|New York State||Assembly|
December 15, 2002
The Honorable Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Dear Speaker Silver:
On behalf of the members of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, I respectfully submit to you the Committee's 2002 Annual Report, highlighting our activities over the last year.
The 2002 Legislative Session was a productive one. The laws which were enacted through the Committee's efforts reflect the varied mandate of the Higher Education Committee. Throughout the budget process the Committee worked to ensure that vital higher education programs were adequately funded and that students were not shortchanged. The Governor's proposal to cut $235 million from the TAP Program was rejected and additional funding was provided for vital educational opportunity programs, aid for community colleges, childcare and the hiring of additional full-time faculty at the State and City Universities. The Committee's priorities remain clear as we enter a time of decreased government spending.
The Committee's work was not limited to fiscal concerns, however. In fact, the 2002 Legislative Session addressed many pressing issues, particularly those in relation to the oversight of the State's licensed professions. Four new categories of mental health practice have been added to the list of licensed professions. A statutory scope of practice has been established for Psychology and the practice of Social Work is now subject to licensure and not simply certification. These efforts seek to provide greater protection to the consumers of mental health and/or social work services.
Through the Committee's efforts numerous chapters were enacted to address issues relating to various professions. Engineers and Land Surveyors are now required to take continuing education courses to ensure these professionals are kept up to date on changes in their field. The manner in which dentists meet criteria for licensure has been altered to enhance the amount of clinical study undertaken by students; greater access to tuberculosis screening will be provided by granting registered professional nurses the authority to administer purified protein derivative tests; and physical therapy assistants will be subject to an examination to demonstrate their professional competency. Consumers of prescription drugs will have access to information to help them determine the best price for their medications through the use of pharmacy retail drug price lists. These measures demonstrate that public protection is a paramount concern when statutory changes affecting the professions are considered.
Chapters addressing the various needs of campuses of the State and City Universities were also signed into law. Undocumented students at SUNY and CUNY with strong ties to their State and community will be permitted to pay in-State tuition rates to ensure continued access to higher education. A World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship has been established and the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Veterans Tuition Assistance Program has been extended for another two years. To better reflect its status as a four year college, New York City Technical College has been renamed the New York City College of Technology. Two private schools, Cornell and Syracuse University, were granted legislation to permit them greater flexibility in the management of internal matters. These statutory amendments seek to enhance the institutions' ability to serve students and to foster the best learning environment possible.
While much has been accomplished this year, much still remains to be done. Although this will have been my last Legislative Session as Chair of the Higher Education Committee, I remain confident that the goals and aspirations we have worked towards will continue as priorities of my successor. Thank you for your leadership and steadfast support of our State's higher education community. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with you and my colleagues toward our shared goal of ensuring that our system of public and private higher education remains the best in the nation.
Higher Education Committee
2002 ANNUAL REPORT
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
STANDING COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION
Edward C. Sullivan, Chairman
Audrey I. Pheffer
Richard N. Gottfried
Patricia A. Eddington
Martin A. Luster
Steven C. Englebright
N. Nick Perry
Anthony S. Seminerio
Deborah J. Glick
Joan K. Christensen
Joseph E. Robach
Scott M. Stringer
Kevin A. Cahill
James D. Conte, Ranking Minority Member
Joel M. Miller
Robert G. Prentiss
Marc W. Butler
James P. Hayes
Sabrina M. Ty, Principal Legislative Coordinator
|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|I. COMMITTEE JURISDICTION|
The Committee on Higher Education is primarily responsible for the initiation and review of legislation relevant to higher education and the professions in New York State. Formally, the Committee is concerned with policy initiatives affecting the State University of New York (SUNY), the City University of New York (CUNY), the independent colleges and universities of New York, proprietary vocational schools, student financial aid, and the licensed professions. However, because of the complex and comprehensive nature of New York's system of higher education, the Committee has also been involved in shaping legislation in such diverse public policy fields as health care, economic and workforce development, technology, capital financing, and elementary and secondary education.
The New York State system of higher education has long been heralded for its quality and comprehensive service to the public with a full range of academic, professional, and vocational programs. The three components of this system include the State University of New York (SUNY), the City University of New York (CUNY), and the numerous independent colleges and universities, proprietary colleges and schools located within New York State.
