HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro signed an executive order he says will improve the Commonwealth’s licensing, permitting, and certification processes.
The order creates a comprehensive review of how long it takes agencies to process applications and how workers and businesses apply online.
Those impacted include nurses, cosmetologists, and barbers across the state who must apply for certifications and licenses.
“I know nurses that are trying to get into the bedside have already have their job accepted at temple university hospital yet they don’t have their license,” said Maureen May, a registered nurse at Temple University Hospital.
Shapiro’s office says the order will help to establish a date for each license, permit, or certificate by which applicants will hear back. If applicants don’t receive a response by that date, the agency responsible will refund their application fee.
“State government’s top priority should be serving the people of our Commonwealth, but for far too long, Pennsylvanians have had to endure long wait times, outdated systems, and bureaucratic delays. They deserve a government that works efficiently and effectively to get them answers,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Under my Administration, Pennsylvanians will have certainty – they will know how long it will take for agencies to respond, and if an agency doesn’t live up to that promise, they deserve their money back. Pennsylvanians work hard to keep our economy moving, and the Commonwealth should work just as hard to process their applications.”
Last summer the Pennsylvania Department of State announced “ongoing improvements” to the Pennsylvania nurse licensing process following an abc27 investigation into the speed of the temporary practice permit (TPP) process.
One woman says bureaucratic bungling almost forced her to close her beauty shop in Allentown before a state representative stepped in to help.
“These things shouldn’t happen so these are big dreams these are people’s lives on the line here and we’re at the mercy of our state licensing,” said Elizabeth Strong of Elizabeth Anthony Salon in Allentown.
Nursing graduates told abc27 they were being stuck on hold when calling the State Nursing Board regarding their licenses, a phone number that was out of service when abc27 Investigators attempted to call.
“If an agency does not respond to an applicant on time, the agency will be required under my executive order to refund that Pennsylvanian’s application fee. They will get their money back,” said Shapiro.
According to then-Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman, 570 nursing graduates who were waiting for their TPPs have received them.
The State Board of Nursing received about 5,000 applications between May and early July 2022, according to the Department of State.
“I think this is pro-common sense. I think this is about making government more effective and efficient and customer service, giving the public the answers they deserve from our government,” Shapiro said.