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The General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 637, which reforms occupational licensing by getting rid of outdated criminal record restrictions for the professions and occupations which are regulated by boards and commissions within the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA).
Prior state law perpetuated racial disparities in arrests in the criminal justice system by disproportionally keeping persons of color out of the licensed professions for convictions that are long past or have no relationship to the duties of the profession. It also hampered workforce development by excluding otherwise fully qualified professionals from working in licensed occupations, even when employers wished to hire them. By removing these barriers, the bill will help thousands of Pennsylvanians join in the economic recovery from the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Act will
- Make Rules clear and transparent
- Allow Preliminary decisions to be obtained
- Allow for restricted licenses to be granted for people trained at taxpayer expense
Join Sharon Dietrich, Litigation Director for Community Legal Services as she discusses this Act and how it will allow people people to move on to better jobs and provide better lives for their families.