In addition to providing support to the state-operated campuses of SUNY and the senior college programs of the City University, New York State contributes financially to community colleges and provides direct aid to independent colleges and universities. The State also demonstrates it commitment to higher education through funding the country's largest state-supported tuition assistance program, TAP.
The Committee on Higher Education also monitors the ongoing activities of the 39 professions which the State Education Department is charged with licensing and regulating. Through careful consideration of legislation affecting the professions and through the monitoring of the professional discipline functions of the State Education and Health Departments, the Committee endeavors to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public and to ensure the maintenance of high standards and competence within the professional realm.
This report summarizes the activities and achievements of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education in each of its major areas of responsibility during the 2002 legislative session.
|II. HIGHER EDUCATION|
This year, and for the previous seven years, the Executive proposed the freezing of base aid for community colleges at the prior year's level. Base aid constitutes the State's responsibility in its share of community college financing and is divided among the schools through a formula that accounts for each full time equivalent (fte) student. Recognizing the importance of the State's support of community colleges, the Assembly secured an increase in base aid of $50 per full-time equivalent student. This increased the State's share of community college financing to $2,300 per fte.
In addition to the base aid increase, the Assembly also worked to increase funding for other important programs that exist at community colleges. Recognizing the increase of adult nontraditional students at these schools, the Assembly fought for an increase of $3.4 million for the expansion of existing childcare services at both the State and City University. These programs allow working parents to attend school and improve their families' futures, and thus will remain priorities for the Assembly in the 2003 budget negotiations.
The Assembly secured $190,000 for the College Discovery Program and $2.76 million for the SEEK Program at CUNY, which restored funding levels to those provided for in 2000-01. Funding for the opportunity programs has been an ongoing struggle that dates back to 1995, when the Governor proposed their elimination. While successful in preventing the outright elimination of these programs, the Legislature was unable to fund them at an amount greater than 75% of their previous level until the 2000 Session.
Access to public universities continues to be a high priority to the Assembly Higher Education Committee. In 1995, the Executive proposed eliminating highly successful access and opportunity programs at SUNY and CUNY. Each year for the past seven years the Legislature has worked to restore these programs for the educationally and economically disadvantaged. Two years ago, the Legislature was successful in restoring each of the programs to their 1994 level. While that funding increase did not reflect the rate of inflation over the past several years, the base budget for these programs no longer contained a 25% cut across the board. This year's budget maintains last year's funding levels.
An increase of $2.7 million for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and $2.5 million for the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) secured by the Assembly will provide a solid foundation for these vital services.
The State of New York provides Unrestricted Aid to Independent Colleges and Universities (Bundy Aid) each year to enhance its commitment to private colleges and many universities. This year the Legislature did not provide an increase to the Executive proposal. Keeping its commitment to help disadvantaged students gain access to private colleges, the Committee was able to provide a $5.6 million increase to the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).
Bundy Aid, formally known as Unrestricted Aid to Independent Colleges and Universities, provides direct support to higher education institutions based on the number and type of degrees conferred by the college or university.
New York State is fortunate to have the most diversified and largest independent sector of higher education in the nation. The independent colleges and universities of this State enroll 418,000 students. New York not only boasts the nation's largest private university, New York University, it also prides itself on numerous excellent, small colleges as well.
In many instances across the State, a college or university is the major employer in the community. Therefore, a strong independent sector of higher education helps the New York economy in several respects -- through educating its work force, as an employer, and through the ancillary services in the community that cater to the student and staff population.
Tuition Assistance Program
New York State is fortunate to have the most comprehensive system of financial aid in the United States. At its forefront is the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which assists thousands of students attending college each year. Keeping college affordable for students is a top priority for the Committee. The 2000 Assembly budget contained several comprehensive enhancements to the TAP Program, including increases in both maximum and minimum awards. and the increase of income eligibility to $80,000. Unfortunately, rather than seeking to build upon this foundation, the Executive proposed a restructuring of the Program that was coupled with a cut of $235 million.
The Assembly rejected the restructuring proposal which would have slashed one-third of each student's award, forcing many of those least able to afford increased debt to seek additional loans. The proposal would have had the State retain one-third of each award to be payable upon graduation as a "performance award." Fortunately, the Program emerged from the budget process unscathed.
Access to higher education opportunities has been a long-standing priority of this Committee. Over the years, the Legislature has created programs which provide special assistance to educationally and economically disadvantaged students, underrepresented groups, and "at-risk" youth--students who require additional support in order to achieve academic success. The Assembly has been committed to ensuring all students' access to higher education and enhancing their academic success through the support of access programs.
