Notice of Comments Issued
[33 Pa.B. 5886]
Section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(g)) provides that the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (Commission) may issue comments within 30 days of the close of the Committee comment period. The Commission comments are based upon the criteria contained in section 5.2 of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5b).
The Commission has issued comments on the following proposed regulations. The agency must consider these comments in preparing the final-form regulation. The final-form regulation must be submitted within 2 years of the close of the public comment period or it will be deemed withdrawn.
Close of the Public IRRC Comments Reg. No. Agency/Title Comment Period Issued 16A-561 State Real Estate Commission
10/14/03 11/13/03 (33 Pa.B. 4571 (September 13, 2003)) 16A-489 State Board of Funeral Directors
10/14/03 11/13/03 (33 Pa.B. 4569 (September 13, 2003))
State Real Estate Commission
Regulation No. 16A-561
November 13, 2003
We submit for consideration the following comments that include references to the criteria in the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5b) which have not been met. The State Real Estate Commission (SREC) must respond to these comments when it submits the final-form regulation. The public comment period for this regulation closed on October 14, 2003. If the final-form regulation is not delivered within 2 years of the close of the public comment period, the regulation will be deemed withdrawn.
SREC uses the terms ''continuing education provider,'' ''education provider'' and ''provider'' throughout the regulation. It seems that these terms are used interchangeably. The term defined in § 35.201 is ''real estate education provider.'' For clarity, one consistent term should be used throughout the regulation.
2. Section 35.341. Approval of education providers.--Clarity.
Paragraph (5) requires a provider to ''post a surety bond of $10,000 to the Commonwealth for the protection of the contractual rights of the provider's students.'' Is $10,000 sufficient to protect the provider's students? SREC should explain how it arrived at the $10,000 figure and whether the amount will be enough to provide refunds in the event a provider fails to perform.
3. Section 35.352. Location and facilities.--Clarity.
A commentator stated that the language in subsection (b)(2) conflicts with an SREC-issued policy statement dated June 5, 2003. This policy statement allows continuing education courses to be provided at a number of places, including the company/broker's location. Is it SREC's intent to prohibit a continuing education course from taking place at a company/broker's location?
4. Section 35.357. Student enrollment agreements.--Reasonableness.
SREC is deleting this entire section ''in order to avoid private contractual matters between providers and students.'' We agree that there is no need for SREC to mandate the form of these agreements. However, this section contains important safeguards for both the student and the schools. We believe that the final-form regulation should retain the requirement for a written agreement.
Furthermore, SREC should specify the minimum elements that must be included in the agreement, such as the tuition, fees and refund policies.
5. Section 35.358. Administration of curriculum.--Reasonableness; Clarity.
Subsection (b)(2) states ''A prelicensure course shall be graded by written examination. . . .'' Some prelicensure courses are completed by distance education. To ensure that the registrant is taking the examination, the SREC should add language that will set forth the procedures for ensuring that the registrant completes the exam.
State Board of Funeral Directors
Regulation No. 16A-489
November 13, 2003
We submit for consideration the following comments that include references to the criteria in the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5b) which have not been met. The State Board of Funeral Directors (Board) must respond to these comments when it submits the final-form regulation. The public comment period for this regulation closed on October 14, 2003. If the final-form regulation is not delivered within 2 years of the close of the public comment period, the regulation will be deemed withdrawn.
1. Section 13.231. Biennial registration; unregistered status and inactive status; failure to renew.--Clarity.
Subsection (a) states, in part, ''The Board will grant an application for renewal of a funeral director license only when the licensee has certified that the licensee has completed the amount of continuing education required by § 13.401 (relating to credit hour requirements). If requested by the Board, an application for renewal shall also include the documentation required by § 13.402 (relating to reporting completion of continuing education).'' (Emphasis added.) We have two concerns.
First, based on our discussions with the Board, we understand that licensees will be required to verify, not certify, that they have met the continuing education requirements on their license renewal application. Therefore, we recommend that the word ''certified'' be changed to ''verified.''
Second, the final-form regulation should specify under what circumstances the Board will require additional information to be submitted with the original application.
2. Section 13.401. Credit hour requirements.--Statutory authority. Clarity.
The title of this section includes the phrase ''credit hour.'' How many minutes are in a credit hour? Does a credit hour include any break periods? Clarity would be improved by defining ''credit hour'' in the final-form regulation.
Subsection (b) states, in part, ''. . . the Board will not renew or reactivate any funeral director license until all continuing education required prior to the current biennial renewal period has been successfully completed.''
Section 10(b)(5) of the Funeral Director Law (63 P. S. § 479.10(b)(5)) states ''A licensee seeking to reinstate an inactive or lapsed license shall show proof of compliance with the continuing education requirement for the preceding biennium.'' We question the Board's statutory authority to require a licensee seeking to reinstate an inactive or lapsed license to complete more than the continuing education requirements of the preceding biennium. The Board should amend subsection (b) to be consistent with the statute or explain its authority to require additional continuing education.
3. Section 13.402. Reporting completion of continuing education.--Clarity.
Subsection (a) states that proof of completion of a continuing education course shall be the continuing education record. Based on our discussions with the Board, it is our understanding that applicants for license renewal do not have to provide documentation to prove that they have met the continuing education requirements. Instead, applicants will verify that they have met the requirements on their biennial license renewal application. The Board has indicated that licensees will be subject to audit of their continuing education records. The final-form regulation should specify how long a licensee is required to keep continuing education records for potential audit purposes.
Subsection (b) states that a funeral director who does not have continuing education records that comply with § 13.401 ''shall otherwise demonstrate completion of courses of continuing education.'' What documentation is sufficient to ''otherwise demonstrate completion of courses of continuing education''?
4. Section 13.403. Credit for approved continuing education.
Under this subsection, credit for continuing education courses will be granted only for courses that have been approved in advance by the Board. How will licensees know which courses have been approved by the Board? Has the Board considered maintaining a list of approved courses and providers on its website?
This subsection refers to ''any course for which continuing education is precluded by section 10 of the act.'' However, the only course the act precludes continuing education credit for is ''any course in office management.'' The final-form regulation should specify that continuing education credit will not be granted for any course in office management.
5. Section 13.404. Approval of continuing education courses or providers.--Clarity.
Subsection (e) lists the circumstances under which the Board may terminate its prior approval of a provider or program. When the Board takes action under this subsection, how will licensees be notified?
6. Section 13.405. Provider responsibilities.--Reasonableness; Clarity.
Subsection (b) specifies the information that the provider must include in the continuing education record for each participant. The information contained in these records would be valuable in tracking licensee compliance with the continuing education requirements. Has the Board considered requiring continuing education providers to supply the Board with records for each course it provides?
JOHN R. MCGINLEY, Jr.,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 03-2285. Filed for public inspection November 26, 2003, 9:00 a.m.]
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