Gov. DeSantis Calls For Looser Occupational Licensing Requirements

Oct 8, 2019

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is renewing a push to deregulate occupational licensing requirements for certain professions, calling the standards onerous and unnecessary.

At a press conference at the Miami Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, DeSantis said training and education requirements for several careers are stifling competition and preventing people from working in new professions. He called on state lawmakers to loosen requirements for a host of jobs during their legislative session next year.

“If you look at some of these requirements for things like barber and interior design, you’re talking about like 1,500, 2,000 hours of training just to be able to get a license. When I was in the military, you could get  jump wings for less than that,” DeSantis said referring to the military parachutist certification.

DeSantis said some of the requirements appear meant to reduce competition for professionals who have already obtained their licenses. Backers of licensing requirements disagree, arguing the standards aim to protect public health and safety.

Vatrice Clorie of Miami was one of several local residents at Tuesday’s press conference who said they could benefit from fewer requirements.

Clorie said she works for the State Attorney’s Office and has wanted to start a hair-braiding career for additional income. But certification to braid a person’s hair and also add extensions requires a cosmetology license, she said.

A cosmetology course is “1,200 hours, so it takes anywhere from a year to two to complete,” she said. “And that’s not feasible for me.”

Florida’s licensing standards have been a target for deregulation for years but past efforts have failed in the state legislature.

A bill considered in the legislature during the last session would have eliminated licensing requirements for auctioneers and some talent agents as well as loosening standards for certain landscape architects and geologists.

Weakening requirements has been a focus for DeSantis throughout his first year in office. He’s argued that several of Florida’s standards are stricter than in other states and create a drag on economic growth through foregone wages and tax revenue. In March, he hosted a summit with members of the state's occupational licensing boards to figure out ways to lighten education, experience and training requirements.

Part of DeSantis' licensing reform agenda for next year calls for "global licensing," which would allow a personal occupational license in one Florida county to be valid in all other counties. He also proposed a measure on Tuesday that would end a state practice of denying people occupational certifications because they have defaulted or become delinquent on student loans. 

“If you have one of these skills and you do well, shouldn’t you be able to put that into practice and recoup if people are willing to pay you for your services,” he said. “Why would we want to create artificial barriers to success?”