Through counseling, remedial coursework, financial assistance, drop-out prevention, and skills training, these programs are dedicated not only to encouraging enrollment in college, but also helping to ensure success in the postsecondary academic environment. New York's Access Programs include:
New York State has 36 public community colleges: 30 within the State University system and six within the City University system. With a total enrollment of 249,000, community colleges provide a primary source of access to higher education opportunities. The community colleges of SUNY and CUNY are referred to as "full opportunity" institutions, accepting all recent high school graduates and returning residents from the colleges' sponsorship areas.
Community colleges are unique in that they are financed cooperatively by three partners: the State, a local sponsor, and the students. Community colleges are primarily governed by the local sponsor, assuring that these institutions have greater flexibility to respond to the local educational needs of a unique student population. Many community college students are non-traditional students who return to college later in life, attend part-time and/or combine work and family responsibilities with study.
Founded as the Free Academy in 1847, the City University of New York (CUNY) has grown into the largest urban university in the nation. CUNY is also the third largest university in the country and is comprised of 20 campuses throughout Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. It includes 10 senior colleges, a two-year preparatory medical program, a law school, a graduate center, and six community colleges. Through this network, CUNY provides educational opportunities and skills training to an ethnically and culturally diverse population of approximately 200,000 students annually: 133,000 at the senior colleges and 64,000 at the community colleges.
New York City College of Technology
A.9261, Rules (Green); Chapter 87 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter changes the name of New York City Technical College to New York City College of Technology. This name change was pursued by the City University because it better reflects the mission of the school. Generally, technical colleges are two year institutions or technical community colleges which teach vocational skills and train technicians. Since this institution is a four year college which offers baccalaureate as well as associate degree programs, the name change more accurately indicates the school's status and may result in an increase in enrollment by eliminating confusion.
Resident Tuition Rates for Immigrants
A.9612-A, Espaillat; Chapter 327 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter seeks to address a situation that, while also an issue for the State University, is chiefly a concern for the City University. For over a decade, CUNY has had a policy of allowing certain immigrants to pay the State resident tuition level if the student had lived in New York State, had a relationship to the community, and had strong educational ties to New York State. This policy was designed to increase access to the University as the difference between in-State and out-of-State tuition is significant and the higher rate would be prohibitive to many.
The State University of New York is the largest public university system in the nation, embracing 64 distinct individual colleges located in urban and rural communities across New York State. These 64 units offer a full range of academic, professional and vocational programs through its university centers, comprehensive colleges, colleges of technology, and community colleges. The State University system enrolls approximately 383,000 students in over 5,180 programs of study which are available.
Cornell University Trustees
A.10452, Luster; Chapter 79 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter expands the membership of the Board of Trustees for Cornell University from the previous 42 voting members to 64. This legislation was pursued by the University in order to engage more alumni and other supporters by allowing them to provide direct service to the institution through Board membership. Cornell is also of the belief that expanding the Board will necessarily expand the breadth of talent and leadership of the body.
Syracuse University Charter
A.10392, Magnarelli; Chapter 227 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter makes changes to the Charter of Syracuse University to bring it into conformance with its' current governance and the governance of similarly situated institutions of higher learning. While the University is a private institution, its' Charter was enacted by the State Legislature. This fact prevents the University from making changes in its' internal governance structure without legislative action in circumstances where similar colleges and universities would be free to adopt bylaw amendments so long as they are in accordance with the Education and Not-for-Profit Corporation Law. Specific changes made through this Chapter include the authority for the University to set the size and terms of office for the Board of Trustees as well as increasing the minimum quorum requirement for the Board.
Vietnam and Persian Gulf Veterans Tuition Assistance Program
A.9629, Sweeney; Chapter 581 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter extends the date required for establishing eligibility in the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Tuition Assistance Program for undergraduate and graduate study. Created in 1984, the Vietnam Veterans Tuition Assistance Program was designed to enhance the employability of Vietnam veterans. In 1997, the Program was augmented to include graduate assistance and to extend eligibility to Persian Gulf veterans. This law extends the life of the Program, which would have expired this year, to 2004.
