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NEW JERSEY REGISTER
VOLUME 35, NUMBER 17
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2003
RULE PROPOSAL

LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
STATE BOARD OF SHORTHAND REPORTING
State Board Of Shorthand Reporting Rules

Proposed Readoption with Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:43

Authorized By: State Board of Shorthand Reporting, Elaine DeMars, Acting Executive Director.

Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:15B-1.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
Proposal Number: PRN 2003-356.

Submit written comments by November 1, 2003 to:

Elaine DeMars, Acting Executive Director

State Board of Shorthand Reporting

PO Box 45019

Newark, NJ 07101

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

Pursuant to Executive Order No. 66(1978), N.J.A.C. 13:43 is scheduled to expire on August 4, 2003. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:14B-5.1c, this date has been extended to January 31, 2004 by the filing of this proposal. The State Board of Shorthand Reporting (the Board) has reviewed these rules and determined them to be necessary, reasonable and proper for the purposes for which they were originally promulgated. The Board proposes to readopt the rules with amendments.

A summary of each subchapter and the proposed amendments follows:

Subchapter 1 describes the duties and methods of operation of the State Board of Shorthand Reporting.

Subchapter 2 details the eligibility requirements for certification as a shorthand reporter and establishes procedures for the temporary employment of non-certified shorthand reporters. The Board is proposing amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:43-2.1, deleting paragraph (a)4 and revising subsection (b), which would no longer require the successful completion of a qualifying test in order to be eligible for certification as a shorthand reporter. The Board believes that this test is no longer necessary and does not improve the pass/fail ratio on the examination administered by the Board for certification. The Board believes that passage of the certification examination is sufficient to determine the applicants ability to work as a shorthand reporter.

Subchapter 3 contains the definitions of "certified shorthand realtime reporter" and "realtime reporting." The subchapter also details the eligibility requirements for certification as a certified shorthand realtime reporter. The Board is proposing an amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:43-3.2 which would no longer require that the applicant pay the application fee by certified check or money order. The applicant will now be permitted to pay by personal check. A corresponding amendment is made to N.J.A.C. 13:43-2.1(a)5 (current (a)6).

The Board is proposing new Subchapter 3A to conform to the new provisions of the Uniform Enforcement Act, N.J.S.A. 45:1-7. Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-3A.1 states that certificates issued by the Board will be issued for two years and details the renewal process. The proposed new rule also states that renewal applications will provide the applicant with the option of either active or inactive status. Those choosing inactive status must pay the inactive license fee and are not permitted to engage in the practice of shorthand reporting. The proposed new rule also states that a certificate holder may still renew his or her certificate within 30 days after the expiration date by submitting a renewal application, license renewal fee and a late fee. A certificate that is not renewed within 30 days of its expiration is automatically suspended and an individual who continues to practice will be deemed to be engaged in unlicensed practice.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-3A.2 details the requirements for the change of certificate status from inactive to active upon payment of a renewal fee. Additionally, if the certificate holder has been on inactive status from two to five years, the certificate holder must complete 15 credits of continuing education. A certificate holder who has been on inactive status for a period of five years or more must take an examination to determine if the certificate holder is still competent to practice shorthand reporting. The Board believes that these certificate holders who have not engaged in the practice of shorthand reporting for at least five years need to demonstrate that the certificate holder still possess the specialized skills necessary to practice shorthand reporting.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-3A.3 details the requirements for the reinstatement of a suspended certificate. The new rule states that an individual whose certificate has been automatically suspended for the nonpayment of a biennial renewal fee may be reinstated by the Board if the individual otherwise qualifies for certification, completes a reinstatement application and submits a certification attesting to whether or not the person has been practicing shorthand reporting during the time period of certificate suspension or whether the person has practiced shorthand reporting in a jurisdiction that does not require certification or licensure. If the individual has been practicing shorthand reporting during the period the certificate was suspended, a verification must be submitted from the licensee's employers. If the certificate has been suspended for a period of two to five years, the individual must complete 15 credits of continuing education. If the certificate has been suspended for more than five years, the individual must take a Board approved examination to demonstrate the applicant's ability to practice shorthand reporting. The applicant must also pay a reinstatement fee and all past delinquent biennial renewal fees.

