Shapiro Aims to Improve Commonwealth Licensing Processes

By Kim Shindle | Feb. 3, 2023 | 3 min. read

Improving the commonwealth’s licensing processes is the goal of an executive order signed earlier this week by Gov. Josh Shapiro.

The process will begin with a comprehensive review of how long it takes agencies to process applications and how workers and businesses apply online. This executive order will help to establish standard response times for each license, permit or certificate – if applicants don’t receive a response by that date, they will get their money back.

“We’re pleased to hear that Gov. Shapiro is launching this review and will evaluate how real estate licenses are issued and the response time,” said PAR President Al Perry. “We hope this continues to deepen the relationships PAR has been building with the Department of State, the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs and the Real Estate Commission to ensure that our members can spend more of their time conducting real estate business and less fighting with the licensing paperwork. PAR is eager to continue to keep the lines of communications open between the commission, BPOA and the department to help improve this overall process.”

The governor is directing all state agencies, boards and commissions to compile a catalog of the licenses, certificates and permits they issue – including the statutory authority governing the length of time they must process applications and the application fee charged by each agency. Commonwealth agencies will have 90 days to send this information to the governor’s office, which will then review, analyze and establish efficient application processing times for all occupational permits or licenses based on agency recommendations. Once those recommendations are put in place, if an agency does not respond to an applicant before the date-certain, the agency will be required to refund the application fee.

Under this Executive Order, the Governor’s Office will also conduct a review of the existing digital services that Pennsylvanians use to apply for licenses, certificates and permits and work to modernize those application platforms and services to better serve Pennsylvanians.

“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be serving the people of our commonwealth, but for far too long, Pennsylvanians have had to endure long wait times, outdated systems and bureaucratic delays.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 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.”

Unpredictability and long wait times for Commonwealth-issued licenses, certificates and permits can create unnecessary barriers for Pennsylvania workers and businesses.

Shapiro is making clear his administration will be customer-service oriented and that state government will work harder to get them a response, so that they can pursue their dreams.

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