VOLUME 37, ISSUE 24
ISSUE DATE: DECEMBER 19, 2005
LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
STATE BOARD OF SHORTHAND REPORTING
37 N.J.R. 4875(a)
Proposed Amendment: N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1
Authorized By: State Board of Shorthand Reporting, Dianne Tamaroglio, Executive Director.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:15B-1 and 45:1-3.2.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to the calendar requirements.
Proposal Number: PRN 2005-468.
Submit comments by February 17, 2006 to:
Dianne Tamaroglio, Executive Director
State Board of Shorthand Reporting
124 Halsey Street
Post Office Box 45019
Newark, New Jersey 07101
The agency proposal follows:
The State Board of Shorthand Reporting (the Board) proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1, which sets forth the Board's fee schedule. Under the statutory authority set forth in N.J.S.A. 45:1-3.2, a professional board's fees must be established in an amount necessary to defray proper expenses incurred in performing its duties, but such fees may not be raised in an amount in excess of the amount estimated to allow the Board to carry out its duties. A fiscal analysis conducted by the Division of Consumer Affairs (the Division) revealed that the proposed fee increases are necessary and appropriate to satisfy the Board's current and anticipated expense levels and to comport with the requirements of N.J.S.A. 45:1-3.2.
Based on the analysis conducted by the Division, the Board is proposing that application fees, examination fees and initial and renewal certification fees for shorthand reporters and shorthand realtime reporters be increased in order to raise revenues to meet anticipated expense levels consistent with the Board's statutory obligation. The Board is also proposing an increase in the fees charged for late renewal and reinstatement. The fees that are the subject of this proposal are necessary for the Board to perform its statutory obligations to the regulated community and to the public at large in maintaining professional and ethical business practices in the provision of shorthand reporting services. The fees established in N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1 provide the Board with its primary source of revenue and are all allocated to the Board's on-going maintenance costs including: salaries of Board staff and Board member per diem compensation; costs incurred in regulating the licensed community, such as reviewing and filing data submitted by certificate holders; responding to complaints and concerns of consumers and the public at large; adjudicating disciplinary matters with regard to certificate holders; regulating compliance requirements of certificate holders; and the general regulation of the licensed community. Moreover, the Board must reimburse different Divisions and Bureaus of the State for services rendered and costs prorated to the Board for various initiatives. These costs include: costs allocable to the Division of Law for legal services; costs incurred by the Enforcement Bureau of the Division of Consumer Affairs for routine and special investigations of certificate holder practices; and compliance costs of Division-wide initiatives, such as the purchase and implementation of a Division-wide licensing database system.
The Board notes that application and examination fees, and initial and biennial renewal fees for certified shorthand reporters have not been increased since 1992. Moreover, the Board notes that over the last seven years it has experienced a decrease in licensing revenue because the number of certified shorthand reporters has decreased by over 200 certificate holders. As a result of the foregoing, an increase in fees is now necessary to ensure that the Board will generate sufficient funds to cover expenses for the next biennial renewal period. The Board is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 13:43-6.1(a) to increase the application fee for both certified shorthand reporters and certified shorthand realtime reporters from $ 75.00 to $ 150.00. The Board is also proposing to increase the examination fee for both classes of certificate holders from $ 75.00 to $ 100.00. The initial certification fee for certified shorthand reporters is proposed to be increased from $ 110.00 to $ 250.00, if certification is granted in the first year of the biennial period, and from $ 55.00 to $ 125.00, if certification is granted during the second year of the biennial period. The biennial renewal fee for certified shorthand reporters is proposed to be increased from $ 110.00 to $ 250.00. The initial certificate fee for shorthand realtime reporters is proposed to be increased from $ 40.00 to $ 100.00, if certification is granted in the first year of the biennial period, and from $ 20.00 to $ 50.00, if certification is granted during the second year of the biennial period. The biennial renewal fee for such certificate holders is proposed to be increased from $ 40.00 to $ 100.00. The Board is also proposing to increase the fees it charges all certificate holders for late renewal and reinstatement. The late renewal fee is proposed to be increased from $ 50.00 to $ 100.00, and the reinstatement fee is proposed to be increased from $ 125.00 to $ 150.00, in order to make such fees consistent with the fees charged by other Boards throughout the Division for late renewal and reinstatement.
