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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 29, 2019 01:24 PM
From: Representative Andrew Lewis and Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta
To: All House members
Subject: "The Fighting Chance Act": A Regulatory Reduction Pilot Program for PA
In a time defined by hyper-partisanship where politics is no longer “impolite dinner conversation,” but rather the single most dividing thing in our country, we believe the General Assembly should look for bipartisan solutions. Keeping with this belief, we plan to introduce legislation that tackles two issues, which both parties are passionate about reforming. These are criminal justice reform and occupational licensure reform.

“The Fighting Chance Act” is a regulatory innovation bill designed to give a #fightingchance to small business owners and reformed offenders seeking to re-enter the workforce in a licensed occupation.

Our legislation is modeled after a law recently enacted by the Republican legislature and signed by the Democrat Governor of Virginia. This law created a regulatory reduction pilot program. Under this program, the state agencies overseeing their Department of Corrections and the issuance of occupational licenses were directed to reduce the number of regulations and/or mandates by 25%. The pilot program lasts for three years and requires the agencies within the program to provide reports on their progress including legislative changes necessary to help them reach their goal of reducing regulatory requirements. These agencies are also required to take any new regulatory action necessary to help them achieve their goal. The benefit of this approach is that agencies are given broad latitude to identify and select the specific regulations to cut, as long as they meet the 25% requirement and advance the primary objective, which is to make it easier for small business owners, returning citizens, and really anyone seeking licensure, to enter the workforce in a licensed occupation.

The hope of this legislation, as passed by Virginia, is to reduce the number of unnecessary, duplicative or burdensome requirements as assessed by the targeted agencies. By reducing these requirements, we can make it easier for citizens to operate within the corrections and pardon system and acquire an occupational license.

Too many small business owners – and returning citizens – struggle to pursue their American Dream because they cannot obtain occupational licensure. We believe that if previous offenders have paid their debt to society, have committed to reform, and are willing to work, they deserve a #fightingchance at redemption and a better life.

This legislation is not just a regulatory reform or occupational licensure reform bill. It’s not just about criminal justice reform and fairness, but it is also an opportunity to join forces across the political spectrum and show the Keystone State – and the nation – that both parties can still come together and enact meaningful change to empower the people we serve.

Please join us and co-sponsor this bipartisan solution to provide criminal justice and occupational license reforms for the citizens of our commonwealth. Let’s make sure that everyone in Pennsylvania has a #fightingchance.

Introduced as HB995