Legislative Advocacy for Psychology – Spring 2019 Update

Spring 2019: Volume 75, Number 1
By: David C. Wiesner, Ph.D., WSPA Federal Advocacy Coordinator

Psychology, as a profession, is involved in legislative activities which affect the practice of psychology as well as the consumers of psychological services.  Legislative advocacy efforts occur at the State level (WSPA’s Legislative Advocacy Committee Chaired by Casey Ward, Psy.D.) as well as at the federal level. Organized Psychology has broadened advocacy to address a range of topics which affect psychologists and the people they work with – and society in general.

Here are some of the areas in which organized psychology has some legislative advocacy involvement at the federal level, along with some specific accomplishments from the past 6 months.

Education and Training


• Pre-K to 12 Education
• Higher Education
• Workforce Development


• Funding for Psychological Research
• Promoting and Defending Research

Social Justice & Human Rights

• Civil Rights
• Immigration
• Criminal Justice Reform
• Discrimination


• Healthcare Reform
• Medicare Reimbursement
• Prescriptive Authority
• Mental Health Parity

Violence Prevention

Violence Prevention

• Gun Violence
• Interpersonal Violence
• Suicide

Recent initiatives:

1. Oppose the Public Charge Rule – letter sent to Homeland Security opposing the rule aimed at re-configuring how the government evaluates whether a would-be immigrant is likely to become a ”public charge”, that is, to depend on the government for their subsistence.

2. Supported Criminal Justice Reform legislation which became law (12-21-2018). This legislation prohibits juvenile solitary confinement and shackling of incarcerated pregnant women.

3. Supported and helped the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Program (JJDPP) be authorized. This legislation and reauthorization strengthens JJDPP’s core protections; requiring States to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, adds accountability measures, and stipulates the use of evidence-based and trauma-informed approaches to juvenile justice policy and practice.

4. Supported legislation: H.R.315, the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act (Public Law 115-320), S.3029, the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act (Public Law 115-328), and H.R. 1318, the Preventing Maternity Deaths Act (Public Law 115-344) which was passed into law. This legislation responds to the US’ higher rates of death from pregnancy and childbirth than other developed nations, with wide racial disparities in those rates.