Florida Passes Sensible Occupational Licensing Reform

On June 30, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a series of reforms into law that would relax or abolish occupational regulations for more than 30 professions.

According to Eric Boehm of Reason, the reforms would cut “red tape for potentially thousands of workers in the state.”

The Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act received broad support from both parties in the Florida State Legislature.

Governor Ron DeSantis declared that this bill would “save thousands of Floridians both time and money for years to come” in a statement.

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State Representative Blaise Ingoglia, the bill’s sponsor, viewed it as the largest licensing deregulation reform in the Sunshine State’s history.

The libertarian law firm, the Institute for Justice, claimed that Florida’s House Bill 1193 (H.B. 1193) “repeals more occupational licensing laws than any licensing reform ever passed by any other state.”

.Boehm noted that the “bill fully repeals some of the state’s most unnecessary licensing laws, including those that previously governed interior designers, hair braiders, and boxing match timekeepers.”

He added that H.B. 1193 “loosens the state’s cosmetology licensing laws to allow a wide range of hair and nail styling activities to take place outside of licensed salons—a particularly timely reform in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, as it will pave the way for stylists to make house calls.”

H.B. 1193 channeled the spirit of several reforms passed in 2019 such as Arizona’s passage of a bill that recognizes out-of-state licenses. Boehm noted that “Barbers and cosmetologists licensed in other states will be allowed to practice their trades in Florida without having to get re-licensed, and the law instructs the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation to begin the process of identifying other professions where similar reciprocity could be offered.”

“Florida’s reform will fuel economic growth and open up opportunity to entry-level entrepreneurs throughout the state,” declared Scott Bullock, president of the Institute for Justice.

Occupational licensing reform is one of the top agenda items in state capitols across the nation. In 2019, over 1,000 licensing reform bills were filed per the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Occupational licensing is now on the menu nationwide and liberty conservatives should take advantage of this national trend.

Not everything has to be negative these days.

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