House panel approves professional deregulation bill

Florida Legislature
"It is not the state’s responsibility that if you go into a salon you get a great experience."

A bill eliminating licensing of such professions as talent agents and interior designers and scaling back licensing requirements for fields ranging from barbering to geology won approval Tuesday from a House committee.

The Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee approved the measure (HB 27) by a split vote largely along partisan lines.

The sponsor, Republican state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia of Spring Hill, said it strips away regulations and licenses that do not protect the public. Florida has one of the most licensed workforces in the country, he added.

And he declared that in too many fields, Florida’s licensing requirements long ago went beyond just protecting health, safety and consumer interests, and began protecting job security for those already in the field, and income at training schools that provide the education needed to meet the state’s increasing requirements.

“So what has happened over time is the state has listened to a lot of arguments in pushing those [required training hours] up. But the hours weren’t necessary to protect Floridians or the customers, they were there quite honestly to protect the bottom line of these schools,” Ingoglia said.

The bill is similar to measures introduced in recent Sessions but which died.

This year, however, the bill along with its counterpart (SB 1640) in the Senate, is a priority for Gov. Ron DeSantis. He held a “deregathon” of Florida’s licensing boards in February to push his message that Florida over-regulates professions. The efforts also have strong backing of conservative business groups.

Many individual professional associations are in opposition, however.

Ingoglia sought, in his closing, to characterize many of them as simply trying to protect the exclusivity of their professions without demonstrating clear public safety, sanitation or consumer protection concerns.

Nonetheless, the professionals argued that licensure provides clear protection for consumers, and often provide liability protection for companies who hire licensed professionals.

In particular, witnesses argued against eliminating licensing for interior designers and talent agents.

“Under this bill, their [college] degree will be their license. If they get a degree, they can go to work,” Ingoglia replied.

Democratic state Reps. Bruce Antone of Orlando and Kamia Brown of Ocoee also expressed concerns about removing regulation of hair braiders, hair wrappers, and body wrappers, and reducing requirements for such professions as nail specialists.

In cases where training hours are being reduced, Ingoglia replied, any requirements for sanitation, safety or consumer protection rules will not be reduced. It is the state’s responsibility to regulate safety, he said.

But “it is not the state’s responsibility that if you go into a salon you get a great experience.”

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].

One comment

  • A benign and loving government will supposedly protect us from the bad guys. They will supposedly protect us from being stupid. They will supposedly take care of us, protecting us from the vicissitudes of life.


    The long-term effect of ongoing government intervention in the marketplace is to create a “womb-to-tomb” expectation in the citizenry, encouraging a very unhealthy dependency on government. The Libertarian Party of Florida believes that people should be free to make their own untrammeled choices and to live with the consequences. If they are wronged, they can sue.

    Besides, governmental agencies are famous for being “captured” by the very industries that they are supposed to be regulating, with the muscular powers of government being used to create and to enforce monopolies and “turf”. Our State Libertarian Platform is quite explicit about this: (Part VII, Section 3): “State regulation of industries such as insurance and communications, and professions such as medicine and law, should be ended. They should be regulated by trade or consumer groups.”

    The marketplace is impersonal and implacable in rewarding good deals and in starving bad actors. There will always be splashy exceptions to “prove” the need for government intervention, of course, but the long arc of the market is to reward excellence. Caveat emptor AND caveat vendor.

    In liberty,

    Larry Gillis, Executive Committee, Libertarian Party of Florida

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