Florida’s sunrise law requires some of the most detailed inquiries into occupational harms and proposed regulations’ costs of any state. In line with the law, the Florida sunrise reports in our dataset are rigorous. However, written reports are not required. Perhaps for this reason, we identified only seven reports from the state, all from 1993 and 1994.
Florida enacted its sunrise law, which covers both health and non-health occupations, in 1991. Sunrise review is triggered by the introduction of regulatory legislation. Although the law does not require regulation proponents to file an application to initiate the sunrise process, the state’s reports indicate that industry insiders were behind all but one of the bills.
After a bill is introduced proposing new regulation of an occupation, it is referred to a legislative committee for review and recommendation. 2
In practice, the House Committee on Business and Professional Regulation has conducted all of the state’s sunrise reviews. The law sets no time limit for the committee’s review.
Guiding the committee in the task is the preamble to Florida’s sunrise law, which expressly acknowledges the importance of preserving open occupational entry while also requiring a high standard of harm to justify regulation. It states that no occupation should be regulated (a) “unless the regulation is necessary to protect the public health, safety, or welfare from significant and discernible harm or damage” and (b) “in a manner that unnecessarily restricts entry into the practice of the profession or occupation or adversely affects the availability of the professional or occupational services to the public.”
Florida’s sunrise law requires the committee to determine—and recommend—the least restrictive and most cost-effective regulatory scheme that would protect the public. Accordingly, the committee must evaluate the costs to workers, consumers and the state, as well as possible benefits, of the proposed regulation. To this end, it may ask regulation proponents to provide documentation of past harm from the occupation; it may also ask them to supply information about voluntary efforts by those working in the occupation to address the identified harm and explain why those efforts are inadequate. Although the committee is required to recommend least restrictive regulations, the Legislature is not required or encouraged to enact them.
Florida’s sunrise reviews are few, but they are also rigorous. Guided by the state’s thorough law, the House Committee on Business and Professional Regulation used independent research and analysis to understand occupations and scrutinize the need, or lack thereof, for regulation, including weighing whether regulation would protect the public from harm.
Licensure Was Frequently Sought but Infrequently Recommended or Enacted
Summary of Florida’s Sunrise Reviews, 1993–1994
Notes: A distinct license is a separate license for an occupation already licensed under another, usually broader, occupational category. A recommendation of no new regulation means just that; a recommendation to maintain or amend license refers to a recommendation to reject new regulations (such as a distinct license) in favor of keeping an existing license, with or without amendments. A legislative outcome of no new regulation means no new regulation of personal qualifications; the legislature may have enacted other regulations. An outcome of broader credential means the legislature opted to sweep the occupation into a broader licensure, certification or registration scheme. Where a state reviewed an occupation more than once, we are counting only the legislative outcome as of 2018.
Occupations Licensed Without Supporting Recommendations
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