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Understanding Pennsylvania’s occupational licensure reform bill

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2020 | Firm News

As a Pennsylvania resident with a criminal record, you may find that your past interferes with many areas of your life. You may find that your past makes it harder for you to earn a living or find housing, or you may find that it places your ability to secure a professional medical license in jeopardy.

Your past may now have less of an impact than you anticipated, however. In July of 2020, Pennsylvania’s governor signed Senate Bill 637 into law. What does the bill entail, and how might its passage help you work in medicine or health care?

Before the passage of Senate Bill 637

Before the passage of Senate Bill 637, any state licensure board could deny your application for licensure due to you having any type of felony conviction in your past. This has long been a source of controversy, as criminal justice reform advocates have long argued that it prevents former offenders from bettering their lives.

After the passage of Senate Bill 637

The passage of Senate Bill 637 changed the rules as far as what felony convictions prevent you from obtaining a nursing license or another type of professional medical license in Pennsylvania. Now, only felony convictions that directly relate to your practice or profession have the potential to hinder your ability to get professional licensure. Felony convictions that indicate that you may pose a threat to patients, customers or colleagues, for example, may keep you from obtaining a nursing or other professional medical license.