World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship Program
A.11812, Rules (E.C. Sullivan); Chapter 176 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter establishes the World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship Program. This program will make scholarships available to the children, spouses, and dependents of the innocent victims who either died or became severely and permanently disabled in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The annual award may equal the cost of attendance at SUNY and is inclusive of tuition and mandatory fees, and the non-tuition cost of attending college such as room and board, books, supplies and transportation. These awards will be available for up to four years of full-time undergraduate study at approved New York State programs (awards may be for five years if the recipient attends a baccalaureate program that normally takes five years). This program is similar in concept to existing scholarships such as those for the children, spouses and dependents of deceased police, peace officers, and firefighters.
|III. LICENSED PROFESSIONS|
New York State currently licenses 39 professions under Title VIII of the Education Law. Legislation to license a new profession or to alter the practice of an existing profession falls under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Higher Education. The State Education Department (SED), through its Office of the Professions, regulates the practice of the professions authorized under Title VIII on an ongoing basis.
An essential component of the monitoring process is to ensure that existing standards and qualifications reflect current practices and needs, especially in light of shifting demographics and rapidly changing technologies. Each year, the Committee reviews numerous pieces of legislation which propose to change the scope of practice of currently licensed professions. Modifying current professional standards provide a means by which the Committee fulfills its obligation to protect the well-being of the public.
Some professions are not licensed, but certified. The distinction made between licensure and certification in the Education Law is that licensure protects both the title and practice of a profession, while certification protects only the title. Both require that standards of education, examination, and experience are met to assure the public that those individuals achieving licensure or certification are qualified.
Social Work Licensure
A.11761-A, Rules (Pretlow); Chapter 420 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter provides for licensure of social workers whereas the law previously provided only for certification as a professional in the field. This measure makes significant changes to the manner in which social work practice is evaluated and regulated. The law defines "social work" and further provides distinctions between two levels of social work practice: practice as a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and practice as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). The fundamental difference between the two levels of practice is that LCSW's are trained in the use of psychotherapy and are permitted to incorporate this modality in their treatment of clients. The scope for LMSW's does not include the use of psychotherapy.
Baccalaureate Social Workers will be permitted to practice, but the law does not provide for licensure at the bachelor level. Rather, baccalaureate social workers are included within the law as exempt persons who may practice social work without a license. The law also provides a "grandparent" clause that permits uncertified individuals with a master's degree in social work and five years of experience as a social worker to file an "LMSW" application. This clause will only be in place until one year after the effective date of the statute, September 1, 2004, one year after the effective date of the statute.
Licensure of Mental Health Practitioners / Psychology Scope of Practice
A.11769, Rules (Sanders); Chapter 676 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter makes numerous changes to the manner in which mental health practitioners are evaluated and regulated. While licensure for psychologists is provided for in statute, the scope of practice for the profession had previously existed only in regulations of the Commissioner of Education. This measure modifies the scope of practice for Psychology and places it in statute. In addition, the law creates four new categories of licensure for mental health professionals: Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Creative Arts Therapists and Psychoanalysts.
The Chapter seeks to provide standards for these newly licensed professions which have practiced for decades, but have never been subject to the State's regulatory framework. The statute also provides exemptions for existing licensed professions that in some cases provide similar services, including physicians, registered professional nurses, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.
A.11084-A, E.C. Sullivan; Veto 10 of 2002; This bill would have modified the ability of the Commissioner of Health to create any additional categories or subcategories of specialist assistants. Specialist assistants were created in 1971 to address a shortage of medical providers and to provide employment opportunities for returning Vietnam War veterans with medical training. Approval was also given by the Legislature at that time to the Commissioner of Health to promulgate regulations creating new categories of health care workers without further legislative approval. This bill would have limited the creation of additional specialist assistant categories to those that perform services that do not impinge on the scope of practice of any health professions licensed under the Education Law. The creation of any further categories would require the Commissioner of Health to request a determination from the Education Department as to whether any new specialist assistant category proposed would include services currently within the scope of practice of licensed health professionals.
Unfortunately, the Governor saw fit to veto this legislation, an action he also took with a similar bill in the 2001 Legislative Session (A.7211-A, E.C. Sullivan; Veto 63 of 2001), citing concerns relating to elimination or curtailment of the authority of the Commissioner of Health to regulate specialist assistants.
Continuing Education for Professional Engineers
A.1491-B, Tocci; Chapter 146 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter seeks to enhance the protection of the public by requiring professional engineers to complete thirty-six hours of continuing education in each triennial registration period. This measure is intended to augment initial licensing requirements by ensuring that licensees stay current in their field with regard to technical and ethical changes in practice. A triennial fee of forty-five dollars will be paid by professional engineers to offset the costs associated with implementation of this program. The provisions of this Chapter take effect on January 1, 2004.
