State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, last week took the oath of office for his ninth term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
As the new term begins, Rep. Readshaw has additional responsibilities as Democratic chairman of the House Professional Licensure Committee.
"To be entrusted with an office like this just once is gratifying, but when people in your hometown continue to re-elect you for the job you do, that is a high honor and more humbling each time you take the oath," Mr. Readshaw said. "The people who sent me here — the people of the 36th District — they remain foremost in my concerns and I will continue to work on their behalf."
Rep. Readshaw has served as a member on the professional licensure panel for his entire time in the House. While the legislator admitted it is not one of the more "exciting" committees, he pointed out that professional licensure impacts every Pennsylvanian. The panel is responsible for establishing and reviewing every profession that requires state certification, from plumbers to brain surgeons to hairdressers and architects.
"The license means that that individual has the training and has demonstrated the ability to meet established standards of quality for their profession," Mr. Readshaw said. "It ensures against people performing specialized services which, without the proper training, could endanger the health or finances of the person paying for their services. John or Jane Doe who don't know how to sell a loaf of bread can't portray themselves as realtors."
Mr. Readshaw said health care is one area in which the committee has been especially busy in recent years.
"There have been issues about making some health professions more dynamic, such as situations, especially in emergency room operations, to expand the role that a nurse or nurse practitioner can play. There is a movement to allow them more flexibility in applying their skills in order to free ER doctors from dealing with patients with minor complaints such as a small cut or flu symptoms, so they can concentrate more on the seriously ill or injured," Rep. Readshaw said. "What the General Assembly allows in their specific responsibilities can dramatically reduce treatment costs for insurance providers and patients who pay the full charge themselves."
He said the panel also monitors professional license and certification issues in other states, using that information to determine what Pennsylvania should do in anticipation of those issues coming up in the Commonwealth.