Subchapter 4 details the examination requirements for certified shorthand reporters and certified shorthand realtime reporters. The Board is proposing an amendment to remove the provision in N.J.A.C. 13:43-4.1(b)3 which requires the examination candidate to read aloud part of the dictated matter. The Board believes this practice is unnecessary in current practice and is not essential to prove the competence of the certification candidate. The proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:43-4.3(c) is intended to clarify that an applicant must obtain the minimum score on the four voice section within the next six consecutive examination periods so the applicant's examination process is completed in a timely fashion. The Board is also proposing several technical changes to the subchapter.

Subchapter 5 includes provisions on the change of address, prohibited practices, disclosure of title and certification number, note and transcript retention policy, validity of rules, standards of practice and transcript format. The Board is proposing to reserve N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.1 and 5.2 because the certification provisions in these sections are covered in proposed new Subchapter 3A.

Subchapter 6 contains the fees for the Board. The proposed amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1 provides for an inactive license fee.

Subchapter 7 contains the continuing education requirements for certificate holders.

The Board has provided a 60-day comment period on this proposal. Therefore, the proposal is exempt from the rulemaking calendar requirement pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5.

Social Impact

The proposed readoption of N.J.A.C. 13:43 and the proposed amendments will benefit both the public and certificate holders. An analysis of the social impact of each subchapter follows:

Subchapter 1 will have a beneficial impact on the public by setting forth the duties of the Board which include the certification of shorthand reporters and disciplinary action against those who violate provisions of the Shorthand Reporting Act, N.J.S.A. 45:1-14 et seq., and N.J.A.C. 13:43.

Subchapter 2 will benefit both certificate holders and the public. The eligibility standards for certified shorthand reporters set forth in the rule will benefit applicants by making them aware of the requirements for certification and the public will benefit from the knowledge that certificate holders meet all requirements for certification. The proposed amendment deleting the qualifying examination will benefit applicants for certification by removing an examination that bears no relevance to the applicant's ability to practice shorthand reporting. Additionally, the provisions establishing procedures for the temporary employment of non-certified shorthand reporters will have a positive impact on the public by assuring consumers that competent individuals are reporting court proceedings and depositions by delineating specific instances where a non-certified reporter may be utilized and limiting the use of non-certified reporters to those with RPR status and those with conditional credit status.

Subchapter 3 will benefit both certificate holders and the public by setting forth the eligibility standards for certified shorthand realtime reporters. The eligibility standards for certified shorthand realtime reporters set forth in the rule will benefit applicants by making them aware of the requirements for certification and the public will benefit from the knowledge that certificate holders meet all requirements for certification.

Proposed new Subchapter 3A will benefit certificate holders and the public. Certificate holders will benefit from the knowledge of how to renew their certificate or apply for inactive status. The public will benefit from the knowledge that all certificate holders meet the qualifications for recertification.

Subchapter 4, which details the examination requirements, will benefit the public by ensuring that certified shorthand reporters and certified shorthand realtime reporters have completed the examination requirements that the Board has determined necessary to competently perform shorthand reporting.

Subchapter 5, which contains prohibited practices, disclosure and transcript requirements and standards of practice, will benefit the public by ensuring that certificate holders are free from any actual or perceived conflict of interest which would impact on and/or taint their impartiality. Certificate holders will benefit from the public's greater confidence in the integrity of the profession and open competition for employment.

Subchapter 6 has no social impact.

Subchapter 7, detailing the requirements for continuing education, will have a positive impact upon the public and the regulated community by requiring continuing education of certified shorthand reporters. The rules will benefit the public and certificate holders by strengthening the integrity of shorthand reporting. The continuing education of certified shorthand reporters will ensure that certificate holders are up to date with technological advances, any changes that take place in the industry, and ethical questions facing shorthand reporters.

Economic Impact

The rules proposed for readoption and the proposed new rules will have an economic impact on certificate holders of the Board of Shorthand Reporting.

Subchapter 2 requires applicants for certification as a certified shorthand reporter to pay the application fee. Additionally, the rules will have a positive economic impact upon the public and the regulated community by ensuring accurate transcripts. The rules may also have an economic impact upon those using the services of shorthand reporters with the possible increase in fees for the utilization of shorthand reporting services because the rule places additional administrative requirements on reporting entities. The rules will provide certified shorthand reporters greater opportunities in the profession by establishing procedures for the temporary employment of non- certified shorthand.

Subchapter 3 requires applicants for certification as a certified shorthand realtime reporter to pay an application fee.

