By Associated Press - Wednesday, July 1, 2020

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday took another step in relaxing requirements for professional licenses, signing legislation that prevents the state from denying a professional license to someone simply because they have a felony on their record.

Under the bill, a board or commission can only reject an applicant for a criminal history that is directly related to the occupation for which they are seeking a license.

Even so, boards and commissions cannot consider juvenile or expunged convictions, and they must consider the amount of time since the conviction and the applicant’s personal rehabilitation, training and references, among other things before denying a license.

One in five Pennsylvania workers, or 1 million people, need an occupational license from a board or commission to do their job, according to Wolf’s administration.

Each board and commission must draw up a list of crimes that may prevent licensure and allow a potential applicant to check their eligibility before they take classes or borrow money for schooling.

The bill also commissions the creation of temporary licenses in barbering and cosmetology for people trained in a prison, but otherwise would be denied a license because of their criminal record. That allows them to work for one to two years and demonstrate their competency, Wolf’s administration said.

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