Relates to licensing and registration for funeral directors; permits persons lawfully admitted to the US to take the licensing exam; provides that accredited schools do not have to get prior approval for continuing education courses.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to licensing and registration for funeral directors
PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to allow foreign mortuary students who are lawfully resident in the United States, but who have not vet been lawfully admitted for permanent residence, to use their results on the funeral director licensure examination for the purpose of becoming a licensed funeral director in New York State.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends section 3421(2)(a) of the Public Health Law to provide that an applicant for a license as a funeral director shall only need to have lawful entry in the United States, and that he or she need not have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
Section 2 amends section 3429(1) of the Public Health Law by adding a new paragraph (f), defining "accredited school."
Section 3 amends section 3429(4)(b) of the Public Health Law to exempt accredited schools for funeral directors, as approved under section 3425 of the Public Health Law, from the requirement to obtain prior approval of courses offered.
Section 4 establishes the effective date.
EXISTING LAW: Under current law, mortuary students who are not United States citizens must be lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States to take the funeral directing examination necessary for licensure as a funeral director in New York State. Current law further requires providers of continuing education for funeral directors to obtain prior approval from the Department of Health with regard to the courses they intend to offer. There is currently no exemption for accredited schools for funeral directors, which have received certificates of approval under Public Health Law section 3425, from this requirement.
JUSTIFICATION: Funeral Director Examination Requirement:
An applicants to become a funeral director in New York State must attend a qualified mortuary school and there complete a strict curriculum of courses. Upon completion of Mortuary School Education, students take the National Board Exam, passage of which is recognized by most states and many foreign countries as sufficient for licensure. After taking and passing the National Exam, a student in New York State must complete a year of residency with a funeral home to receive a funeral director's license.
In order to sit for the National Board Exam, New York State requires that a person either have United States citizenship or, if an alien, be
lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States. As a result, qualifying exam results of students from foreign countries on United States Government issued student and work visas that attend the mortuary program, and who take the National Exam prior to becoming a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States, are not accepted in New York State once the student becomes a citizen or attains status as an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
This system unfairly discriminates against foreign students who, while in the United States lawfully, have not been admitted for permanent residence, or who have not attained citizenship. For no other reason than that they were not citizens of the United States or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence when they took the exam, these foreign students are. required to retake the exam to be able to operate as a funeral director in New York State. To ensure equal treatment of these similarly situated groups, the eligibility rules should be changed to allow foreign students who have lawfully entered the United States to also use their qualifying exam for the attaining licensure. This proposal is supported by the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service, an accredited funeral/mortuary school in New York.
Exemption from Prior Approval Requirement:
Section 3 of the bill exempts schools for funeral directors that have received certificates of approval under Public Health Law section 3425 from the prior approval requirement of Public Health Law section 3429(4)(b), which applies to providers of continuing legal education for funeral directors. Institutions that receive certificates of approval under Public Health Law section 3425 undergo extensive vetting to ensure that the education programs they offer' meet minimum quality standard. There is no need to further subject such institutions to the additional, burdensome requirement of obtaining prior approval for every course offered. This bill eliminates this requirement.
S.4130 of 2012 - Referred to Health both years
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3459 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 4, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. GOLDEN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to licensing and registration for funeral directors THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of section 3421 of the public health law, as amended by chapter 534 of the laws of 1983, is amended to read as follows: (a) is a citizen of the United States or
[an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence]HAS LAWFUL ENTRY in the United States; S 2. Subdivision 1 of section 3429 of the public health law is amended by adding a new paragraph (f) to read as follows: (F) "ACCREDITED SCHOOL" MEANS A POSTSECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION AND PROGRAMS THAT ARE ACCREDITED BY AN ACCREDITING AGENCY OR STATE APPROVAL AGENCY RECOGNIZED BY THE UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION AS A "RELIABLE AUTHORITY AS TO THE QUALITY OF POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACT OF 1965, AS AMENDED (HEA). S 3. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 4 of section 3429 of the public health law, as added by chapter 529 of the laws of 2000, is amended to read as follows: (b) A registered provider which is required to obtain prior approval of courses shall submit to the department a written description of each course for which approval is requested, at least sixty days prior to the first date the course is to be offered. If the department does not disapprove the proposed course within ninety days of its receipt of the written description and request for approval, the course shall be considered approved provisionally for six months. Following the six months of provisional approval, the department may make a final determi- nation disapproving the course. Notwithstanding such determination,EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08046-01-3 S. 3459 2
however, any individuals licensed pursuant to section three thousand four hundred twenty-eight of this title shall receive full continuing education credit for any course taken during the period of provisional approval to fulfill the requirements of this section. AN ACCREDITED SCHOOL FOR FUNERAL DIRECTORS APPROVED UNDER SECTION THREE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE OF THIS TITLE AND REGISTERED AS A PROVIDER ACCORDING TO THIS SECTION SHALL BE EXEMPT FROM REQUESTING PRIOR APPROVAL OF COURS- ES OFFERED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION. S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.