Proposed new Subchapter 3A will have an economic impact on certificate holders. Applicants for certification renewal will incur costs in paying the renewal fee, may incur a late fee if they fail to renew their certificate within 30 days of its expiration and may incur a reinstatement fee if their certificate is not renewed within 30 days of expiration.

Subchapter 5 will have a positive impact on the public by ensuring integrity and uniformity in the preparation of transcripts. N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.4 may have a minimal negative economic impact on some certificate holders because they will not be permitted to provide reporting services if they have a conflict of interest by participating in the proceedings.

The fee schedule in Subchapter 6 will have a direct economic impact on certificate holders and to the extent the fees may be passed along to the public as a cost of practice, has an indirect economic impact on consumers.

Subchapter 7 will have an economic impact on the regulated community since certified shorthand reporters will be required to complete the required number of continuing education courses at their own expense. The cost of continuing education courses is established by sponsors who offer such courses. Course providers will also be affected by these rules as they will be subject to a $100.00 fee for the Board to review continuing education programs.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required because the rules proposed for readoption with amendments are governed by N.J.S.A. 45:15B-1 and are not subject to any Federal requirements or standards.

Jobs Impact

N.J.A.C. 13:43-2.2 regarding the temporary employment of non-certified shorthand reporters should have a positive impact upon certified reporters. Certified reporters should be afforded greater opportunities in the profession because the rule requires certified shorthand reporters to provide efficient supervision of the non-certified shorthand reporters. Thus, job opportunities for certified reporters may increase. Additionally, if a certificate holder does not complete the continuing education requirements as set forth in Subchapter 7 during each renewal period, the certificate may be suspended. The Board does not expect the remainder of the rules to result in the generation or loss of jobs in the State.

Agriculture Industry Impact

The rules proposed for readoption and the proposed amendments will have no impact on the agriculture industry in the State.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

The Regulatory Flexibility Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq. (the Act), requires the Board to give a description of the types and an estimate of the number of small businesses to which the rules proposed for readoption with amendments will apply. If, for the purposes of the Act, the approximately 1,300 Board certified shorthand reporters are considered "small businesses" within the meaning of the Act, then the following analysis applies.

The Act requires the Board to set forth the reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements of the rules proposed for readoption with amendments including the kinds of professional services likely to be needed to comply with the requirements. The Act further requires the Board to estimate the initial and annual compliance costs, outline the manner in which it has designed the rules to minimize any adverse economic impact upon small businesses, and to set forth whether the rules establish differing compliance requirements for small businesses.

The rules proposed for readoption and the proposed amendments do not contain any reporting requirements. However, recordkeeping requirements are contained in the rules. Subchapter 2 requires the retention of affidavits and consent forms applicable to the temporary employment of certified shorthand reporters. Subchapter 5 requires certificate holders retain all notes and records in both civil and criminal matters. Subchapter 7 details the requirements for maintaining documentation which verifies completion of the continuing education requirements.

The rules and amendments contain numerous compliance requirements.

Subchapter 2 contains eligibility requirements which applicants must meet in order to qualify for certification as a certified shorthand reporter.

Subchapter 3 contains eligibility requirements which applicants must meet in order to qualify for certification as a certified shorthand realtime reporter.

Proposed new Subchapter 3A sets forth requirements for the certification renewal, inactive status and the reinstatement of a suspended license.

Subchapter 4 details the examination requirements for candidates for certification.

Subchapter 5 contains various requirements for certificate holders including change of address, specific practices which certificate holders may not engage in, disclosure, standards of practice and transcript preparation.

Subchapter 7 sets forth the requirements for the completion of continuing education credits.

Costs of compliance with the rules are discussed in the Economic Impact above. The Board believes that no professional services are likely to be needed to comply with the rules proposed for readoption or the amendments. The Board considers the rules proposed for readoption with amendments necessary to protect consumers utilizing shorthand reporting services. Compliance requirements do not differ based on size of the business in order to ensure that all shorthand reporting services are provided uniformly throughout the State.

Smart Growth Impact

The Board does not anticipate that the rules proposed for readoption with amendments will have any impact on the achievement of smart growth and implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, otherwise known as the State Plan.

Full text of the proposed readoption may be found in the New Jersey Administrative Code at N.J.A.C. 13:43.

Full text of the proposed amendments follows:

<< NJ ADC 13:43-2.1 >>

13:43-2.1 Eligibility for certification as a certified shorthand reporter

(a) In order to qualify for certification as a certified shorthand reporter, an applicant shall:

1.-3. (No change.)

