DBPR bill declared dead as Session nears final days
Ed Hooper throws VISIT FLORIDA a lifeline.

Senate President Wilton Simpson said Monday his chamber would no longer consider SB 714 and three other bills.

A dispute between the House and Senate over whether to ban hotels from charging hourly rates and the maximum size of retail bottles of wine has doomed SB 714, a bill aimed at streamlining licensing and renewal fees for a variety of professions and industries under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Sen. Ed Hooper, a Clearwater Republican who sponsored the bill, signaled Tuesday the measure would likely die, despite a 114-2 vote in the House to pass it. On Monday the House tacked on several amendments to the bill the Senate was unlikely to accept.

It was officially declared dead by Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican, on Wednesday, one of a quartet of bills the Senate would no longer consider. The other three are SB 398, SB 772 and SB 756.

The bill would have reduced state license requirements for out-of-state mold remediators and asbestos consultants, allowed hotels and motels to keep a register of guests in electronic format, and let hotels, motels and restaurants renew licenses for two years at a time. The measure also would have capped license renewal fees at $2,000 for two-year renewals and $1,000 for one-year renewals for hotels, and at $800 and $400 for restaurants.

It also would have allowed the Electrical Contractor Licensing Board to accept more license applications for electrical or alarm system contractors.

The amendments added by the House, however, included controversial measures opposed by some business groups.

They would have banned hotels from charging hourly rates, relaxed regulations on outdoor cooking equipment and preempted local governments from imposing their own regulations on them. Language in the amendments also would have removed the state ban on selling wine at retail in containers larger than one gallon.

Hooper indicated Tuesday he was unwilling to accept the changes.

“I’ve got no bills I’m willing to jump off the Capitol for,” he said.

The scheduled last day of the 60-day Legislative Session is Friday, but lawmakers have been unable to craft a final budget deal. And because of the 72-hour “cooling period” required by the constitution before a vote can be cast on the budget, they’ll extend the Session until at least Monday, Simpson said.

Gray Rohrer


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