RULES AND REGULATIONS
BUREAU OF PROFESSIONAL AND OCCUPATIONAL AFFAIRS
[ 49 PA. CODE CH. 43b ]
Schedule of Civil Penalties—Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians
[40 Pa.B. 6664]
[Saturday, November 20, 2010]
The Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs (Commissioner) rescinds § 43b.21 and replaces it with § 43b.21a (relating to schedule of civil penalties—veterinarians and certified veterinary technicians).
The final-form rulemaking will be effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Section 5(a) of the act of July 2, 1993 (P. L. 345, No. 48) (Act 48) (63 P. S. § 2205(a)) authorizes the Commissioner, after consultation with licensing boards and commissions in the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (Bureau), to promulgate regulations setting forth a schedule of civil penalties, guidelines for their imposition and procedures for appeal for: (1) operating without a current and valid license, registration, certificate or permit; and (2) violating an act or regulation of a licensing board or commission relating to the conduct or operation of a business or facility licensed by the board or commission.
Summary of Comments and Bureau's Response
The Commissioner did not receive comments from the public following publication of proposed rulemaking. The House Professional Licensure Committee (HPLC) submitted comments on June 9, 2010. The HPLC recommended that the sections of the proposed rulemaking be reorganized so that each section remains consistent with the previously stated profession. The State Board of Veterinary Medicine (Board) prefers to organize the regulation according to violation rather than licensee class.
The HPLC requested information on how the Commissioner monitors the civil penalty time periods to ensure compliance with the proposed regulation. Also related to time periods, the HPLC questioned the need for adding a new civil penalty time period of 25 to 30 months and requested an explanation on how the Commissioner determined the amount of a civil penalty for practicing in a lapsed license. Based on the records kept by the Board, the Commissioner is able to monitor the date when a license to practice veterinary medicine has expired. When the licensee applies to renew the license, the Commissioner is able to determine the number of months that have lapsed by counting back from the date of attempted renewal to the date of expiration, as shown by the Board's records. A new civil penalty was added for the time period of 25 to 30 months because licensees who have forgotten to renew generally only realize their licenses are expired at the end of a biennial renewal period. This new 25- to 30-month period will provide a simplified disciplinary process for licensees who have failed to renew for two biennial periods. The additional civil penalty during this 25- to 30-month time period is appropriately the highest civil penalty, in that the biennial renewal period has lapsed, yet it provides the licensees with the opportunity to renew licenses without formal action, saving the Commonwealth's money by reducing unnecessary formal actions.
Finally, the HPLC requested an explanation on why a category of failing to display a current certificate for certified veterinary technicians (CVTs) with civil penalty is not included. Neither the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act (63 P. S. §§ 485.1—485.33) nor the Board's regulations require CVTs to display their certificates; therefore, civil penalty cannot be imposed for failing to display a current certificate. The Board is considering a rulemaking to require CVTs to display their current certificates and will adopt a civil penalty for violating the regulatory provision when it is promulgated.
The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) submitted comments on July 7, 2010. IRRC noted the comments made by the HPLC and stated that it would review the responses to the issues raised by the HPLC in its determination of whether the final-form rulemaking is in the public interest.
Fiscal Impact and Paperwork Requirements
The final-form rulemaking would have a positive fiscal impact on the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions and reduce the paperwork requirements of both the Commonwealth and the regulated community by eliminating the need for orders to show cause, answers, consent agreements and adjudications/orders for those violations subject to the Act 48 citation process.
Professional licensure statutes require each board and commission to be self-supporting; therefore, boards and commissions continually monitor the cost effectiveness of regulations affecting their operations. As a result, a sunset date has not been assigned.
Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on April 27, 2010, the Commissioner submitted a copy of the notice of proposed rulemaking, published at 40 Pa.B. 2423 (May 8, 2010), to IRRC and the Chairpersons of the HPLC and the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee (SCP/PLC) for review and comment.
Under section 5(c) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC, the HPLC and the SCP/PLC were provided with copies of the comments received during the public comment period, as well as other documents when requested. In preparing the final-form rulemaking, the Commissioner considered all comments from IRRC, the HPLC, the SCP/PLC and the public.
Under section 5.1(j.2) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5a(j.2)), on September 28, 2010, the final-form rulemaking was approved by HPLC. On October 20, 2010, the final-form rulemaking was deemed approved by the SCP/PLC. Under section 5.1(e) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC met on October 21, 2010, and approved the final-form rulemaking.
The Commissioner finds that:
(1) Public notice of proposed rulemaking was given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240) (45 P. S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations promulgated thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.
(2) A public comment period was provided as required by law and all comments were considered.
(3) This final-form rulemaking is necessary and appropriate for administering and enforcing the authorizing act identified in this preamble.
The Commissioner, acting under its authorizing statute, orders that:
(a) The regulations of the Commissioner, 49 Pa. Code Chapter 43b, are amended by deleting § 43b.21 and by adding § 43b.21a to read as set forth at 40 Pa.B. 2423.
(b) The Board shall submit this order and 40 Pa.B. 2423 to the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Attorney General as required by law.
(c) The Board shall certify this order and 40 Pa.B. 2423 and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.
(d) This order shall take effect immediately upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
BASIL L. MERENDA,
(Editor's Note: For the text of the order of the Independent Regulatory Review Commission relating to this document, see 40 Pa.B. 6487 (November 6, 2010).)
Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 16A-51 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 10-2194. Filed for public inspection November 19, 2010, 9:00 a.m.]
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