Legislative Update 2.11.19

Your State, Your Voice

Job Shuffle
Summary of action from Governor Ron DeSantis this week:
  • announced the appointment of Judge Laurel M. Lee as Florida Secretary of State
  • appointed Jim Zingale as Executive Director of the Florida Department of Revenue
  • announced his intent to name Ron Bergeron to the South Florida Water Management District
  • named Chauncey Goss to the South Florida Water Management District
Permit Fees, HB 127 / SB 142
The House and Senate bills both passed their first committees this week. The House bill is on the agenda in its next committee the Business & Professions Subcommittee, on 02/13/19, at 1:30 pm. 
Construction Contracting Qualifications, HB 351 / SB 674
We are concerned these bills would increase unlicensed activity in Florida. Our team met with Sen. Perry this week, and he agreed this would be a negative outcome and that we do not want to increase unlicensed activity. Our team also met with Daniel Brackett in the Careers and Competition Subcommittee, who is putting together the staff analysis on this bill. He was open to our view that this has the potential to do more harm than good. He has a lot of background on these issues from his time at DBPR.
Swimming Pool Safety, SB 724
Our team met with Sen. Hooper to discuss the inherent problems with this bill. He understands our concerns and is open to looking at different options, but he will be passionately pushing the bill since it came from one of his constituents. We have reached out to the Florida Realtors Association to discuss future steps to be taken. Sen. Hooper shared that the House sponsor will likely be Rep. Webb.
Floodplain Technical Guidance Document
Last week we had a productive meeting with the Director of the Department of Emergency Management. We are waiting for the Deputy Director to follow up with us on their internal discussions on this matter.
Citing unreasonable and needless regulations which create a drag on our economic growth, stifle completion and keep hard working Floridians out of the labor pool, Governor Ron DeSantis recently asked the 17 professional boards to come together and come up with their own ideas on how to reduce regulations. On January 31, 2019, the various boards meet in Orlando at the “Florida Deregathon” where they discussed, debated, identified, and recommended substantive regulations to be targeted for eliminations or modification. 
This week, the House Business & Professional Subcommittee met and received an update on the “Deregathon” from recently appointed Department of Business and Professional Regulation Halsey Beshears. He stated that the Florida Legislature has talked about deregulation over the past several years. The goal is to lower regulations and make it easier for people to get into the various professions. He did emphasize that while the goal is to make it easier for people to get into the workforce, but it should never be at the expense of safety or health of the public.
The following is a list of recommendations made by the CILB & ECLB to reduce burdensome regulations:  
Construction Industry Licensing Board:
  • Work to refine all contractor application requirements to reduce experience requirements while maintaining financial requirements.
  • Reduce cost of exam prep by eliminating some of the required textbooks for the licensing exam. Provide online sources or reduce required books.
  • Revise applications to remove unnecessary questions.
  • Reduce the size of the licensing board.
  • Work on license reciprocation agreements with other states.
  • Allow Florida BCN graduates to apply for Division I licensure without passing the certified examination. Determine additional degrees that could qualify for this exemption for all license types.
  • Allow Division II to subcontract out work as long as they supervise subcontractors: eliminate Swimming Pool subcontractor specialty licenses (The FSPA Board of Directors does not support the elimination of the subcontractor specialty licenses).
  • Electrical Contractors Licensing Board
  • Reopen Grandfathering of Registered Contractors, update requirements.
  • Review Endorsement requirements for other states.
  • Consideration for academic and practical training to meet experience requirements.
  • Revise initial training requirements for BASA/FASA.
The most problematic of the recommendations appear to be the CILB’s suggestion to reduce the number of board members. It should be noted that Secretary Beshears thought that it was a good idea by making the board more nimble allowing them to make better decisions. He did comment that the department will continue to go after those who are taking advantage of Floridians. The department will continue to hammer on those who take advantage of citizens that have been displaced or are suffering hardships and construction contractors who are just taking advantage of vulnerable Floridians.
There are currently no bills filled yet that directly addresses the suggestions recommended by the various boards. SB 604, which would open up grandfathering for registered electrical contractors to become certified, was filed by Senator Pizzo the day before the “Deregathon”. Also, keep in mind, some of the recommendations could be dealt with through rule changes by the various boards.
For full Bill information, including sponsors, language and status download Rallywise.