<<-4. Have obtained a certification from a school of shorthand reporting approved by the Board stating that the applicant has successfully completed a qualifying test which meets the following criteria:->>

<<-i. Total word count shall consist of 1,125 words dictated by four individuals at 225 words per minute;->>

<<-ii. The examination shall be administered and completed at the examination site;->>

<<-iii. Candidates shall be given one hour and 20 minutes for transcription;->>

<<-iv. Candidates shall have the opportunity to utilize dictionaries during transcription;->>

<<-v. Transcripts shall be prepared with standard typewriters or word processors which utilize computer aided transcription (CAT) programs.->>

<<-vi. A score of 95 percent shall be considered successful passage of the qualifying examination; and->>

<<-vii. The qualifying examination shall consist of original material not previously dictated.->>

<<-5.->><<+4.+>> Have submitted a completed application form to the Board not less than three weeks before the date of the examination required in (a)<<-7->><<+6+>> below;

<<-6.->><<+5.+>> Paid the application fee set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1 <<-by certified check or money order made payable to the "State of New Jersey, Board of Shorthand Reporting"->>;

Recodify existing 7.-8. as <<+6.-7.+>> (No change in text.)

<<-(b) An applicant who possesses a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) Certification issued by the National Court Reporters Association shall not be required to take the qualifying examination as stated in (a)4 above and shall only be required to successfully complete the four-voice section of the certification examination as required by (a)7 above to become certified. In order to qualify for exemption from the qualifying examination and be solely required to successfully complete the four-voice section of the certification examination, an applicant with RPR Certification shall:->>

<<-1. Submit written verification to the Board of current RPR status with each certification examination application;->>

<<-2. Be required to apply and sit for the next available examination upon applying for exemption from the qualifying examination; and->>

<<-3. Maintain current RPR Certification in good standing to maintain conditional credit status.->>

<<+(b) An applicant who possesses a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) Certification issued by the National Court Reporters Association shall successfully complete the four-voice section of the certification examination required by (a)6 above and maintain current RPR Certification in good standing to become certified by the Board.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:43-3.2 >>

13:43-3.2 Eligibility for certification as a certified shorthand realtime reporter

(a) In order to be eligible for certification as a realtime reporter, an applicant shall:

1.-2. (No change.)

3. Submit the application fee set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1 <<-by certified check or money order made payable to the State of New Jersey, Board of Shorthand Reporting->>;

4.-5. (No change.)

<<+SUBCHAPTER 3A. BIENNIAL CERTIFICATE RENEWAL; INACTIVE STATUS+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:43-3A.1 >>

<<+13:43-3A.1 Certificate renewal+>>

<<+(a) All certificates issued by the Board shall be issued for a two-year biennial renewal period. A certificate holder who seeks renewal of the certificate shall submit a certificate renewal application and the certificate renewal fee set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1 prior to the expiration date of the certificate.+>>

<<+(b) Renewal applications shall provide the applicant with the option of either active or inactive status. A certificate holder electing inactive status shall pay the inactive license fee set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1, and shall not engage in the practice of shorthand reporting.+>>

<<+(c) If the certificate holder does not renew the certificate prior to its expiration date, the certificate holder may renew it within 30 days of its expiration by submitting a renewal application, a renewal fee and a late fee, as set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1.+>>

<<+(d) A certificate that is not renewed within 30 days of its expiration shall be automatically suspended. An individual who continues to practice with a suspended certificate shall be deemed to be engaged in unlicensed practice.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:43-3A.2 >>

<<+13:43-3A.2 Change of certification status: inactive to active+>>

<<+(a) A certificate holder, upon application to the Board, may change from inactive to active status upon payment of the renewal fee as set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1.+>>

<<+(b) A certificate holder on inactive status from two to five years shall complete 15 credits of continuing education.+>>

<<+(c) A certificate holder who has been on inactive status for a period of five or more years shall take an examination that has been determined by the Board to test the applicant's ability to practice shorthand reporting.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:43-3A.3 >>

<<+13:43-3A.3 Reinstatement of suspended certificate.+>>

<<+(a) An individual whose certificate has been automatically suspended for failure to renew as provided by N.J.A.C. 13:43-3A.1(d) may be reinstated by the Board, provided the applicant otherwise qualifies for certification pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:43-2.1 and 3.1, and submits a completed reinstatement application and one of the following to the Board:+>>

