Legislation

Welcome to the NJABA Legislative & Licensure page!

Within this section, you can expect to find:

LICENSURE LAW

ABA Licensing Regulations Published (5/6/2024)

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has published the finalized regulations for ABA Licensure in New Jersey in the May 6th issue of the New Jersey Register, which also includes public comments and DCA’s responses.  Read the final rule.

We anticipate the Licensure application being finalized in the next several weeks, and then it will be published on the State Board of Applied Behavior Analyst Examiners’ website.

Questions regarding licensure for behavior analysts should be directed to the licensure board at behavioranalyst@dca.njoag.gov or by visiting the board’s website.

Public Comment Period Now Open for ABA Licensing Regulations (5/15/2023)

Pursuant to the Applied Behavior Analyst Licensing Act signed into law by Governor Murphy in January 2020, the State Board of Applied Behavior Analyst Examiners (licensure board) has published proposed regulations for public comment through July 14, 2023.

The law establishes licensure requirements for behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts in New Jersey. Under the law, no individual shall practice or make any representation as being able to practice applied behavior analysis unless the person is licensed in accordance with the provisions of the law and accompanying regulations. The licensure board, through the Division of Consumer Affairs, will oversee compliance with the ABA Licensing Act and regulations.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed regulations until July 14, 2023.

Proposed regulations (Full text of the rule proposal in the New Jersey Register)

Public comment instructions

The Road to Licensure: Licensure Board Progress Update (2/22/2022)

Click here to read the latest on Licensure in NJ.

Governor Appoints Inaugural Members to the State ABA Licensure Board (7/28/2021)

NJABA’s Adult Services Workgroup Chair, Darren Blough, and Former Government Affairs Chair,  Dr. Suzanne Buchanan Named as Appointees

New Jersey Association for Behavior Analysis and Autism New Jersey are pleased to announce that Governor Murphy has appointed six members to the initial State Board of Applied Behavior Analyst Examiners. In collaboration with the State Division of Consumer of Affairs, this group of distinguished professionals will be responsible for writing the regulations and issuing licenses in accordance with the Applied Behavior Analyst Licensing Act which was signed into law in January 2020.

As stated in the law, the Board should be comprised of three Board Certified Behavior Analysts, one Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst, two public members, and one member of the Executive Branch of the Government. The appointed members are as follows:

  • Darren Blough, MSW, BCaBA, Senior Vice President, Bancroft
  • Suzanne Buchanan, Psy.D., BCBA-D, Executive Director, Autism New Jersey
  • Sandra Howell, Ph.D., Executive Director for Special Child Health and Early Intervention Services, New Jersey Department of Health
  • James Paone, Esq., Managing Principal, Davison, Eastman, Muñoz, Paone, P.A.
  • Lisa Toole, M.A., BCBA, Assistant Director of Clinical Services, Eden Autism
  • David Wilson, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of ABA Programs, Georgian Court University

At the board’s July 13th meeting, Dr. Suzanne Buchanan was elected the Board Chair, and Dr. David Wilson was elected the Board Vice Chair.

From top left to right: Michela Ross, Licensure Board’s Executive Director; Dr. Suzanne Buchanan, Chair; Lisa Toole, Member; James Paone, Member; Darren Blough, Member, Dr. David Wilson, Vice Chair; Charles Manning, Division of Consumer Affairs Regulatory Analyst; Dr. Sandra Howell, Member.

The board is now actively engaged in the process of crafting regulations that will govern the profession. Regulations operationalize the intent of the law and provide greater specificity for the practice of applied behavior analysis in the State of New Jersey.

What’s next?

Over the next 6 to 24 months, the board will:

  • Draft regulations for state review
  • Make draft regulations available for public comment
  • Issue finalized regulations
  • Open the application process

We congratulate the newly appointed board members and thank them in advance for committing their time over the coming years to ensure that the practice of behavior analysis in New Jersey is regulated and safe for all consumers.

For more information

Visit the State Board of Applied Behavior Analysis Examiners.

Behavior Analyst Licensing Act Update (6/21/2021)

The Behavior Analyst Licensing Act was signed in January 2020 but has yet to be enacted.  The enactment date of the law was originally mid-July 2020 but the Governor signed an Executive Order delaying all rule-making deadlines until 90 days after the public health emergency is over.  It will most likely be some time before the state licensing board is established and regulations are developed.

In short, there are no actions that you need to take at this moment. As we wait for the next steps, you can educate yourself on the details of the law.  Our licensure summary and FAQs will help answer questions about the law’s purpose, creation of a state licensing board, qualifications to become licensed, and exemptions from this law.

