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Keith Perry was among a handful of lawmakers recognized by the commercial construction industry as a ‘Legislator of the Year.’

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Keith Perry bill looks to preempt local occupational licensing requirements

GOP lawmakers say they plan to tackle licensing reform during the upcoming Session.

State Sen. Keith Perry wants state officials to have the final say into whether workers need a license to enter the workforce.

A new measure from Perry (SB 1336) would preempt local governments from requiring occupational licenses that are not mandated by the state.

If approved, the preemption measure would take effect on July 1, 2020. Any licenses imposed by local government prior to that date would stand — but only until July 1, 2022.

At that point, the issue would be governed by state law. Republican state Rep. Michael Grant filed a similar measure in the House in late November (HB 3).

Republicans have long pushed for licensing reform. But some Democrats have joined the calls as well. The Barack Obama White House detailed the harm of excessive occupational licensing during his time in office.

Those opposed to excessive licenses argue they are a burden for otherwise competent individuals looking to enter the workforce.

“This problem has effectively become a barrier to gain employment and secure economic opportunity, which falls hardest on the working class and working poor,” said state Rep. Paul Renner in October.

“Floridians should not face unreasonable hurdles to obtain a license that can lead to better opportunities in the workforce.”

Renner has said the Legislature will be tackling the issue in the upcoming 2020 Legislative Session.

In October, Gov. Ron DeSantis released his own occupational licensing reform agenda. That proposal called for legislation removing unnecessary licenses, a sunset of existing licenses and a push for “global licenses” that would allow individuals licensed in one county to perform similar work in another.

DeSantis has advocated for licensing reform dating back to his first days in office. In Jan. 2019, he held a “Deregathon” workshop in Orlando pushing for ideas to revamp Florida’s system.

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

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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