Continuing Education for Land Surveyors
A.5738-A, Englebright; Chapter 135 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter provides for mandatory continuing education for professional land surveyors. As with other continuing education bills, this measure is intended to provide continuing competency by ensuring that land surveyors stay abreast of changes in their profession. Land surveyors will be required to complete at least twenty-four hours of continuing education each triennial registration period and a fee of forty-five dollars will be collected to offset the costs associated with implementation of this program.
Pharmacy Retail Drug Price Lists
A.8708-A, Rules (Gottfried); Chapter 284 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter seeks to expand upon and improve the statutory requirement that pharmacies post and update, by hand, a drug price poster. The original law was intended to provide consumers with an opportunity to find the best possible price available for their prescriptions. However, compliance with this measure was not uniform and the intent of the law was not being fulfilled. This provision mandates that pharmacies update drug prices on a weekly basis, as well as create a two to three page computer generated list which consumers may take with them to enable them to comparison shop. Implementation of this law should assist consumers in finding more affordable prices for prescription drugs.
Dental Licensing Examination
A.9229-A, Rules (E.C. Sullivan); Chapter 143 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter allows the satisfactory completion of a postdoctoral dental residency program of at least one year's duration to be used in lieu of the clinical dentistry portion of the dental licensing examination for purposes of obtaining a dental license. This measure significantly alters the process by which dentists are licensed in New York State. Previous law required dental students to take an examination that included a clinical component. This amendment allows a dental residency in a hospital setting or dental facility accredited for teaching purposes by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association to suffice in establishing competency for the purposes of licensure. However, the residency must result in a formal outcome assessment evaluation which complies with guidelines established by the State Education Department. Proponents of the measure cited similar provisions in the licensing of physicians and podiatrists and argued that measuring dental competency over a period of time in a dental residency provides a better preparation for practice than a one-day clinical exam.
New York State Dental Association Bylaws
A.9843, Silver; Chapter 18 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter expands the allowable timeframes for voting on changes to the Constitution and bylaws to the New York State Dental Association. Prior to enactment of this law the Association was required to have all bylaw changes put to a vote of its membership with a fixed timeframe of one hundred fifty days from the date an issue is approved by the Dental Association's board of directors. This measure allows for members to vote up until the date of the next regular meeting of the board.
Dentistry/Dental Hygienics Citizenship Status
A.9865, Gunther; Chapter 403 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter permits dentists and dental hygienists with alien citizenship status to practice in dental health professional shortage areas, provided United States citizenship is being actively pursued. This measure is modeled after a statute which allows physicians with alien citizenship status a three year waiver, with the possibility of an additional six year waiver, to obtain citizenship or permanent resident status, so long as these physicians practice in medically underserved areas. This law seeks to ensure that areas where dental professionals are scarce are adequately served, while at the same time providing for compliance with the citizenship requirement for dentistry and dental hygienics.
Purified Protein Derivative Tests
A.9893, Gunther; Chapter 221 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter permits a registered professional nurse to administer a purified protein derivative test for tuberculosis pursuant to non-patient specific protocols under the direction of a licensed physician or certified nurse practitioner, pursuant to regulations to be promulgated by the Department of Health and the Department of Education. This law corrects an omission in the law which previously allowed such a procedure for the administration of immunizations. The purified protein derivative test for tuberculosis is not technically an immunization, but rather a diagnostic test and therefore an amendment to the statute was necessary in order to permit registered nurses to administer the tests without individual patient prescriptions. This measure seeks to increase the frequency and ease of tuberculosis screening while maintaining appropriate safeguards in the administration of the test.
Physical Therapy Assistants
A.9990, Cahill; Chapter 404 of the Laws of 2002 This Chapter makes two significant modifications to the manner in which physical therapy assistants meet certification requirements. Previous law did not require passage of an examination for physical therapy assistants. Under this measure assistants will be required to demonstrate their competency to provide therapeutic services via the examination process. In addition, the statute provides for practice by physical therapy assistants under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist pursuant to a limited permit pending successful completion of this new examination. As an added safeguard, the Chapter shortens the allowable duration of a limited permit, from one year to six months; with the possibility of a one-year extension. This reduced limited permit duration seeks to prevent unqualified individuals from continuing to practice for up to two years while failing to pass the examination.
