Some attorneys, nurses, cosmetologists and other professionals moving into Pennsylvania had to wait until they received a state license to go to work in the past, even if they had a license from another state.
A bipartisan bill that will clear some of the “red tape” was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday.
House Bill 1172 was co-sponsored by Rep. David Hickernell, R-Lancaster/Dauphin and Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny.
“This delay in obtaining their professional license in Pennsylvania could mean a lack of income, lost employment opportunities or even a decision to not move into the state,” Readshaw said in a statement.
The difficulties were particularly daunting to military families and their spouses, Hickernell said in a statement.
“As currently designed, Pennsylvania’s professional licensing system has the unintended consequence of putting up barriers to employment to members of our military, their spouses and professionals coming to our commonwealth from other states,” Hickernell said. “Our legislation requires all the licensing boards and commissions under the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs to issue licenses by endorsement, and further provides for a provisional endorsement license to quickly move these professionals into the workforce without the delays we are currently experiencing.”
Some individuals can work under provisional licenses as they fulfill Pennsylvania’s requirements.
About one in five Pennsylvania workers require a professional license. The 255 occupational licenses are managed by 29 boards, according to information from Wolf’s office.
The bill is needed at a time when the state is facing record unemployment and a shortage of skilled workers in some industries, Wolf said in a press release.
“Pennsylvania is investing in education and job training so that workers are highly skilled and competitive in today’s global economy,” Wolf said. “This law makes our state even stronger. We are encouraging more skilled workers and their families to move to Pennsylvania. This enhances our workforce, provides more talent for businesses, and helps to grow our economy.”
Wolf is considering other changes to the Pennsylvania’s licensing requirements. The reforms include replacing 13 job licenses with requirements that are less restrictive and making it more efficient for residents to receive licenses.
Anyone convicted of a felony drug violation cannot receive a professional license for 10 years. Wolf has indicated he wants that ban repealed.
With the governor’s signing, House Bill 1182 is now Act 41 and takes effect in 60 days. The boards and commissions have 18 months to implement the changes.