Florida leads the way on 2020 cccupational licensing reforms

Eric Boehm

Occupational licensing reform had another big, bipartisan year in state capitols—but no state cut more red tape than Florida. On the last day of June, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed the most sweeping occupational licensing reform bill in modern U.S. history. House Bill 1193 loosened or abolished rules governing more than 30 different professions, including cosmetologists, interior designers, and boxing referees. Once the law is in effect, thousands of Floridians will no longer have to jump through bureaucratic hoops in order to earn a living.

They won’t have to fear the licensing cops either. In 2017, Heather Kokesch Del Castillo was threatened with hundreds of dollars in fines and up to a year in prison when Florida bureaucrats busted her for the crime of giving dietary advice without a license. Florida’s new law specifies that people may provide “information…or advice concerning nutrition” without a license as long as they don’t advertise themselves as medical professionals and as long as the services are not offered to individuals under the direct care of a physician.

The same law also allows barbers and cosmetologists licensed in other states to move to Florida and immediately get to work without going through a lengthy and unnecessary relicensing process. The previous requirement served no purpose other than limiting competition, since barbers do not forget how to safely cut hair when they move across state lines. Thankfully, these “reciprocation” reforms are growing in popularity.

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