HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - According to Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, the state's licensing, permitting, and certification processes are going to be quicker and more efficient. The improvements are the result of another executive order signed by Shapiro this afternoon, his fourth since taking office two weeks ago.

The order ramps up response time from state agencies and holds them accountable for delays. It addresses licensing issues brought up by many professionals throughout the commonwealth. 

“With this new executive order, these things won't happen,” said Elizabeth Strong, a cosmetologist from Allentown who ran into roadblocks after opening her new salon. 

Strong sent paperwork and a check to the state for her inspection and license, but found herself in a difficult situation after the state said they never received the check, and ultimately tried to double her application fee.  

“These are big dreams. These are people's lives on the line here, and we're kind of at the mercy of our state licensing,” said Strong. 

Others, like Darryl Thomas, owner of Philly Cuts in West Philadelphia, echoed similar remarks about licensing burdens. 

“A reckoning task in some instances, as you heard, trying to deal with the licensing issue,” said Thomas. 

Over 300,000 licensees in Pennsylvania are nurses.  

“We need more nurses at the bedside and we need more nurses to stay at the bedside,” said Maureen May, President of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) and a registered nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at Temple University Hospital.  

“This is a crisis. A crisis for both our patients, our communities, our nurses, all here in Pennsylvania who are suffering from extreme burnout, moral distress and moral injury more than ever before, especially post-pandemic,” said May. “What we don't need is more red tape.” 

“We cannot have nurses kept off the job because of paperwork delays,” said Shapiro, adding that Pennsylvanians can expect improved customer service with the new order. “We are going to give Pennsylvanians certainty and speed. We are going to provide faster, more efficient customer service,” Shapiro added. 

The order gives all state agencies, boards, and commissions 90 days to compile a catalog of the licenses, certificates, and permits they issue, and send it to the Governor’s Office. Shapiro’s office will then review, analyze, and establish a “firm” processing timeline for all occupational permits or licenses based on agency recommendations. If an agency does not respond to an applicant before the deadline, they will be held accountable. 

“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,” said Shapiro. 

The Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs oversees 130 different types of licenses for professionals and facilities. Each year, they process over 80,000 new license applications and more than 375,000 renewals. 

His second order created the Office of Transformation and Opportunity to serve as a one stop shop for businesses looking to grow and succeed in the commonwealth.