NJABA members will be informed as soon as an update is available.  If you have any questions, please email us at governmentaffairs@njaba.org.

Behavior Analyst Licensing Act Becomes Law (1/13/20)

On January 13, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed the “Applied Behavior Analyst Licensing Act” that will, for the first time, require licensure for behavior analysts in New Jersey and thus provide the needed protections for the vulnerable populations who they serve.

The enactment of this law is a tangible investment in the health and safety of New Jersey residents – a top priority of the Murphy Administration. It is also the direct result of a shared vision, steadfast commitment, and critical leadership of the legislative sponsors, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean (R-21), Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16), and Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-11). We thank the Governor and sponsors for working with Autism New Jersey and the New Jersey Association for Behavior Analysis to make this law a reality.

“This pivotal law provides the State of New Jersey with the legal authority to protect consumers, employers, and state agencies from individuals who make false claims regarding the necessary competence or whose practice is not consistent with the profession’s ethical and disciplinary standards,” said Suzanne Buchanan, Psy.D., BCBA-D, Executive Director of Autism New Jersey.

With the highest autism prevalence in the country (1 in 34) and thousands of families desperate to find treatment for their loved ones, the demand for ABA services in New Jersey far exceeds the available supply of qualified and competent behavior analysts. Such a combination of high demand and low supply creates a fertile environment for untrained professionals to capitalize on this need. Without the protections afforded by this law, such individuals were free to falsely portray to unsuspecting families that they can provide ABA expertise. As this demand increases, sole dependence on a national and voluntary board certification process is no longer adequate to protect consumers or prohibit abuses by under- and untrained professionals.

“Individuals with autism and their families deserve the highest quality of care,” said Senator Weinberg. “This law will ensure individuals with autism will be treated by professionals who have met appropriate standards. This is a win for families and a sign of New Jersey’s ongoing commitment to quality healthcare.”

Agreeing wholeheartedly with Senator Weinberg’s call for better care, Senator Kean describes how this law can reduce families’ challenges. “When a professional is not skilled in behavior analysis, they can do more harm than good,” said Senator Kean. “This law addresses growing concerns about unlicensed, untrained, and unqualified practitioners. Behavior analysis is a powerful tool in the treatment of autism, developmental disabilities, and mental health issues that has shown great promise.  It makes sense to ensure professionals in this growing field are properly educated and licensed.”

Assemblyman Zwicker and Assemblywoman Downey recognized the importance of taking action to make licensure available and mandatory for these professionals as the demand throughout the country and especially in New Jersey exceeds capacity and continues to increase. Assemblyman Zwicker and Assemblywoman Downey stated that this law “will help families feel more secure in knowing the services their loved ones receive from a behavior analyst are backed by both experience and licensure requirements.”

This law was also actively supported by the state-based trade organization and universities across the state.

“Well-trained behavior analysts offer highly specialized and effective services that improve individuals’ lives,” said Kate Cerino Britton, Ed.D., BCBA, President of the New Jersey Association for Behavior Analysis. “For example, behavior analysts have taught thousands of children and adults with autism communication, social, and life skills.”

Mary Louise Kerwin, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Director of the Center for Behavior Analysis at Rowan University said, “Given the tremendous unmet treatment needs of individuals with autism and other behavioral challenges, this licensure law is critical. It will provide consumers with an accountability mechanism and serve as the foundation for workforce development initiatives to improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of individuals here in New Jersey.”

What’s Next?

This law establishes the State Board of Applied Behavior Analyst Examiners that will license Behavior Analysts, develop regulations for the practice of behavior analysis, and oversee the profession in the State of New Jersey. In the coming months, Governor Murphy will appoint members to this Board, and then Board will promulgate regulations that will provide more detail on the licensing process.

A summary of the law can be found here.

NJABA recognizes that the passage of this law raises questions about the next steps and requirements. The NJABA Government Affairs team is happy to answer your questions as best we can and will provide updates as they become available. For more information, please email governmentaffairs@njaba.org.

Legislative Updates

Behavior Analyst Licensing Act Passes the Assembly (1/31/19)

The Behavior Analyst Licensing Act (A4608) sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16) and Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-11) passed the full Assembly by a vote of 76-1. We are grateful to the bill’s sponsors and the Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) for their leadership and support of this important legislation.

The bill now moves over to the Senate where it has been referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. We will continue to provide updates as the bill advances through the legislative process.

Behavior Analyst Licensing Act Passes Through Assembly Regulated Professions Committee (1/24/19)

On Thursday, January 24th, the Behavior Analyst Licensing Act (A4608) sponsored by Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16), and Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-11) was posted for a vote in the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee. It passed through the committee unanimously.