<<+1. Certification of licensure or certification in good standing from any other state or jurisdiction in which the applicant has practiced shorthand reporting during the period the certificate was suspended in this State;+>>

<<+2. Certification by the applicant stating that he or she has practiced shorthand reporting in a state or jurisdiction which does not require certification or licensure, during the period the certificate was suspended in this State; or+>>

<<+3. Certification stating that the applicant has not practiced shorthand reporting, in this or any other jurisdiction during the period the certificate was suspended in this State.+>>

<<+(b) An individual who has practiced shorthand reporting in the manner described in (a)1 or 2 above shall submit written verification, on a form provided by the Board, from all of the applicant's employers. The verification shall document dates of employment from the date the New Jersey certificate was suspended to the date of application for reinstatement, and the name, address and telephone number of each employer.+>>

<<+(c) An individual whose certificate has been automatically suspended for failure to renew as provided by N.J.A.C. 13:43-3A.1(d) for a period of two to five years shall complete 15 credits of continuing education.+>>

<<+(d) An individual whose certificate has been automatically suspended for a period of more than five years shall successfully complete the examination required for initial licensure as set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:43-4.1.+>>

<<+(e) Prior to reinstatement, an applicant shall pay a reinstatement fee and all past delinquent biennial renewal fees pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:43- 6.1.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:43-4.1 >>

13:43-4.1 Examinations for certification as a certified shorthand reporter; frequency; components; materials to be furnished by applicant; test materials to be surrendered to the Board; failure to complete the examination; score necessary for certification

(a) (No change.)

(b) As part of the examination, a candidate:

1. (No change.)

2. Shall be required to transcribe the dictated matter on a typewriter, word processor, or computer furnished by the candidate or in such other manner as may be approved by the Board; <<+and+>>

<<-3. Shall be required to read aloud such part of the dictated matter as the Board may require upon prior notice to the candidates; and->>

<<-4.->><<+3.+>> (No change in text.)

(c)-(d) (No change.)

<< NJ ADC 13:43-4.3 >>

13:43-4.3 Conditional credit rule

(a)-(b) (No change.)

(c) An RPR applicant who does not successfully complete the four-voice section of the next available certification examination shall be considered a conditional credit applicant for the purposes of N.J.A.C. 13:43-2.2 and shall be required to obtain a minimum score of 95 percent on the four-voice section within <<+the next+>> six consecutive examination periods <<- subsequent to the initial examination referenced in N.J.A.C. 13:43-2.1(a) 4->>. In the event that the RPR applicant fails to receive a passing grade on the four-voice section within <<+the next+>> six consecutive examination periods <<-subsequent to the initial examination referenced in N.J.A.C. 13:43-2.1(b)2->>, the applicant shall forfeit the conditional credit and revert to the status of new applicant and shall be required to successfully complete all sections of the certification examination.

<< NJ ADC 13:43-4.4 >>

13:43-4.4 Examination for certification as a certified shorthand realtime reporter; frequency; components; process; materials to be furnished by the applicant; grading

(a)-(d) (No change.)

(e) In order for a candidate to be awarded a certificate, he or she shall attain a grade of 95 percent on <<-each of->> the section<<-s->> dictated and written in realtime.

<< NJ ADC 13:43-5.1 >>

13:43-5.1 <<-Biennial certification for certified shorthand reporters->> <<+(Reserved)+>>

<<-(a) Prior to the expiration of the current biennial certification period, the certified shorthand reporter shall submit an application for certification renewal together with the biennial certification renewal fee as set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1.->>

<<-(b) If the certified shorthand reporter fails to renew his or her certification on or before the date specified in the certification renewal notice, the certification shall lapse and be considered invalid.->>

<< NJ ADC 13:43-5.2 >>

13:43-5.2 <<-Biennial certification for certified shorthand realtime reporters->> <<+(Reserved)+>>

<<-(a) Prior to the expiration of the current biennial certification period, the certified shorthand realtime reporter shall submit an application for renewal.->>

<<-(b) A new biennial certification shall be issued by the Board upon the applicant's submission of proof of a current New Jersey shorthand reporter's certification.->>

SUBCHAPER 6. FEES

<< NJ ADC 13:43-6.1 >>

13:43-6.1 Fee schedule

(a) The following fees shall be charged by the Board:

1.-10. (No change.)

<<+11. Inactive license fee (to be determined by the Director by rule)+>>



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Posted September 2, 2003