Overhauled Pennsylvanian Licensing: Commonwealth Reduces Response Times for Certifications and Licenses

Harrisburg, CapitolCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

PENNSYLVANIA — This past week, Governor Josh Shapiro released a statement announcing major reforms to improve the licensing, certification, and permitting processes across all Commonwealth agencies. Serving as a critical step in the Governor’s push to make government work more efficiently and effectively for Pennsylvania residents and businesses alike, these reforms come as welcome news to Pennsylvania workers who have long been plagued with months-long waiting times and inefficient digital systems to obtain their licenses, permits, and certifications.

Governor Shapiro was quick to sign an executive order in one of his first official duties as Governor. Designed to improve response times and offer greater certainty to applicants, citizens who submit applications to Commonwealth agencies can look forward to receiving better quality service and faster turnaround times. The Governor’s team has even introduced a refund option when an applicant doesn’t receive a response within a reasonable timeframe.

Following the comprehensive review of the Commonwealth agencies, a total of over 2,400 processes have been cataloged. Among those, found were 750 licenses, 800 permits, and 360 certifications from Governor’s jurisdictional agencies alone. The Department of State leads the ranks with over 1,000 permits, certifications, and licenses issued, followed closely by the Department of Environmental Protection with 760.

These detailed reforms and reviews promise to overhaul, streamline, and simplify Pennsylvania’s licensing, certification, and permitting process. Pennsylvania residents and businesses can now take advantage of an expedited response time and a coordinated approach for all their licensing needs.

“Thank you to my Office of General Counsel and to the agency staff who worked diligently to compile this information and are already working to improve our processes and make state government more responsive to the people we serve,” said Governor Shapiro. “Pennsylvania residents and businesses deserve a government that works efficiently and effectively to get them answers. 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.”

Under the Governor’s executive order, state agencies had 90 days to compile a catalog of all the licenses, certificates, and permits they issue, including the statutory authority governing the time they must process applications and the application fee charged by each agency. As of May 1, all Pennsylvania agencies covered under the executive order have met the Governor’s deadline and completed this process.

Now, the Governor’s office will 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, the agency will refund the application fee.

Already, the Administration is making progress in reducing wait times and inefficiencies with the system. Following this thorough review of all permits, licenses, and certifications, the Department of State reduced processing time for corporate filings from over 8 weeks down to 1.5 weeks and continues to improve this time on a daily basis.

Under the direction of the Governor, the Administration will continue to work expeditiously to ensure Pennsylvanians get responses in a timely manner – and the Shapiro Administration will have real skin in the game. Governor 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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