Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would cut red tape for out-of-state occupational licensees that move to the Sunshine State.
Senate Bill 1364 by state Sen. Jay Collins, R-Tampa, made its way favorably through the Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government on Tuesday and would clear the path for qualified people to work in Florida.
If enacted into law, an applicant with the applicable qualifications and work experience who holds a certification in good standing in another state would be qualified to receive a Florida license. Government certification or occupational license must then be issued by the appropriate licensing board within 90 days.
"[SB] 1364 is a pro-growth policy, which recognizes out-of-state and military occupational licenses, based on the training or testing requirements a licensed applicant has already completed," Collins said.
Universal licensing will be available through three different pathways: If licensed by another licensing entity, based on work experience in another state or the military, or based on private certification with work experience in a non-licensing state or the military.
"We have core gaps in our workforce here in Florida," Collins said, noting that the bill has the potential to add upwards of 200,000 new licensures through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and the Florida Department of Health is expected to have a 75 percent increase in the workforce in the Sunshine State.
"This solves problems, it keeps the state moving, and helps build our already robust economy to that next level." Collins said.
There are certain stipulations, however, including minimum work experience requirements, and an amendment to the bill states that Florida licensing boards are able to consider an applicant’s professional disciplinary history to determine whether an act or offense is enough to disqualify them from gaining a license.
The amendment also gave specific rule-making authority to respective licensing boards, like those that oversee medical professionals, in order to develop rules to determine their own qualifying criteria for a similar license issued outside of Florida.
Dr. Scot Ackerman, Chair of the Florida Board of Medicine and a radiation oncologist in Jacksonville, gave his personal support of the bill after having some initial reservations, which were elevated by the amendment.
"We had concerns that it [SB 1364] didn’t have the potential guardrails in place to allow us to vet physicians applying for licensure in Florida. We also have a very robust endorsement process through the Florida Board of Medicine…the amendments that were put forth… help with those concerns." Ackerman said.
The bill additionally gives Gov. Ron DeSantis the authority to order the temporary recognition of occupational licenses from outside of the state during a state of emergency.
SB 1366 is sponsored by Collins and is a companion bill to SB 1364 that allows licensing boards to recoup costs of up to $100 and was reported favorably.
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