August 7, 2009
Recently, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation executed legislation and board rule that will help Florida's professionals become licensed quicker. Certified public accountants and landscape architects can now re-enter their fields or renew licenses with reduced continuing education requirements, thereby reducing costs and burden. Also, the Barbers' Board adopted several rules, which increase overall efficiency.
Florida certified public accountants who have been out of the profession can now return to work sooner. Legislation passed during the 2009 session and signed by Governor Charlie Crist allows inactive CPAs to reactivate their Florida CPA licenses with fewer continuing education requirements. This will allow those currently holding inactive licenses an affordable option to return to the profession. The licensee is still required to demonstrate professional knowledge and skills by completing continuing education used for reactivation within two years immediately preceding application.
Landscape architects will benefit from a similar adjustment, the waiving of continuing education requirements for one year due to hardship. The Board of Landscape Architects passed a rule that allows landscape architects who have suffered financial hardship to request consideration for a waiver of continuing education requirements. Landscape architects who are granted the waiver will be able to renew their licenses and will not have to demonstrate completion of their continuing education until Nov. 30, 2010. Similar to the legislation affecting CPAs, this landscape architect hardship rule reduces the cost and burden for license renewal for those who qualify.
To assist in the implementation of House Bill 425, the Barbers' Board considered rulemaking to replace the barber and restricted barber practical examination with a written examination on practical theory. The practical examination requires an applicant to incur travel expenses to an exam site and requires the applicant to bring a live subject to work on. Barber and restricted barber applicants will be afforded the convenience of computer-based testing, enabling applicants to take the examination in a convenient location as their schedules permit.
The Barbers, Board also agreed to a department proposal to move barbershop inspections from an annual to a biennial cycle. Currently, at least 85 percent of barbershops are in compliance with state laws and rules. A biennial cycle will provide for more efficient use of resources, allowing the department to focus more attention on those shops that fail to comply with state requirements.
These changes demonstrate that law and rule makers are making adjustments to meet the changing needs of Florida's professionals and ultimately to stimulate the economy. Also, by working closely with professional boards, we can, together, achieve better business practices.
In closing, I hope that those of you who reside in the Panhandle area of Florida will join me for the final "Quality on the Line," online office hours, on Wednesday, Aug. 12, from 3 to 5 p.m.
Charles W. Drago