Transmission of Oral Prescriptions
A.10117-A, Schimminger; Chapter 519 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter amends the statute which regulates the manner in which oral prescriptions can be communicated for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, residential health care facilities and developmental centers. Under previous law, oral prescriptions could be communicated to a third party - an "agent" - provided that this individual was an employee of the prescriber. This measure permits a licensed health care professional at such a facility to function as an "agent" and, regardless of whether or not they are employed by the prescriber, to transmit a prescription order. This law addresses a situation that is unique to health care facilities where consultant pharmacists are either located directly within or are under contract to the institution. This statute makes no change to current practice in community pharmacies where every prescription remains required to be written for one medication by a particular prescriber for a specific patient.
Non-Resident Pharmacy Registration
A.10593, Morelle; Chapter 567 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter is an amendment to a law passed last year (Chapter 348 of the Laws of 2001) that grants the New York State Education Department (SED) authority to collect registration fees from out of State entities providing pharmaceutical products to the citizens of the New York State. Specifically, this Chapter amendment authorizes penalties on non-resident establishments that fail to comply with registration requirements. It also permits SED to either prosecute a complaint or otherwise take formal action against a non-resident establishment if the Department determines that the resident State unreasonably delays or fails to take prompt action on a reported violation. By enumerating these possible sanctions, this measure is more likely to function as a meaningful enforcement tool in the regulation of non-resident pharmacies.
Exemption for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Students
A.10676, Weprin; Chapter 610 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter amends a law passed last year (Chapter 453 of the Laws of 2001) specifying that students who complete a clinical experience requirement leading to their licensure as an Audiologist or Speech-Language Pathologist may practice under the supervision of a licensed professional in the field. While clinical practice requirements are essential to attaining qualifications for licensure, previous law did not specifically allow students to engage in the practice of audiology or Speech-Language Pathology as a part of these requirements. Unfortunately, the original bill applied only to students enrolled in an accredited program on the effective date of the act. This Chapter amendment specifies that the change relative to clinical practice requirements is intended to apply to all students in accredited programs.
Physical Therapy Assistants - Home Care Settings
A.11246, E.C. Sullivan; Chapter 107 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter extends for four years a provision of law which would otherwise have expired on June 30, 2002. This statute will continue to permit physical therapy assistants to provide services in home care settings without direct on-site supervision by a physical therapist. This measure seeks to address the needs of patients who require therapeutic services in the home during a time when there is a documented shortage of physical therapists in New York State. Safeguards in this law include specific procedures to ensure that physical therapists, while not physically present when services are rendered, maintain an active supervisory role in the care of these patients. In addition, a physical therapy assistant must have two or more years of direct clinical experience prior to receiving authorization to provide these services.
Administration of Medication in Daycare Settings
A.11615-A, Rules (Paulin); Chapter 253 of the Laws of 2002; This Chapter seeks to address a concern that has arisen over whether regulations promulgated by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) that permit unlicensed staff at regulated daycare programs to administer medications to children in their charge conflict with provisions of the Education Law that limit the administration of medication to certain licensed health professionals. The exemption in the Nurse Practice Act allowing family members to administer medications in certain instances has been interpreted by some parties, including the New York State Nurses Association and the State Education Department, as being too narrow to apply to daycare settings. This apparent conflict has caused some daycare programs to discontinue the practice of administering medication to children. Due to the complexity of the issue and the unlikelihood of arriving at a compromise acceptable to all interested parties prior to the end of the 2002 Legislative Session, this measure provides a foundation for proper resolution of the matter.
The Chapter instructs OCFS to revise its regulations to enhance the standards for the administration of medication in daycare settings by April 1, 2003. The measure also temporarily validates regulations as they relate to the administration of certain medications to children by licensed and registered daycare providers and other providers of care and services to children. This temporary validation will expire on June 30, 2003 or earlier should the Legislature adopt permanent legislation prior to this date.
This hearing was convened in an effort to highlight and strengthen the linkage between the business community and the State's community colleges. Often viewed as more adaptable and responsive to local community needs than four year institutions, community colleges have been playing an increasing role as contributors to the State's economic development interests. These schools tend to be extremely attuned to State education and workforce training needs and creative partnerships between employers and community colleges have been shown to be mutually beneficial.
