A top business deregulation priority for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — occupational licensing reform — withered to a slow death in the 2019 legislative session, which ended May 3.
Separate reform bills in the House and Senate got through combative committee hearings, according to a report from Florida Watchdog, a government oversight news site. But neither bill made it to the chamber floors for a full vote.
The bills would have curtailed or eliminated occupational license requirements imposed by 23 professional licensing boards on nearly 30% of Florida’s workforce. As it stands, Florida has the fourth-highest percentage of state-regulated workers nationwide, according to the watchdog.org story.
That’s partially why proponents of the bills contended deregulation would make it easier for Floridians to find careers by trimming back licensing requirements for barbers, auctioneers, landscape architects, hotel interior designers, “princess party” practitioners and myriad other professions. The current system, added proponents of deregulation, is unfair for lower wage workers, women and minorities because state licensing laws for 102 lower-income occupations require nearly a year of education or experience, an exam and more than $260 in fees, the news site reports.
Opponents of the bills included the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Auctioneers Association and the Florida Association of Cosmetologists & Trade Schools, reports Florida Watchdog. Those organizations cited concerns over consumer protections, workplace safety and the size of the bills.