Ron DeSantis tells licensing boards to cut entry requirements
Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses state licensure boards at his "Deregathon" event in Orlando.

Ron DeSantis, Janet Nunez, Halsey Beshears
"Florida's occupational licensing system needs to be overhauled," DeSantis said.

Why does Florida even license interior designers or lab technicians? And why do barbers have to have 2,000 hours of training before they can get licenses?

Gov. Ron DeSantis posed those kinds of questions as challenges Thursday to 17 Florida licensing boards assembled for a day-long “Deregathon” workshop in Orlando. His edict: that they find ways to pare back licensing requirements that he believes are preventing some Floridians from launching careers.

“Are we putting up roadblocks to success or are we welcoming people into these?” DeSantis said. “I think Florida’s occupational licensing system needs to be overhauled.”

DeSantis, joined by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez and Florida Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears who are essentially chairing this event, kicked off the workshop with the demand that they consider the difference between licensing requirements that protect the public and those he said appear to protect the professions from competition.

“I think it’s legitimate to have regulations or licensing goals of protecting consumers and protecting the safety of the public. I do not think it is legitimate goal of of regulation or licensure to try to create a guild to basically raise prices for consumers,” he said.

DeSantis is in effect asking the state’s licensure boards such as the Barbers Board, the Real Estate Appraisal Board, the Board of Landscape Architecture, the Board of Pilot Commissions, the Construction Industries Licensing Board and others to relinquish some of their powers over their professions, particularly the gateway powers of deciding who can practice and who cannot.

He, Nuñez, and Beshears took turns arguing that licensing requirements are preventing people from starting careers, and may most impact lower-income people struggling to develop professions while holding down one or more low-wage jobs.

“The professions you represent have long been considered the gateways to hard-working careers. But over time, unintentional regulations have managed to create more of a gate and less of a gateway for those who wish to access the professional labor force,” Beshears said. “They actually wind up hurting the people we’re trying to help the most. And they stifle competition.”

The 17 boards each had their own tables spread out Thursday across the gymnasium floor of Valencia College’s East Campus. Their directive is that they spend several hours Thursday hashing through the governor’s challenge, and then present reports and recommendations at the end of the day. The audience also was filled with a handful of lobbyists representing various professional interests concerned about the quality and credibility of their professions, which could be compromised if the gates are opened too far.

DeSantis charged that Florida’s occupational licensing system is in many ways more onerous than most other states, including New York and California, saying “We’re out of step.” The Republican governor even cited a report from Democratic former President Barack Obama‘s administration bemoaning that states’ licensing has become a barrier to employment.

DeSantis went after barbering regulations a couple of times. “You see all these different areas where we require some of this stuff, and I look at it and say, ‘2,000 hours just to get a license to become a barber? Is that really? If it was 1,000 hours would somehow the public be at risk from that? That’s what I want you guys to do, to be honest about it.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Elizabeth Guion Salter Wood

    January 31, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    I have been a nurse for over 50 years. I worked, as a nurse, for many of those years. In 2003, I reluctantly resigned my job at our county jail, due to being forced out by my supervisor, for reasons known only to her. I was an LPN, but went to school to be an RN, so am very well educated. I allowed my license to lapse, as I was now experiencing tendonitis in both legs, as well as a torn Achilles tendon, due to the unending work load, with no break or lunch time. I had also been ordered off work for a month, so my Achilles tendon could heal. When I returned to work, no one asked for my note to return to work! So, I resigned, to go onto Social Security. Now, I feel I need to go back to work, and know I could get my job back at the jail, as it is now under new “management” so to speak. I found, however, that in order to get my license back, I would have to completely retake my entire nursing education at an approved nursing school, which I think is totally unfair, as I feel, and know, I know a lot more than nurses do, today. I hope this goes through…at least for us “old school nurses”, who find we have to return to the work force.

  • Helen

    February 1, 2019 at 12:40 am

    Deregulating will lead to even more fraud than Florida already has. And what he is doing is diminishing the professions that people worked hard to obtain, by passing exams and going to college. How about I open up shop and call myself a lawyer?

