INDEPENDENT REGULATORY REVIEW COMMISSION
Notice of Comments Issued
[35 Pa.B. 4029]
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 public 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final-form regulation must be submitted within 2 years of the close of the public comment period or it will be deemed withdrawn.
Reg. No. Agency/Title Close of the Public Comment Period IRRC Comments Issued 8-9 Department of General Services and Department of Agriculture
General Provisions; Device Type Approval and State Metrology Laboratory
35 Pa.B. 2631 (April 30, 2005)
5/31/05 6/30/05 16A-6912 State Board of Social Workers,
Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors
35 Pa.B. 2640 (April 30, 2005)
Department of General Services and Department of Agriculture Regulation #8-9 (IRRC #2478)
General Provisions; Device Type Approval and State Metrology Laboratory
June 30, 2005
We submit for your 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 Department of General Services (DGS) and the Department of Agriculture (Department) must respond to these comments when the final-form regulation is submitted. The public comment period for this regulation closed on May 31, 2005. If the final-form regulation is not delivered within two years of the close of the public comment period, the regulation will be deemed withdrawn.
1. Section 110.2--State Metrology Laboratory fee schedule.--Clarity.
Section 4178 of Act 155 of 1996 (Act) exempts agencies of the Commonwealth, cities and counties from paying fees associated with calibration, evaluation and other testing procedures done by the State Metrology Laboratory as outlined in this regulation. Subsection (b) of this section repeats the exemption found in Section 4178 of the Act for cities and counties, but does not include the exemption for agencies of the Commonwealth.
To be consistent with Section 4178 of the Act, the exemption for Commonwealth agencies should be added to this subsection.
This subsection requires a deposit to be submitted when a testing request is made. DGS staff has indicated that the required deposit of the estimated fee for testing services is non-refundable. Therefore, this subsection should clarify that the deposit is non-refundable.
State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors Regulation #16A-6912 (IRRC #2479)
June 30, 2005
We submit for your 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 Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors (Board) must respond to these comments when it submits the final-form regulation. The public comment period for this regulation closed on May 31, 2005. If the final-form regulation is not delivered within two years of the close of the public comment period, the regulation will be deemed withdrawn.
This proposed regulation amends three chapters in establishing procedures and requirements for continuing education for four groups of licensees: social workers, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors. The format and content of the provisions in each chapter are similar. Provisions with similar content generating similar concerns and questions are grouped together in the following paragraphs.
1. Sections 47.32, 48.32 and 49.32. Requirement for biennial renewal.--Reasonableness, Implementation procedure.
These sections state that the continuing education requirement is effective for ''2007 renewals and thereafter.'' In its comments on the proposed regulation, the House Professional Licensure Committee (House Committee) expressed concern that licensees who currently do not have a continuing education requirement may not have received adequate notice of the new requirement. The Board should explain how all licensees can reasonably meet the continuing education requirements for 2007 license renewals. Alternatively, it should extend the deadline.
2. Sections 47.33, 48.33 and 49.33. Acceptable continuing education courses and programs.--Consistency with statute; Reasonableness; Clarity.
Subsection (c) Practice building
In these sections, this subsection states: ''The Board will not approve courses or programs in office management or in marketing the practice.'' The House Committee recommends using the statutory phrase ''practice building'' (63 P. S. § 1918(a)) in the regulation rather than ''marketing the practice.'' We concur.
Subsection (d) Home study
This subsection provides that licensees may accrue credits using home study courses offered by approved providers if the home study course has specific learning objectives which the provider evaluates to assure that learning has taken place. The House Committee questions how evaluations of such courses would be implemented and asks the Board to provide examples. We agree.
3. Sections 47.36, 48.36 and 49.36. Preapproved providers of continuing education courses and programs.--Clarity.
Commentators offered several additions or corrections to the lists of preapproved providers in Subsection (a). The Board should review these lists so that they are complete and accurate in the final-form regulation.
4. Sections 47.37, 48.38 and 49.38. Reporting by licensee of hours spent in continuing education.--Reasonableness; Implementation procedure; Clarity.
Subsection (a) Certified statement
The existing provision for social workers in Section 47.37 is being amended by deleting the requirement to use ''forms approved by the Board.'' The amended regulation would require a licensee to ''provide a signed statement certifying that the continuing education requirements have been met.'' The same new language appears in Sections 48.38 and 49.38. The House Committee and commentators expressed concern and confusion with this change. It is our understanding that the license renewal form will include the ''statement'' referenced in this subsection. If this is the case, the final-form regulation should state that the certification is included in the license renewal form that licensees are required to submit.
Subsection (b) Required audit information
Paragraph (7) requires the licensee to provide ''the Board approval number assigned to the course or program'' if a licensee is selected for an audit of continuing education clock hours. Do all preapproved organizations have an approval number for each course or program? If not, this provision should be amended.
5. Sections 48.37 and 49.37. Other sources of continuing education.--Clarity.
Subsection (a)(3) allows consideration of clock hours for ''Publications of articles, books and research relating to the practice of social work or clinical social work'' (emphasis added). This subsection should be amended to allow clock hours for publications of articles, books and research relating to the practice regulated by Chapters 48 (relating to marriage and family therapists) or 49 (relating to professional counselors) respectively.
6. Miscellaneous Clarity Issues.
The House Committee noted an inconsistency that applies to existing language in Section 47.33(a) and similar language proposed for Sections 48.33(a) and 49.33(a). Subsection (a) in all three sections states: ''Only courses or programs offered by Board approved providers will be accepted for continuing education credit.'' However, Subsection (a) in Sections 47.36a, 48.37 and 49.37 states that ''clock hours may be granted on a case-by-case basis'' for activities not offered or sponsored by Board approved providers. As suggested by the House Committee, Sections 47.33(a), 48.33(a) and 49.33(a) should be amended to note this exception.
Subsection 48.33(d) includes this statement:A licensee may accrue up to 20 of the required clock hours in home study courses offered by approved providers if the home study course has specific learning objectives which the provider evaluates to assure that learning has taken place. (Emphasis added).
Sections 47.33(d) and 49.33(d) include the same statement except for one difference. The singular word ''course'' is not included. Why is the word ''course'' included in one section but not in the other two?
JOHN R. MCGINLEY, Jr.,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 05-1360. Filed for public inspection July 15, 2005, 9:00 a.m.]
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