Harrisburg, Pa. – Now that voters have decided the legislature, and not the governor, is responsible for emergency declarations and a slew of discretionary powers which come with that, career professionals who require licensing through the state - such as beauticians or electricians - will soon be reverting back to original pre-pandemic licensing guidelines.
The Pennsylvania Department of State announced said that its professional licensing waivers issued under the COVID-19 disaster declaration by Gov. Tom Wolf, will begin to expire in several phases beginning Aug. 17.
Under Act 21 of 2021, all waived and suspended regulations initiated as a result from the COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration, will expire on Sept. 30, 2021, unless terminated sooner.
Licensed professionals, and other individuals impacted by these waivers, are urged to make every effort to return to compliance as soon as possible, according to the state.
Nearly 100 different types of professional waivers were approved by the Wolf administration, and temporarily eased regulations to allow such things as extended temporary practice permits; expanded scopes of practice for certain health professions; expedited reactivations to allow retired licensees to join pandemic response efforts more easily; and emergency temporary licenses for out-of-state practitioners who wished to help in Pennsylvania.
"The COVID-19 disaster declaration allowed us to mobilize our licensees to respond to this crisis while protecting the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians," said Professional and Occupational Affairs Commissioner Kalonji Johnson.
A list of all waivers and anticipated expiration dates is available on the Department of State website.
"With the end of the disaster declaration, licensees must go back to practicing and learning as they did pre-pandemic," Johnson said.
The department said they are notifying licensing boards, licensees, and stakeholders about the expiring waivers.
Last Nov., voters chose to remove certain powers of any Pa. governor and instead place them in the hands of the state legislature.
The legislature ended the COVID-19 disaster declaration in June, while extending some license waivers. Without a disaster declaration, the governor and Department of State cannot further extend the waivers.
Legislative action is necessary to extend any waiver beyond Sept. 30, which is unlikely with the Republican-controlled state legislature.
"We know that some of these waivers were vital to licensees during the pandemic and that it would benefit their patients and those they serve if some of them were made permanent," said Johnson.
"The department is continuing discussions with the General Assembly about the needs and concerns of our licensees," Johnson said.