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Weekly Legislative Update from March 13, 2020

Economic Development

SB 922 – Relating to Economic Development

On Monday, March 9, SB 922 by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) was read a third time on the Senate floor and passed with 39 yeas and 0 nays.

The bill makes changes to the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program. Specifically, the bill provides that certain businesses that relocate to, or expand into, a county affected by Hurricane Michael are eligible to receive an increased tax refund and authorizes certain businesses located in a county affected by Hurricane Michael to apply for an economic recovery extension. The bill also removes the scheduled repeal date for the tax refund program.

SB 922 will go to the House for consideration.

AIF supports legislation, funding and other assistance from the federal and state governments to help Florida’s panhandle recover from the impacts of Hurricane Michael.


HB 1193 – Relating to Deregulation of Professions and Occupations

On Monday, March 9, HB 1193 by Representative Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) was read a third time on the House floor and passed with 88 yeas and 25 nays.

On Thursday, March 13, HB 1193 was amended on second reading and was read a third time on the Senate floor and passed with 38 yeas and 0 nays. The House concurred with the amended bill and voted with 103 yeas and 11 nays.

An occupational or professional license is a form of regulation that requires individuals who want to perform certain types of work, such as contractors and cosmetologists, to obtain permission from the government to perform the work. In the 1950s, less than five percent of U.S. workers were required to have an occupational license to do their jobs. Since then, the number of workers required to have a license has risen to more than one-quarter of U.S. workers, and an estimated 28.7 percent of the Florida workforce requires a license from the state.

In 2015, The White House published a report on the current state of occupational licensing in the nation. The report found that when designed and implemented carefully, requiring occupational licenses offers important health and safety protections to consumers, as well as benefits to workers. However, the report also found that too often licensing requirements are inconsistent, inefficient, arbitrary, and there is evidence that the current licensing regimes in the U.S. raise the price of goods and services, restrict employment opportunities, and make it more difficult for workers to take their skills across state lines.

Specifically, the bill, cited as the “Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act,” does the following:

  • Deregulates: Interior designers and interior design businesses, hair braiders, hair wrappers, and body wrappers, nail polishers and makeup applicators, and boxing announcers and timekeepers.
  • Partially deregulates: Talent agents, and labor organizations.
  • Eliminates the additional business license for: Architects and landscape architects
  • Reduces the hours of training required to obtain a license for: Barbers, cosmetologists, and specialty salons.
  • Adds new ways for out of state professionals to obtain a license in the state for: Veterinarians, construction and electrical contractors, landscape architects, geologists, engineers, certified public accountants, home inspectors, building code professionals, and cosmetologists barbers.
  • Reduces the number of members on the Florida Building Commission.
  • Authorizes unlicensed individual to provide compensated dietary and nutritional information if such individuals do not represent that they are licensed dieticians or nutritionists.
  • Prohibits DBPR from disciplining or revoking a licensee based solely on defaulting on a student loan.

HB 1193 will now go to the Governor.

AIF supports legislative action to lesson burdensome and unnecessary regulations on Florida businesses.


SB 362 – Relating to Florida Tourism Marketing

On Wednesday, March 11, SB 362 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) was read a third time on the House floor and passed with a vote of 114 yeas and 2 nays.

The bill extends the scheduled repeal date for the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, doing business as VISIT FLORIDA, until October 1, 2023, and removes the scheduled repeal date for the Division of Tourism Marketing within Enterprise Florida, Inc. Without the bill, the statutory provisions for these entities will be repealed on July 1, 2020.

SB 362 will now go to the Governor.

AIF supports investment in building a world-class marketing engine with top talent, analytics, and funding that develops and executes data-driven branding strategies.