The Board has provided a 60-day comment period for this notice of proposal. Therefore, this notice is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5.
The proposed fee increases will have an impact upon all applicants for certification as shorthand reporters and shorthand realtime reporters, all certificate holders obtaining their initial certifications, and all certificate holders having their certificates renewed. The proposed fee increases will have an impact on the Board by enabling the Board to continue to meet the operating expenses incurred in fulfilling its statutory obligations to evaluate applicants for certification, investigate complaints, initiate appropriate disciplinary and enforcement actions, and regulate the practice of shorthand reporting throughout the State. The Board believes that the proposed amendments will have a positive impact upon the general public to the extent that the Board will have adequate resources to devote to regulating the provision of shorthand reporting services.
The proposed fee increases will have an economic impact on the approximately 1,100 individuals certified as either shorthand reporters or shorthand realtime reporters. Such individuals will be required to pay increased biennial renewal fees, and increased fees associated with late renewals and reinstatements of certificates issued by the Board. The proposed fee increases will also have an impact upon applicants for certification who will be required to pay increased application, examination and initial certification fees. Some applicants for certification and certificate holders may be affected by the proposed amendments to the extent that such persons may be unable to afford the increased application, examination, initial and renewal certification fees. The proposed fee increases will have an economic impact upon the Board to the extent that the increased fees will generate sufficient revenues to enable the Board to continue to comply with its statutory obligations under N.J.S.A. 45:1-3.2.
Federal Standards Statement
A Federal standards analysis is not required because the proposed amendments are governed by N.J.S.A. 45:15B-1 et seq., and N.J.S.A. 45:1-3.2, and are not subject to any Federal standards or requirements.
The Board does not believe that the proposed amendments will result in the creation or loss of jobs in the State.
Agriculture Industry Impact
The proposed amendments will have no impact on the agriculture industry in the State.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
Currently, the Board certifies approximately 1,068 shorthand reporters and 66 shorthand realtime reporters. If Board certificate holders are considered "small businesses," within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., then the following analysis applies. The proposed amendments to the fee schedule do not impose any reporting or recordkeeping requirements upon certificate holders or upon applicants for certification. No additional professional services will be needed to comply with the proposed amendments. The costs of compliance with the proposed amendments and the compliance requirements are discussed in the Summary and Economic Impact statements above. The Board believes that the proposed amendments should be uniformly applied to all certificate holders and applicants for certification in order to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the general public in the performance of shorthand reporting services and, therefore, no differing compliance requirements for any businesses are provided based upon size.
Smart Growth Impact
The Board does not believe that the proposed amendments will have any impact upon the achievement of smart growth or upon the implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.
Full text of the proposal follows (additions indicated in boldface thus; deletions indicated in brackets [thus]):
13:43-6.1 Fee schedule
(a) The following fees shall be charged by the Board:
1. Application fee:
i. Certified shorthand reporter................................ [$ 75.00] $ 150.00
ii. Certified shorthand realtime reporter..................... [75.00] 150.00
2. Examination fee:
i. Certified shorthand reporter.................................... [75.00] 100.00
ii. Certified shorthand realtime reporter..................... [75.00] 100.00
3. Initial certification fee (certified shorthand reporter only):
i. During the first year of a biennial renewal period... [110.00] 250.00
ii. During the second year of a biennial renewal period [55.00] 125.00
4. Initial certification fee (certified shorthand realtime reporter only):
i. During the first year of a biennial renewal period.... [40.00] 100.00
ii. During the second year of a biennial renewal period.. [20.00] 50.00
5. Biennial renewal fee:
i. Certified shorthand reporter.................................. [110.00] 250.00
ii. Certified shorthand realtime reporter..................... [40.00] 100.00
6. Late renewal fee..................................................... [50.00] 100.00
7. Reinstatement fee................................................ [125.00] 150.00
8.-11. (No change.)