Senate panel can’t come together on occupational licensing reform
Keith Perry and Dennis Baxley. Image via Colin Hackley.

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The concept has traction in House, but resistance in Senate.

Legislation that would dramatically alter occupational licensing was postponed by a Senate committee Monday amid Republican discontent.

The bill (SB 1336), sponsored by Sen. Keith Perry and a priority for Gov. Ron DeSantis, could not get through the Innovation, Industry and Technology committee Monday afternoon.

Perry’s bill would preempt local governments from requiring occupational licenses that are not mandated by the state, a fix to the so-called “patchwork” of regulations throughout the state.

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.”

It was the second committee stop for the bill, which took two tries to clear its first committee of reference earlier this month.

The struggle continued in yet another committee Monday.

Questions came up about “interior remodeling,” with Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto questioning whether the scope of “interior remodeling” would allow for structural changes of the building.

Perry confirmed that would not be the case. He also noted that while people “are going to act outside the law,” this bill won’t change it.

However, Benacquisto continued to be skeptical about whether this bill would allow consumer protections, and the give and take between the fellow Republicans grew increasingly pointed.

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, who will lead the caucus, wondered how a consumer would get recourse from a contractor outside of local jurisdiction.

“Now a consumer could file a complaint with a local licensing board and at least get a hearing,” Passidomo noted.

Perry said that today’s frameworks do not offer “consumer protections,” struggling to make the sale as committee members milled around and had sidebar conversations.

Perry, a contractor by trade, introduced a technical amendment defining “journeymen,” a significantly lighter lift than the process in the previous committee.

Current occupational licenses would be grandfathered in, Perry confirmed.

If this bill clears the committee next week, Rules will follow as the final committee of reference.

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

The amendment adopted earlier in the committee process makes this bill different from HB 3, which is on the House Special Order calendar for Wednesday after having cleared committees.

Other deregulation bills to watch:

Bills by Sen. Ben Albritton (SB 474) and Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (HB 1193) serve as the major deregulation packages this year. Each bill has one committee stop left.

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 is just getting started in committees, while the Renner version has been fast-tracked to the House calendar.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


One comment

  • Paula

    February 17, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Another attempted power grab by our Florida legislature.

    Anytime they use the word “patchwork” they mean “let’s take away local control.”

    Thank goodness people like Passidomo and Benacquisto are on to them.

Comments are closed.


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