HD21 - The Need for State Regulation of Court Reporters
A. Story Criteria for Regulation
The Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation has the statutory authority for evaluating the need for regulation of an occupation. In making such determinations, the Board refers to Section 54.1-100 of the Code of Virginia which states:
The right of every person to engage in any lawful profession, trade or occupation of his choice is clearly protected by both the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Commonwealth cannot abridge such rights except as a reasonable exercise of its police powers when it is clearly found that such abridgment is necessary for the preservation of the health, safety and welfare of the public.
No regulation shall be imposed upon any profession or occupation except for the exclusive purpose of protecting the public interest when:
1. The unregulated practice of the profession or occupation can harm or endanger the health, safety or welfare of the public, and the potential for harm is recognizable and not remote or dependent upon tenuous argument;
2. The practice of the profession or occupation has inherent qualities peculiar to it that distinguish it from ordinary work and labor;
3. The practice of the profession or occupation requires specialized skill or training and the public needs, and will benefit by, assurances of initial and continuing professional and occupational ability; and
4. The public is not effectively protected by other means.
No regulation of a profession or occupation shall conflict with the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of Virginia, the laws of the United States, or the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Periodically and at least annually, all agencies regulating a profession or occupation shall review such regulations to ensure that no conflict exists.
A Joint Ad Hoc Committee was formed by members of the Virginia Court Reporters Association and the National and Tri-State Stenomask Verbatim Reporters Association to seek a voluntary certification program for this profession. The committee presented its proposal to the Virginia Judicial Council in October 1996. Council members suggested that a legislative resolution be introduced requesting the Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation to evaluate the need for regulation and to recommend the degree of regulation, if any. To that end, House Joint Resolution 445 was introduced and passed by the General Assembly. (See Attachment A for a copy of House Joint Resolution 445.)
The Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation, by means of a public hearing and surveys to interested parties, studied the nature of this occupation, and its effect on public health, safety and welfare. The board's recommendations are based on an analysis of the information gathered.