A new law sponsored by Rep. Jay McCreight, D-Harpswell, to address Maine’s need for clinical behavioral health care services and increase the state’s qualified counseling workforce goes into effect today.

LD 1920 establishes Maine’s participation in the Counseling Compact, a multi-state agreement allowing professional counselors who are both licensed at the clinical level and residing in a member state to practice in other member states without needing multiple licenses. This will give out-of-state professionals relocating to Maine the ability to start their practices without the current delays.

“We have a significant and increasing need for behavioral health care services in Maine, with many people waiting for help,” said McCreight. “This new law will help eliminate barriers to interstate professional counseling practices, improve patient access to these services, and ensure that the highest quality standards are maintained.”

The compact has currently been enacted in 17 states, with legislation to join the compact pending in five others.

McCreight, House chair of the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee and a member of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, is serving her fourth term in the Maine House and represents Harpswell, West Bath and northeastern Brunswick.