State lawmakers could repeal many occupational licenses over the next four years under legislation (HB 707) approved in the House Commerce Committee this week.
Renner said the core reason that governments require professional licenses to is make sure that people in certain industries like medicine or highway, road and bridge construction know what they’re doing.
“So we will, in all cases, always want to license people who operate on our hearts or who design the bridges that we drive over,” he said. “Because if they get it wrong, someone could die, someone could get seriously hurt.”
Renner said his bill is needed because the legislature hasn’t done a comprehensive sunset review of licenses for 20 years or more. Lawmakers will have to take affirmative action to keep a license from expiring.
Phillip Suderman with Americans for Prosperity said his group supports the bill.
“Florida on average requires $318 in fees and 693 days of education and experience for an occupational license,” he said. “These fees and training requirements don’t just hurt the individual, but also the Florida economy as a whole.”
But Joe Anne Hart with the Florida Dental Association said they’re worried that repealing occupational licenses will undermine public confidence in certain industries.
“In the case of the dental statute being scheduled for repeal, we’re concerned with potential unintended consequences,” she said.
If passed, the bill would schedule the first batch of reviews for July, 1 2021 and on that date each year after through 2024. Occupations looked at in 2021 include court reporters, auctioneers and paramedics. The next year licenses under review would include funeral directors, home inspectors and acupuncturists. Lawmakers plan to review occupations like firefighters and certified public accountants in 2023 and registered nurses, pharmacists and dentists in 2024.
Renner’s bill passed with only Democratic State Rep. Loranne Ausley of Tallahassee voting no. It now heads to the Health and Human Services Committee. A Senate companion bill sponsored by Education Committee chairman Manny Diaz has been referred to the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee.