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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 6, 2019 07:24 AM
From: Representative Sheryl M. Delozier and Rep. Jordan A. Harris
To: All House members
Subject: Occupational Licensure Reform Legislation
In the near future, we plan to introduce legislation that would create a fair, modern set of rules for the consideration of criminal records in occupational and professional licensure, which will enable employers to have a new set of skilled, qualified workers.

Our legislation would require that boards, commissions or departments of the Commonwealth authorized to license, certify, register or permit the practice of trades, occupations or professions (or, “boards” for short) apply one common set of rules when considering whether to deny, suspend, or revoke a license (or certificate, registration or permit) on the basis of a criminal conviction. It would amend the Criminal History Record Information Act (“CHRIA”) to require that boards only withhold a license for convictions which are directly related to the practice of the occupation, and that the boards consider the nature of the offense, the amount of time that has passed since conviction, evidence of the applicant’s fitness to practice the occupation, and other relevant factors prior to withholding a license.

Over thirty occupational fields require a government license, certificate or registration in Pennsylvania, and many people seeking to reenter the workforce after incarceration need to have a license or registration in order to work in the field in which they are best suited. Under current law, people who have paid their debts to society are being hindered from reentering the workforce when boards deny licenses due to convictions which are unconnected to the practice of the profession. This can result in a waste of taxpayer dollars, such as when barber and cosmetology schools located within state correctional institutions train inmates in professional skills under the direction of the Department of Corrections, only for the person to be subsequently denied a license to practice the profession.

Our legislation would further require that the boards publish regulations to explain how the new CHRIA rules will be applied in the context of a particular profession and provide that interested persons can request pre-application notice of whether their individual criminal history records pose a possible barrier to licensure. This would ensure that boards use criminal records in a fair and consistent way, and that individuals who are considering enrolling in schools or training programs can have a fair opportunity to learn in advance what types of criminal history record information can be expected to pose a barrier to licensure.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1477