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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 3, 2019 09:36 AM
From: Senator John DiSanto and Sen. Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: Occupational Licensure Reform
In the near future, we will introduce legislation to create a fair, modern set of rules for consideration of criminal records in occupational licensure, which will remove unnecessary barriers to employment and entrepreneurship.

Our legislation will require occupational licensure boards and commissions to apply one common set of rules when considering whether to deny, suspend, or revoke a license on the basis of a criminal conviction. It will 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 or registration in Pennsylvania and under current law, many people who have paid their debts to society after incarceration are hindered from reentering the workforce when boards deny licenses due to convictions unconnected to the practice of their desired profession. This wastes taxpayer dollars as state correctional institutions regularly train inmates in professional skills only for the person to be subsequently denied a license to practice.

Our legislation will also require that 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 criminal history records pose a potential barrier to licensure. This will ensure that boards use criminal records in a fair and consistent way, and that individuals considering a training program have a fair opportunity to learn in advance what types of criminal history can be expected to pose a barrier to licensure.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB637