New Law Changes Criminal History Policy for Professional Licensure Boards
The state General Assembly passed several criminal justice reform bills over the past few weeks, including Senate Bill 637 (Disanto, R-Dauphin) that will have an impact on real estate licensing for applicants with a criminal history. SB637 unanimously passed both the Senate and House and was signed into law by the governor as Act 53 of 2020.
Act 53 clarifies that conviction of a crime does not automatically preclude someone from being issued a state professional or occupational license. The state licensing boards/commissions must first determine if the applicant’s particular criminal offense is directly related to the duties, functions and responsibilities of the license applied for, and then must conduct an individualized assessment of the applicant.
The law also requires the boards/commissions to begin issuing preliminary licensure determinations, whereby individuals with criminal convictions may ask whether their criminal history precludes licensure prior to obtaining the education required for issuance. Each board/commission is required to establish a list of the criminal offenses that may constitute grounds for denial.
The Department of State has 180 days to develop and publish a best practices guide for applicants with criminal convictions, and the commissioner has 180 days to publish a schedule of convictions specific to each board/commission that would be grounds for denial or revocation.
PAR will be reaching out to both the State Real Estate Commission and Board of Appraisers to learn how they intend to implement this new application process, and we will continue to communicate with members as we receive additional information.