NJABA and Autism New Jersey were present during the hearing and provided testimony in support of the bill. The committee, which is chaired by bill co-sponsor Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-34), heard requests for amendments from the Arc of NJ and the Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities (ABCD).  NJABA Government Affairs Chair Dr. Suzanne Buchanan then responded to the requests for amendments in her testimony. To address these outstanding concerns, Chairman Giblin requested that Assemblyman Zwicker bring together these three agencies, and Assemblyman Zwicker agreed. The committee then voted to pass the bill without any amendments.

Similar to the Senate version of the bill, the Assembly version is now referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  We will continue to provide updates as the bill advances through the legislative process.

We would like to thank Autism New Jersey, Atlantic Health System, and the New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP) for conveying their support to the Commerce and Regulated Professions committees.

Behavior Analyst Licensing Act Passes Through Senate Commerce Committee (1/3/19)

On Monday, December 3rd, the Senate Commerce Committee and the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee heard testimony on the Behavior Analyst Licensing Act (S3099/A4608) sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-21), Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16), and Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-11).  As leading advocates for this legislation, the New Jersey Association for Behavior Analysis (NJABA) and Autism New Jersey provided oral and written testimony in support of its passage.

 

Assembly Regulated Professions Committee

 

Chaired by Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-34), the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee posted the bill “for discussion only,” meaning the committee would hear testimony but not vote on the bill.  A panel of experts (pictured above) including Dr. Suzanne Buchanan (Autism NJ), Patti Gianone (parent), Dr. Eric Rozenblat (NJABA), Dr. Robert LaRue (Rutgers University), and Dr. Patrick Progar (formerly of Princeton Child Development Institute) provided testimony and answered the committee members’ questions.  The legislative committee members expressed their support of the bill and gratitude for our advocacy on such a critical issue.

 

Senate Commerce Committee

Moments later, the Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by Senator Nellie Pou (D-35) welcomed testimony from the same panel of experts and Sarah Lynn Geiger of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans, all in support of this legislation. There was no formal opposition to the bill, only testimony by the Arc of NJ requesting a few changes to the bill. Following some brief discussion, the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously voted (5-0) to pass the bill out of committee.

What’s Next?

The Senate version of the bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and, sometime in the next few months, the Assembly version will be heard in the Regulated Professions Committee for a vote.  We will continue to provide updates as the bill advances through the legislative process.

We thank the following organizations for conveying their support to the Commerce and Regulated Professions committees.

  • ASAH
  • Atlantic Health System
  • Bancroft
  • New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP)
  • New Jersey Association of Health Plans (NJAHP)

Behavior Analyst Licensing Act Heads to Governor’s Desk (12/17/19)

On Monday, December 16, 2019, the Behavior Analyst Licensing Act (S3099/A4608) passed the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly by votes of 35-2 and 71-1, respectively. The bill now heads to Governor Murphy’s desk for his consideration.

These votes occurred amid an unusually robust agenda of bills on controversial topics and would not have been possible without the commitment and support of legislative leaders, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19). Similarly, we are truly grateful to the bill’s sponsors, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-21), Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16), and Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-11), for their steadfast advocacy and perseverance to ensure NJ residents and families are protected when seeking out and participating in behavior analytic services.

Senate Budget Committee Approves Behavior Analyst Licensing Act (12/05/19)

On Thursday, December 5th, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved the Behavior Analyst Licensing Act (S3099/A4608). This bipartisan legislation is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-21), Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16), and Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-11). NJABA and Autism New Jersey attended the committee hearing to show support and answer any questions from the committee.

After months of working with the legislative sponsors and other advocacy and trade organizations on a few amendments to the bill, we are pleased to see the bill advance towards becoming law. We thank the Budget Chairman Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36), Vice-Chairwoman Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31), and the entire Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for their support. We are also grateful for Senator Weinberg, Senator Kean, Assemblyman Zwicker, and Assemblywoman Downey’s continued commitment to establish state-level regulation and oversight of behavior analysts on behalf of New Jersey consumers.

The Senate version of the bill now heads to the full Senate for a floor vote and, although the bill already received full support from the General Assembly (76-1), it must return there for a concurrence vote due to the recent amendments. If the bill passes, the Legislature sends it to the Governor’s desk.

Behavior Analyst Licensing Bill Introduced in Senate and Assembly (10/23/18)

The New Jersey Association for Behavior Analysis (NJABA) and Autism New Jersey are pleased to announce their strong endorsement of new legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean (R-21) and Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-16) titled, “Behavior Analyst Licensing Act.”  The bill will, for the first time, require licensure for behavior analysts in New Jersey and thus provide the needed protections for the vulnerable populations who they serve.