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Governor Wolf Proposes Job Licensing Reform to Cut Red Tape, Strengthen Workforce

June 14, 2018

Plains Township, PA – Building on his commitment to make state government more responsive to Pennsylvania’s growing economy, Governor Tom Wolf is calling for reforms to several job licensing boards and the licensing requirements to remove barriers to employment so skilled workers can enter the careers of their choice, strengthen the workforce, and grow our economy.

“Pennsylvania must be a place where people can put their skills, experience and education to work,” said Governor Wolf. “Requiring a government license to work in certain jobs helps to keep all of us safe, but those requirements should be fair.

“We must cut the red tape, reduce the bureaucracy and ensure overly burdensome rules and fees do not block hardworking people – especially our military spouses – from getting a good job, supporting their families and growing our economy.”

Nationwide, the share of workers needing a license has grown five-fold since the early 1950s, with most of the increase occurring as states require more professions to be licensed. Today, one in five Pennsylvania workers needs a government license to do their job, representing more than one million workers.

Over-licensing makes it harder for skilled workers to get into a profession, reducing their career opportunities and lowering their pay, while increasing costs to consumers. After decades of expanding licensing, there is a national awareness of the need to modernize job licensing to reduce restrictions while protecting consumers and benefiting workers.

Last year, Governor Wolf signed an Executive Order directing the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs within the Department of State to conduct a review of job licensing to compare Pennsylvania with our regional states. The governor’s proposals are the result of the final report.

Eliminate 13 Job Licenses

The governor called on the General Assembly to repeal 13 job licenses and replace them with less restrictive requirements that protect the public for the following:

  • Auctioneers, only require registration and bonding.
  • Barbers, only require certification from a licensed barber school, passage of examination, minimum hours of training, and registration with the State Board of Barber Examiners.
  • Cemetery Broker/Cemetery Salesperson, only require passage of relevant examination, 60 hours of instruction and registration.
  • Campground Membership Salesperson, only require registration with the State Real Estate Commission.
  • Natural Hair Braiding License, eliminate this license.
  • Orthotic fitter/Orthotist/Pedorthist/Prosthetist, only require credentialing, passage of an education program, training, and minimum hours of training.
  • Practitioner of Oriental Medicine, maintain existing, but separate acupuncturist licensing requirement to protect public health and safety.
  • Rental Listing Referral Agent, only require registration with the State Real Estate Commission.
  • Vehicle Factory Representative, only require registration with the State Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers, and Salespersons.

Ease Relocation for Military Spouses

Licensing requirements can make it harder for workers to move across state lines, particularly for military spouses who have burdens transferring their license to Pennsylvania. The governor will work with the General Assembly to streamline the process for military spouses and pass legislation allowing licensing boards to seek reciprocity agreements with other states and grant licensure through endorsement.

“Military spouses serve our country with their selfless support of their loved ones in uniform, and they face numerous challenges along the way,” said Col. Edwards S. Little, Jr., representing the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “In Pennsylvania, one of those challenges is license portability, making it difficult for many military spouses to find employment. That is why the governor’s initiative to break down employment barriers by supporting the Military Spouse License Portability Act in our commonwealth is so important.”

Balance Education and Training Requirements

While continuing education has benefits to workers and consumers, over-regulating through unnecessary training can create undue burdens and costs. The governor is directing each licensing board to amend its continuing education regulations to levels established in state law. Additionally, the governor will work to enact legislation reducing training requirements for cosmetologists from 1,250 to 1,000 as recommended by the Future of the Beauty Industry Coalition, the national organization representing students, licensed stylists, salon owners, manufacturers, distributors, and cosmetology schools.

Provide Second Chance Reform

To level the playing field compared to our regional states, the governor is calling for a repeal of the automatic 10-year ban on licensing for anyone convicted of a drug felony. Instead, the 13 boards with the statutory ban could consider criminal history, but it would not be conclusive of a person’s fitness for a job. Removing this barrier encourages people to work, which reduces crime and recidivism, making our communities safer.

Speed Up Occupational License Process

The Governor’s Office of Performance Through Excellence will review the licensing applications process to reduce reviews to no more than 10 days, absent extenuating circumstances.

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