    • Jiggy

      February 1, 2019 at 10:30 am

      How about rereading the article and try to comprehend…..

    • Ed Burie

      February 2, 2019 at 5:40 am

      So basically you’re worried about competition and protecting your income from someone who might do the job better?
      2000 hrs to become a barber? It takes 40 hours to become a pilot, about 350 hours to teach other people to be a pilot and 1250 hours to fly a commercial jet. 1250 hours of flight time to fly a damn airplane, but 2000 hours to cut someone’s hair?!?!?! Thank god we elected a gov with a brain!

    • Helen Supporter

      February 5, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      Helen, please stop being a drama queen. The governor is not talking about broad deregulation. Just using rational sense to allow certain types of work to be performed to increase the employability of many, and for better consumer prices for services, but still protecting the public from incompetent and dangerous unskilled service in any regulated field. No amount of overregulation has ever stopped fraud anyway.

  • Dawne Richards

    February 1, 2019 at 12:44 am

    While we certainly want to be protected in cases where our health or safety could be compromised, I agree that some of Florida’s requirements are onerous. Fraudsters will find a way around any regulations; some of our existing rules do nothing more than serve as a barrier to entry. I’m all for this.

  • Tim Henke

    February 1, 2019 at 7:10 am

    Why does Florida not accept Training and Licenses from other states? Nationally recognized standards. Come to Florida and have to start over. And you wonder why you can’t get good help?

  • Chris Holiday

    February 1, 2019 at 10:55 am

    The experience part is already too easy and the state does almost no real enforcement. Many contractors sell their license to multiple companies as it is, and qualify 3 or 4 businesses in Florida while they live in Texas or some other state. So these businesses are run without any real competent person who knows anything about codes, permitting or business ethics. Plus they hire ex-felons and unqualified people who are piece workers to show up at your house to do the installs, they just slam stuff together and the quality of work is horrible. If they cared about people and the citizens of this state they would make these companies hire journeyman trades people who are qualified to work in your home. It’s a nightmare already… The company has a license, but not the people who are working in your home… it’s joke.

  • Julie Rentz

    February 1, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I totally disagree with the school/training hours being cut back for a Barber/Cosmetoligist. We are hands on working with people. We are working with chemicals. Knowledge is crucial when it comes to infectious diseases. And it is just a crucial when dealig with chemicals. Tell me Mr. Gov., what would you do if your hair fell out because I left a chemical on too long? (This could’ve been the section that was cut short due to you wanting to cut training hours back.) Please leave the hair industry alone. I want someone well traing to work on my hair. You should too.

    • Julie

      February 1, 2019 at 1:41 pm


  • Susan

    February 1, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    My experience with regulators is they socialize with those they regulate. Enforcement is spotty. I agree that less onerous regulation will allow more budding entrepreneurs a foothold. The problem is always the big operators, wirh political clout, stifling competition.

    • Daniel

      February 5, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      DBPR is made up of 16 state licensed contractors (one non-licensed kowtower), who then regulate all other Floridians, with no actual oversight by our legislature. Especially DBPR makes its own rules not allowed by law, because the legislature has not made (and would not do so) those unpromulgated rules the law of Florida. Talk about the Foxes “protecting” the chickens from other Foxes!!

  • Dr. Lesa Klein

    February 1, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    I will be celebratimg my 30 th year as an optometrist . Twenty eight of those years were in private practice in Missouri. I had a successful practice and maintained my continuing education requirements. I also was an adjunct clinical professor at the UM St. Louis School of Optometry. While those qualifications were sufficient for practicing in Missouri, they are not good enough to care for patients in the state of Florida. It should be unlawful to prevent a professional the right to practice in the state in which they live, if they are qualified to practice in another state. These strict licensure procedures in Florida are not protecting residents, they are protecting those presently licensed from competition.

