Florida House Passes Bill to Reform or Repeal a Dozen Job Licenses

J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · April 26, 2017

Today, the Florida House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of HB 7047, which eliminates or eases many burdensome occupational licenses.

“Occupational licensing is one of the biggest barriers stopping Floridians from finding work,” said Justin Pearson, managing attorney of the Institute for Justice Florida Office. “Today’s vote is a welcome first step to paring back many arbitrary, onerous and just downright pointless regulations that infringe on the right to earn an honest living.”

If enacted, HB 7047 would:

  • Cut in half the number of hours needed to become a barber, from 1,200 to 600 hours;
  • Exempt body wrapping, hair wrapping, applying makeup and adding nail polish from the state’s cosmetologist license;
  • Expand the definition of hair braiding to cover hair extensions and wefts, and repeals the state’s specialty braiding license;
  • Reduce the required hours to register as a nail specialist (who can perform manicures and pedicures), from 240 hours to 150 hours training;
  • Cut the mandated hours to register as a face specialist (who can perform facials), from 260 to 165 hours training;
  • Lower training requirements for full specialist, who can work as a nail or face specialist, from 500 to 300 hours training;
  • Eliminate requirement that yacht brokers have a license for each branch office, and now will require only one license;
  • Repeal the license for geologists; and
  • Repeal licensing requirements for boxing timekeepers and announcers.

A 2012 study by the Institute for Justice, License to Work, found that Florida is the “seventh most extensively and onerously licensed state,” with the “fourth most burdensome licensing laws.” On average, a license for low- or moderate-income occupations requires completing 603 days of training or experience, passing an exam and paying $274 in fees.

Florida is poised to join a growing reform movement. Earlier this month, Mississippi enacted landmark legislation to provide new oversight for state licensing boards. In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill that allows individuals to challenge burdensome licensing laws that don’t genuinely protect public health and safety.

Nationwide, calls to reform America’s sclerotic licensing laws have come from a strikingly diverse chorus, including the White House Council of Economic Advisors during the Obama Administration, the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation, the Institute for Justice, and most recently, the acting chair of the Federal Trade Commission.