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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 13-662



[ 49 PA. CODE CH. 45 ]

Termination of Grandfather Provisions

[43 Pa.B. 2042]
[Saturday, April 13, 2013]

 The State Board of Examiners in Speech-Language and Hearing (Board) proposes to amend § 45.21 (relating to waivers) to read as set forth in Annex A.

Effective Date

 The proposed rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Statutory Authority

 Section 5(2) of the Speech-Language and Hearing Licensure Act (act) (63 P. S. § 1705(2)) authorizes the Board to adopt and revise rules and regulations consistent with the act as may be necessary to implement the provisions of the act.

Background and Need for the Rulemaking

 In 1984, the General Assembly created the Board and first authorized and required licensure of speech-language pathologists, audiologists and teachers of the hearing impaired. To be licensed under section 7(a) of the act (63 P. S. § 1707(a)), an applicant shall: hold a master's degree in speech-language pathology, audiology or education of the hearing impaired, as appropriate, or the equivalent from an accredited institution; have at least 1 year of supervised professional experience in the appropriate field; and pass a licensure examination. However, at the time the act was passed, the General Assembly recognized that persons were already practicing who may not meet the newly established licensure standards and did not intend to prohibit these existing practitioners from continuing to practice if they met certain minimum qualifications. Accordingly, section 7(c) of the act provides a waiver of the newly enacted requirements for existing practitioners who, as of the effective date of the act, held a bachelor's degree in the appropriate field, had been employed as a practitioner for at least 9 consecutive months in the 3 years immediately preceding the effective date of the act and filed an application with the Board. The act was effective February 19, 1985. Therefore, in its initial regulations promulgated in 1988, the Board provided in § 45.21(c) that it would waive the newly enacted requirements for an applicant who held an appropriate bachelor's degree by February 19, 1985, and was employed as a practitioner for at least 9 consecutive months between February 19, 1982, and February 19, 1985. The regulations do not include a termination date for licensure of existing practitioners under this waiver provision.

 In providing for licensure of these existing practitioners, the General Assembly required under section 7(c)(2) of the act that the Board apply the relaxed licensure ''requirements for any applicant who, on the effective date of this act: (2) files an application with the board. . . .'' While it would not be reasonable to require each existing practitioner to apply exactly on February 19, 1985, the General Assembly must have intended that existing practitioners apply within a reasonable time after enactment of the act. It has now been 27 years since the act was enacted. Clearly, 27 years is much longer than a reasonable period of time in which to apply for licensure under the more relaxed standards for ''existing practitioners.'' Accordingly, the Board proposes to eliminate the process by which those individuals that qualified as ''existing practitioners'' in 1985 apply for licensure under the waiver provision.

Description of Proposed Rulemaking

 The proposed rulemaking would amend § 45.21 to provide that the Board will no longer license applicants who apply under the ''existing practitioner'' provision in the act.

Fiscal Impact and Paperwork Requirements

 The proposed rulemaking would not have a fiscal impact on, or create additional paperwork for, the regulated community, the general public or the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions as it is eliminating an outdated waiver provision.

Sunset Date

 The Board continuously monitors the effectiveness of its regulations. Therefore, a sunset date has not been assigned.

Regulatory Review

 Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on April 2, 2013, the Board submitted a copy of this proposed rulemaking and a copy of a Regulatory Analysis Form to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and the Chairpersons of the House Professional Licensure Committee and the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. A copy of this material is available to the public upon request.

 Under section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC may convey comments, recommendations or objections to the proposed rulemaking within 30 days of the close of the public comment period. The comments, recommendations or objections must specify the regulatory review criteria which have not been met. The Regulatory Review Act specifies detailed procedures for review, prior to final publication of the rulemaking, by the Board, the General Assembly and the Governor of comments, recommendations or objections raised.

Public Comment

 Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, recommendations or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking to Regulatory Unit Counsel, Department of State, P. O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649, within 30 days of publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. When submitting comments, reference No. 16A-6806 (termination of grandfather provisions).


Fiscal Note: 16A-6806. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A





Subchapter B. LICENSURE

§ 45.21. Waivers.

(a) The Board will waive the education, experience and examination requirements of this subchapter for an applicant who:

*  *  *  *  *

[(4) Earned a bachelor's degree, as of February 19, 1985, with a major, as appropriate, in speech-language pathology, audiology or teaching of the hearing-impaired from an accredited college or university, and was employed in the appropriate field as a speech-language pathologist, audiologist or teacher of the hearing-impaired for at least 9 consecutive months during the period February 19, 1982—February 19, 1985. The applicant shall file an application with the Board, and shall cause the degree-awarding institution and the applicable employer to submit to the Board certification of degree and certification of employment status. An applicant who was self-employed during the applicable period shall so certify.]

(b) The Board will not grant a license under section 7(c) of the act (63 P. S. § 1707(c)) to an applicant who applies after ______ (Editor's Note: The blank refers to the effective date of adoption of this proposed rulemaking.).

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 13-662. Filed for public inspection April 12, 2013, 9:00 a.m.]

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