Submitted by Jennifer Schultz
For months, many speech-language pathologists have focused their attention on the progress and passage of SB72, the SLP Licensure Bill. With its passage by the SD legislature and the Governor’s signature making it law, our attention now turns from legislative efforts to implementation of the law to license people who provide speech-language pathology services in South Dakota.
The first step in this process is for the Governor to appoint individuals to the Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology. The board will consist of five members, four of whom will be speech-language pathologists. Of those four SLPs, at least one of the SLPs must work primarily in an education setting and at least one must work primarily in a health care setting. The fifth member will be a lay person who is not directly associated with the field of speech-language pathology. While any group or person may offer suggestions to the Governor about who they would like to see appointed to the licensure board, the Governor is not required to choose people from any of those suggestions. These appointments have not yet been announced by the Governor’s office.
Once the members of the Board of Examiners are appointed, the board will meet and begin writing administrative rules for the licensure statute or law. These administrative rules will provide more specific information about how the licensure law will be implemented. The Board of Examiners for SLP will be under the Department of Health (DOH). A staff member from the DOH will be assigned to the board to help guide the rule-writing process. The board will also work closely with an executive director who will assist with the implementation of the licensure law by providing administrative assistance to the board.
Once written, the administrative rules must be approved by a legislative rules committee. Only then can the licensure law be enforced. The process outlined above is estimated to take approximately nine months. These rules will provide answers to many questions that speech-language pathologists and administrators currently have regarding continuing education requirements, licensure fees, SLPA supervision, SLPA duties and the like. Until the licensure law is implemented, individuals who provide speech-language pathology services in South Dakota should continue to maintain their current credentials. Speech-language pathologists who are certified by the Department of Education should continue to renew DOE certificates. New graduates who work in education should apply for DOE certification.
SDSLHA and the SD Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology will work closely with the Department of Education to ensure that the transition from DOE certification requirements to SLP licensure requirements is as smooth as possible. SDSLHA will continue to update association members about the progress toward implementing SLP licensure through email alerts and updates on the SDSLHA website.