Counties to General Assembly: Streamline Environmental Health Field

On February 14, 2023, Associate Policy Director Sarah Sample submitted testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in support of SB 0399 – Health Occupations – Environmental Health Specialists – Revisions.

The House Health and Government Operations Committee will consider the bill’s cross-file, HB 0273, on February 22.

SB 0399 alters the definition of “practice as an environmental health specialist” to include aspects related to public health emergency preparedness. It also modifies the education requirements for licensure as an environmental health specialist. In effect, SB 0399 streamlines the integration of entry-level environmental health specialists into local departments, creates more consistency with other boards across the state, and clarifies various regulations for existing programs.

From the MACo Testimony:

Counties cannot afford to suffer the consequences of bureaucratic strains in the pipeline as Environmental Health Specialists are needed every day in every jurisdiction to make sure communities have the appropriate resources to stay healthy and thriving. Their role includes ensuring the safety of life’s essentials – food, water, and habitat. Without these great efforts, residents could suffer the loss of essential public services and, even worse, a loss of life. The provisions in this bill, as established by experts in the field, will help eager, qualified employees hit the ground running in all counties to make sure crucial services are not interrupted. By establishing an apprenticeship program, building more flexibility into laboratory obligations, and eliminating redundancies in educational requirements, local teams can fill vacancies with greater speed.

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