The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 18, 2014

Reporter's Notebook: Music therapy licensure stalled

Music therapists in Minnesota will have to wait at least another year to get a license. The bill was stopped in its tracks by a costly new licensing system just for music therapists, who would have to pay $4,575 each to get licensed.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Julie Rosen of Vernon Center, would cost the state an estimated $798,310 in the next fiscal year. The licenses’ cost are so high because the music therapists (an estimated 232 in year one) would have to cover that tab.

About three-fourths of those unexpectedly high costs would be needed to create an information technology system to license the profession, which uses music to heal.

It would seem unnecessary to make a costly stand-alone system just for a relatively small professsion, and it probably is. But a time crunch prevented bureaucrats from figuring out a way to integrate a music therapy licensure into an existing system. This alternative turned out to be as fast as it was expensive.

The budget officer who wrote up these cost estimates suggested a delay would “likely result in being able to use an existing system at a lower cost than developing a new system for the music therapy program.”

If that weren’t enough, the bill never got its hearing in the House’s health and human services policy committee. It wasn’t the only bill, or even the only licensure bill, that failed to make it to the committee.

Sex offender reform sidelined

Prospects for sex offender reform passing the state House, shaky even before the session, have become virtually nonexistent.

Legislators are, in effect, leaving the future of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program to a federal judge.

At first, discussions seemed to go well, said Rep. Tina Liebling, the Rochester Democrat who chairs the House’s health and human services policy committee. Two Democrats and two Republicans, including Rep. Nick Zerwas from Elk River, met two or three times early in the session.

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