HARRISBURG – Believing that government should be working for the people rather than the other way around, the state House today approved Rep. Clint Owlett’s (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) bill to enhance customer service at the state’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA).
House Bill 855
would require BPOA to provide individuals seeking to become licensed in Pennsylvania the option of applying by paper under certain circumstances, rather than using the online PALS licensing system.
Listen to Rep. Owlett’s comments during House debate here
“BPOA should be all about providing good customer service to our business licensees – the men and women who work hard to earn a living and support their families in communities across the Commonwealth,” Owlett said. “If one of those licensees objects to applying for or renewing a license online, we owe them a reasonable alternative. We also owe them some respect.
“I became aware of this issue when an auctioneer in my district called for help after the bureau refused to offer an alternative to its online licensing. It took my office multiple calls to many people in the bureau before they ultimately agreed to accept a paper renewal application for this gentleman, but they also threatened that this would be the last time. It is unacceptable to me that BPOA would treat our citizens this way,” he added.
Currently, BPOA offers only a religious exemption from use of the PALS system. It does not allow alternatives for people who don’t have computers or have personal convictions against using the computer or credit cards.
“It’s disrespectful to put people in the position of either lying about why they don’t want to use the computer system or using a system they are not comfortable with or are simply unable to use,” Owlett said.
According to research by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, 15% of people residing in Owlett’s 68th Legislative District do not own computers. Statewide, the rate is 12%.
House Bill 855 now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler