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Americans for Prosperity-Florida calls on citizen engagement to slash regulation

Direct mail and digital media make the case against occupational job regulations.

Americans for Prosperity wants Florida lawmakers to snip red tape and reform occupational license regulations.

A new campaign encourages citizens to lobby the Florida Legislature. Americans for Prosperity-Florida released an animated video using streams of red tape to symbolize occupational licensing laws. The imagery ties in with direct mail targeting specific lawmakers’ constituencies.

“AFP-FL believes that all Floridians deserve the opportunity to support their families without needless government burdens. To unleash these opportunities, we want to help Gov. [Ron] DeSantis and lawmakers that are willing to come together to take licensing reform and ‘punch it in the end zone this year,’” said Skylar Zander, AFP-FL state director, referencing a specific line from DeSantis’ 2020 State of the State address.

“While some government occupational licenses may have originated as well-intentioned, today they too often represent anti-competitive, needlessly burdensome, and ineffective barriers that do little to address public health and safety concerns. Florida’s workforce of the future would be better served if the training and credentialing that inform job preparedness were dictated by the demands of consumers and job seekers.”

Licensing reform ended up the most notable part of DeSantis’ agenda for 2019, but didn’t get done during last year’s Legislative Session.

Zander wants the mission complete, though, before the current Session draws to a close.

“We should give everyone the freedom to innovate and unleash opportunity without rigid government requirements,” Zander said. “We have a great opportunity to drive reforms that will continue to make Florida the best state to live, work, and raise a family.”

The organization supports specific legislation this year sponsored by Sen. Ben Albritton (SB 474) and Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (HB 1193) that serve as the major deregulation packages this year.

Additionally, the group supports major preemption bills from Sen. Keith Perry (SB 1336) and Rep. Michael Grant (HB 3) restricting local governments from creating new licensing regulations, as well as bills from Sen. Manny Diaz (SB 1124) and Rep. Paul Renner (HB 707) that would call on all remaining licensing to undergo a four-year review to be refined or eliminated.

AFP-FL decries that licenses, once something only required of high-education fields like doctors and lawyers, today restrict hair braiders, athletic trainers and florists. The group said such requirements create barriers for professionals, particularly among the poor, minorities and women. They also often create barriers for those returning to society after prison, contributing to recidivism.

The group cites a national study that found licensing regulations nationwide cost 2 million jobs, $6.2-$7.1 billion in “deadweight economic losses,” and $183.9-$197.3 billion in misallocated resources each year.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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