February 27, 2009
In Tallahassee, there's anticipation in the air. The 2009 Legislative Session begins Tuesday, March 3, and this Session is a period of great opportunity for the Florida businessmen and women who rely on us to serve them as efficiently and quickly as possible.
I sat down with the Director of Legislative Affairs, Darrick McGhee, to discuss two of the department's five bills. You can watch the video of our meeting by clicking the link in the upper, right-hand side of this Bottom Line. I'd also like to share all of the department-related bills and have summarized them below.
I would like to recognize the senators and representatives who are sponsoring the bills. I thank Senators Mike Bennett, Mike Fasano, Dennis Jones and Don Gaetz; and I thank Representatives Dwight Bullard, Jim Frishe, Scott Plakon, Ron Schultz and Alan Williams. In addition to recognizing the support of our sponsors, I'd like to thank Senate President Jeff Atwater and Speaker pro tempore of the House Larry Cretul for the leadership they will provide during Session.
Below is a brief summary of the proposed legislation intended to streamline processes and provide DBPR with ways to serve you better:
Senator Gaetz and Representative Plakon are sponsoring a bill that will:
- Eliminate the Qualified Business license for construction companies since the activities of a business are already tied to the qualifying agent's license.
- Remove the requirement for proof of local city/county licenses for contractors. If contractors meet the state requirements, they become licensed.
- Provide computer-based testing for barbers so that they, like cosmetologists, do not have to take the practical portion of the exam.
- Provide an unlicensed activity fee holiday during cycles when funds are sufficient to support regulation of unlicensed activity.
- Eliminate laws and rules examination that are required for Certified Public Accountants to renew their licenses. CPAs are already required to complete mandatory Continuing Professional Education.
- Eliminate notarization requirement for all applications and license renewals, which will allow applicants to submit applications and renewals online.
- Allow attorneys who sell real estate and who are in good standing with the Florida Bar to be exempt from continuing education.
- Remove room rate signage requirements for licensed hotels.
Senator Jones and Representative Frishe are sponsoring a bill that will:
- Strengthen elevator safety and enforcement.
Senator Bennett and Representative Williams are sponsoring a bill that will:
- Amend statute to protect the identity of department employees who investigate unlicensed activity.
Senator Jones and Representative Schultz are sponsoring a bill related to Pari-Mutuel Wagering that will:
- Extend expirations for temporary licenses from 30 to 90 days in order to increase efficiencies when processing applications and conducting background checks.
- Offer a three-year occupational cardroom license.
- Provide DBPR the authority to offer a discount of fees for the three-year license.
- Allow permit holders to determine whether certain electronic devices, such as cell phones, are permissible.
- Change statute so quarter horse permit applications have the same mileage restrictions, financial and notice requirements as any other pari-mutuel permit application. Require all new quarter horse permit holders to run a full schedule of live racing in the first year of operation in order to operate a cardroom.
- Call for the humane treatment of racing animals.
- Change the thoroughbred racing season to July 1 through June 30 in order to match the greyhound, jai alai, and harness facilities.
- Change the deadline for the issuance of an annual operating dates licenses for thoroughbred permit holders to March 15th of every year.
Senator Fasano and Representative Bullard are sponsoring a bill that will:
- Add the Division of Service Operations to the organizational structure of the department.
By working with our legislators, we can change laws in order to remove red tape and barriers to entering professions and to ensure we're only exercising regulation to the extent necessary to protect the public.
Charles W. Drago
Department of Business and
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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