House Bill 213

Phil Haunschild 2017 House bill ratings

Bill Description: This bill allows the Department of Health and Welfare to define and regulate a “family support partner” and a “peer support specialist.”

Rating:-3

Analyst’s Note: This bill is an amended version of House Bill 42 from earlier this Legislative Session.

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

The bill purports to make a minor change to the statute in regard to behavioral health, but adds definitions for “family support partner” and “peer support specialist” that seem innocuous but are not.

According to the bill, a “family support partner” is “an individual who has lived experience raising a child with a mental illness or a co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder diagnosis and who uses his or her lived experience to assist other families and has completed training and meets other standards promulgated by the department of health and welfare to be certified as a family support partner.” This definition expands the responsibilities of the department to regulate private sector activities. (-1) This legislation, however, does not specify the criteria required for such certification. This leaves every aspect of the regulation to the imagination of the department.

The bill also says “peer support specialist” is an “individual in recovery from mental illness or mental illness with co-occurring substance disorder who uses his or her lived experience to assist other individuals in their own recovery and has completed training and meets other standards promulgated by the department of health and welfare to be certified as a peer support specialist. Again, such a definition allows the department nearly unilateral discretion to determine the requirements for certification. (-1)

Presently, the department requires certification, offering classes and training through Jannus, Inc. a center-left, non-profit advocacy group. The department’s website says, “to provide Family Support Partner [or Peer Support] services in the State of Idaho, you must be certified in the state of Idaho.” However, there is nothing in state law that creates or authorizes a certification process.

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce any taxes, fees, or other assessments?

Certifications cost time and money. If this legislation passes, the state would be  imposing a fee or other assessment on the individuals it would be regulating. (-1)