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Sen. Keith Perry. Image via Phil Sears.

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Local occupational license preemption clears first Senate hurdle

A bill is ready for the House floor, but it’s slow going in the Senate.

Changes in occupational licensing schemes, a priority for Gov. Ron DeSantis, cleared its first committee in the Senate Monday.

It took two hearings to get there though.

Postponed by Community Affairs last week, the bill made it through on Monday, with Innovation, Industry and Technology and Rules ahead.

The House version (HB 3) already awaits a vote by the full House after three committees approved it.

The Senate bill (SB 1336), sponsored by Sen. Keith Perry, would preempt local governments from requiring occupational licenses that are not mandated by the state.

Perry said the bill “ensures uniformity in occupational licensing” across 410 local jurisdictions and eliminates “hurdles” to entrepreneurship.

“This does not affect anything licensed by the state now,” Perry said. It allows people to work a “side job to make some money.”

The legislation would affect a broad swath of trade classes including “painting, flooring, cabinetry, interior remodeling, driveway or tennis court installation, decorative stone, tile, marble, granite, or terrazzo installation, plastering, stuccoing, caulking, canvas awning, and ornamental iron installation.”

Perry suggested expanding state regulations for industries that might be regulated in some localities but not others, though that isn’t contemplated in the current bill language.

If approved, the bill would take effect on July 1, 2020. July 1, 2022, would be the drop-dead date for current licenses.

There was one development in this committee that appeased critics. Sen. Gary Farmer successfully proposed an amendment to the bill that would allow carve-outs for local licensing of occupations outside general law.

Laura Youmans of the Florida Association of Counties noted continued concerns, including local “specialty contractor” licenses (such as garage door installation), which could lack “oversight” locally under a preemption scheme.

Most who attended the meeting from various trades opposed the legislation; however, Americans for Prosperity, Concerned Veterans for America, and the LIBRE Initiative all were in support.

These bills are part of a tranche of reform legislation.

Bills by Sen. Ben Albritton (SB 474) and Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (HB 1193) serve as the major deregulation packages this year. Each bill is still in the committee process.

Sen. Manny Diaz (SB 1124) and Rep. Paul Renner (HB 707) are carrying bills requiring a four-year review of current licenses that could be altered or cut altogether.

Diaz’s bill has yet to be heard; Renner’s awaits the verdict of its second of three committees of reference.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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