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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 4, 2014 01:49 PM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: State Licensing Boards: Expungement of records
I am introducing legislation amending 1993 Act 48 authorizing the Commissioner of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) in the Department of State to expunge the disciplinary records of licensees for minor violations of their practice act and board regulations.

A constituent and licensee made an inquiry about having a “minor” disciplinary action, which occurred over ten years ago, removed from his records. In researching this matter, I learned that disciplinary actions remain on a licensee’s record permanently because the commissioner lacks the authority to expunge records. Many practitioners with otherwise unblemished disciplinary histories have complained to state licensing boards that the existence of minor infractions as a permanent part of their publicly available licensure records has caused them needless embarrassment with clients and colleagues and exceeds the purposes of reasonable deterrence.

This legislation directs the Commissioner of BPOA to expunge the disciplinary record of a licensee, registrant, certificate holder or permit holder when the violation involves failure to complete continuing education requirements, practicing of six months or less on a lapsed license or failure to renew a license and providing misinformation to the board resulting from the failure to renew. However, in order to expunge such a disciplinary record, the following conditions must be met: 1) make written application no earlier than four years from the effective date of the disciplinary record; 2) the record must be the only disciplinary record the applicant has with either the Commissioner or a licensing board or commission under BPOA; 3) the applicant must not be the subject of an active investigation related to professional or occupational conduct; 4) the applicant must not be in a current disciplinary status and any fees or fines assessed must be paid in full; and 5) the applicant must not have had a disciplinary record previously expunged.

“Expungement” is defined as the removal of a disciplinary record, accomplished by: (1) Permanently sealing the affected record from public access; (2) Deeming the proceedings to which the affected record refers as not having occurred; and (3) Except with respect to any subsequent application for expungement, affording the affected party the right to represent that no record exists regarding the subject matter of the affected record. However, BPOA shall continue to maintain the record and may release it upon request from law enforcement or other governmental body as permitted by law.

This legislation is modeled after a law in Kentucky which grants expungement powers to its medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy and optometry licensing boards.

This proposal is similar to Senate Bill 619 which I introduced last session but with a narrower expungement provision – only when the violations involved failure to complete continuing education, practicing for 6 months or less on a lapsed license or failure to renew a license and providing misinformation to the board resulting from failure to renew. During the 2013-2014 legislative session, the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee reported House Bill 336, similar to Senate Bill 619, from committee as amended. I am reintroducing House Bill 336 as amended (PN 3543) by the committee.

Introduced as SB63