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2018/01544
We will keep FLASHA members informed of the status of this and any other bills of interest to members throughout the legislative session. We also expect to have the technical reports and summaries supporting the caseload/workload bill available to FLASHA members on the FLASHA website in the coming weeks. These documents may be of use to you for local, grassroots advocacy in the schools.
If you have any questions, please feel free to respond to this email. Your inquiry will be forwarded on to a member of the Schools Task Force who will be able to answer your questions.
Let's all celebrate this huge milestone in our legislative activities!
Dr. Lyndsey Zurawski Dr. Shannon Hall-Mills
FLASHA President FLASHA President-Elect