Among those who testified were Wayne Diesel, SUNY Vice Chancellor for Business and Industry Affairs, President Debbie Sydow from Onondaga Community College, President Tom Flynn from Monroe Community College, President Carl Haynes from Tompkins Cortland Community College and President Mike Schafer from Mohawk Valley Community College.
Testimony focused on the need for increased investment by the State in the form of additional base aid as well as funding for initiatives that will further both the academic and economic development missions of the community colleges.
This hearing was convened early in the Session before the actual budget negotiations took place in an effort to increase awareness of the need for appropriate levels of funding for higher education. Improving the accessibility and affordability of higher education has long been a priority for the Assembly Majority.
Individuals testifying at the hearing were a diverse and impressive group including Brian Stenson, SUNY Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, Alan Lubin, Executive Vice President of New York State United Teachers and Greg Nash, President of the National Educational Association of New York. Issues of particular importance at the forum were the Governor's proposed restructuring of TAP, the need for a greater ratio of full-time to part-time faculty at SUNY and CUNY and the impact of underfunding on quality of academic programs.
This hearing was convened in an effort to heighten awareness of the various educational opportunity programs and the need to maintain their effectiveness through proper funding. For several years, these programs had borne the brunt of spending cuts and have been particularly hampered since 1995 when the Governor proposed their outright elimination in his budget proposal. While the programs were restored that year and the 2000 Budget provided funding that brought them back to their 1995 levels, there was no increase to account for inflation and funding has remained flat, effectively decreasing with the lack of enhancements in 2001 and 2002. Panels of individuals testifying made a strong case against continued neglect of these programs and services and included representatives from SUNY, CUNY and Opportunity Programs United.
This hearing was convened in an effort to explore the issue of whether clinical laboratory technicians should be licensed by the Department of Education. In response to a 1988 federal law, the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA), legislative proposals have been introduced at the State level seeking to upgrade standards for clinical personnel working in laboratory settings. While the federal law provides that laboratory settings and personnel who perform these testing functions must meet State certification requirements, legislation has been referred to the Higher Education Committee which would establish a comprehensive licensure program.
Convened with both the Labor and Health Committees as co-sponsors, this hearing was extremely well-attended. Witnesses providing testimony included numerous clinicians, as well as representatives from 1199 SEIU, the union which represents most clinical laboratory practitioners. Much of the testimony was given in the form of personal anecdotes that illustrated the need for higher standards and demonstrated the often difficult working conditions faced by practitioners. The testimony provided will assist the Committee in its consideration of the licensure legislation.
As the Committee looks ahead to the upcoming 2003 Legislative Session, many of the traditional goals relative to higher education and the professions will continue to be priorities.
Foremost among the Committee's priorities for the 2003 session will be, despite the austere fiscal climate, to secure financing for the coming fiscal year sufficient to meet the demands of SUNY, CUNY and the independent sector and to support their unique missions. The broader goal of preserving access opportunities to higher education for students all across New York State is also a priority. By continuing to fight for increased funding for access programs, the Committee will promote the recognition of these highly successful educational programs. As always, the Committee will continue to focus on the Tuition Assistance Program and ensure the availability of the program at current, or enhanced, levels. The Assembly Higher Education Committee is proud of this comprehensive financial aid program and will fight to continue this program's success in opening doors for college students throughout the State.
In 2003, the Committee will also address several important legislative issues. Among these will be measures relating to the thirty-nine licensed professions overseen by the Department of Education's Office of the Professions. Chief among these will be initiatives aimed at preserving the integrity of the individual professions and ensuring that professional competence translates into increased public protection and safety. In addition, the Committee will continue to study the evolution of existing professions to assess the possible need for statutory changes to reflect the changing demands of consumers.
Professions Licensed or Certified by the Board of Regents
Certified Interior Design
Certified Public Accountancy
Certified Shorthand Reporting
Licensed Practical Nurse
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Physical Therapy Assistant
Respiratory Therapy Assistant
2002 Summery of Action on all Bills Referred to the Committee on Higher Education
|Bills Having Committee Reference Changed||4||0||4|
|Senate Bills Substituted or Recalled||11||11|
|Bills Never Reported, Held in Committee||0||0||0|
|Bills Never Reported, Died in Committee||242||23||265|
|Bills Having Enacting Clause Stricken||2||0||2|
|Total Bills in Committee||306||34||340|
|Total Number of Meetings Held||10|