The New York’s Preliminary License Application Navigation Act (PLAN Act or #PLANAct) finally provides a fair chance for the over 2 million New Yorkers with criminal conviction histories to obtain a professional license.

1 in 4 jobs requires attaining some sort of state- issued certificate or license. However, individuals with criminal records are often denied those licenses, even if their convictions are unrelated to the profession they seek to practice — and this is after investing in education, exams, and licensing fees.

The #PLANAct is a regulatory measure that governs the issuance of preliminary professional licenses in the state of New York. This act was introduced to ensure that individuals with conviction histories can find out if they meet the necessary requirements to lawfully practice their chosen profession before spending money, time and other resources that are already in short supply for many with criminal backgrounds. 

The #PLANAct remedies this. The #PLANAct allows individuals with legal involvement to send a preliminary application to New York State licensing boards with their personal information, educational background, work experience, and any other information or documentation that points to their qualifications for a given profession. The licensing agencies must take this information into consideration when determining whether the applicant is eligible to obtain a certain license or certificate for employment in New York Licensing bodies then have a limited period of time to respond. If the preliminary application is rejected, the #PLANAct provides several avenues of appeal, ensuring that agencies consider the totality of an individual’s rehabilitation and current fitness to practice the profession, not just their past conviction history. 

The act also establishes a new licensing board that oversees the review and approval process for preliminary license applications. The board is comprised of professionals from a wide sector of industries whose extensive knowledge and experience in their respective fields will help ensure a more thoughtful and holistic approval process.   

The #PLANAct gives people a chance to move on from their past mistakes, pursue fruitful career paths, and thrive as active members of society.

The #PLANAct applies to and will impact a wide range of professions, including but not limited to nurses, dentists, social workers, barbers, nail technicians, engineers, florists and more. The #PLANAct ensures these professionals are qualified and able to freely practice their chosen profession throughout New York, providing true second chances, economic opportunities and protection for the public.

The passage of the #PLANAct is an essential step toward righting the wrongs of mass incarceration and creating a more prosperous society for all.

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