  • Dr. Ceil Pillsbury Schellenberg

    February 5, 2019 at 9:19 am

    For all my African American friends who are reading, please note this is a Republican fighting for things that help you! We need to break the thought that only Democrats have your best interests in mind! We need the good people in both parties and ALL of us to change the narrative of our inner-cities and STOP those who are using race to divide us.

  • Daniel

    February 5, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Our small company has been waiting a long time for this!!! DBPR has been a renegade agency for decades now. DBPR violates the Florida’s Administrative Procedure Act (Florida statutes) consistently, which is legislated to monitor and regulate DBPR, so that heavy handed government doesn’t harm the public, and also guides all other state agencies’ enforcement. I will be seeing Halsey Beshears about this 10-year battle we’ve had with DBPR. Beshears has always had an ear for his constituents, so it is very unlikely he will turn a deaf ear now. They [DBPR & some other state agencies as well] have little accountability (that is, by a legislature fully knowledgeable of our convoluted laws due to most legislators accepting that status quo of regulatory government, and most policy chiefs for advising the chairs over government regulatory committees are former DBPR General Counsel attorneys), and Desantis likely knows of this, seeing that he is seriously discussing redress for the citizens of Florida. I will be showing Desantis and Beshears, through my exhaustive 10 years of research, exactly how devastating DBPR has been to many innocent Floridians. It is true that many illegally operating defendants are caught by DBPR, but many, many innocent people are illegally civilly prosecuted as well, caught up in the “health, safety & welfare” net, under the guise of consumer protection, and unlawfully by DBPR. DBPR refuses to allow citizens to use the Florida exemption statutes. I have 10 years of research to expose them, as to denying use of the exemption statutes, clumping any trade work into their unlicensed contracting classification, ruining people’s lives by prosecuting anyone even changing out a simple plumbing valve, and making up regulations not approved at all by our Florida legislature. Desantis is exactly correct: 17 members of DBPR’s Construction Industry Licensing Board, with only ONE not being a state licensed contractor, have caused unfair trade practices (which is a violation of Florida law) in Florida for multiple decades. The CILB is far too autonomous and greedy. It is basically an unlawful monopoly under the protection of the State of Florida, through threats of prosecution. It is tantamount to anti-trust violations, simply because DBPR also violates out-of-state applicants for permission to compete (federal anti-trust), which would reduce costs to Florida consumers, by increasing fair competition. However, just as in our legal battle with DBPR, 32 state licensed plumbers attacked our company with the full weight of government, protecting their unlawful interference with our business contracts. The City of Tallahassee was the 32 plumbers’ initial improper government arm to try to crush our company, but when the City of Tallahassee’s Building Official agreed with our take on the law, then entered DBPR for the 32 greedy state licensed plumbers (pursuing their violations in federal court). After DBPR initially advised us that we were perfectly legal [meeting in person with G.W. Harrell in 2008, then-Director of the CILB], then the 32 plumbers pressured him to recant. DBPR must be gutted and reformed. Additionally, our case was improperly reviewed by staff attorneys at DOAH and the 1st District Court of Appeals. And the Florida Supreme Court improperly believed it had no jurisdiction; however, all case law states that they did have jurisdiction. Also, our constitutional rights were never reviewed by any tribunal or court, though properly preserved by our filings. Redress for our claims of rights’ violations was mandatory for our courts.
    Thank you Governor Desantis!!!

  • Brennen

    February 6, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Oh please do. The Florida Board of Optometry is a disgrace to the profession. For years they do whatever they can to make it difficult to get a license. Ridiculous Continuing Education requirements, requiring specific sub-scores on the National Board exams (FL is 1 only 2 states that do this). And let’s not forget the kicker… that your Board scores expire after 3 years (ONLY STATE TO DO THIS). Apparently it’s actually bad to be an experienced Optometrist. It’s age discrimination and anti-competitive. It’s time for license reciprocity and to allow license mobility across state lines.

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  • Mike daley

    February 13, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    If DeSantus really wanted to help Florida citizens get work, he would eliminate criminal background checks for jobs. 27 million Floridians have a.criminal record. They are the ones who need help.

Comments are closed.


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