Over the past several years Governor Rick Scott has touted Florida as a refuge from “burdensome regulations” and has made it a goal to promote job creation in the state. But as Florida’s unemployment rate has fallen below the national average some groups argue the state continues to over-regulate businesses—and one group is targeting several industries it says are prime for de-regulation.
“You see elected officials come into office, trying to dereg, dereg, dereg, which, by-and-large, we here at the JMI would agree with," says James Madison Institute President Bob McClure. JMI is a free-market think thank in Tallahassee.
McClure likens state business regulation to a pendulum: take when Governor Rick Scott first took office. He abolished the state’s growth management agency, and in doing so, managed to scale back numerous regulations placed on local governments in areas like zoning. But on the other side of the pendulum are industries that fight deregulation. Claudia Edenfield is an attorney with the Institute For Justice. It’s a libertarian-leaning non-profit law firm specializing in economics and private property.
“It’s important not to deregulate full cloth but enact health and safety regulations that will benefit the public instead of regulations designed to shut people out and protect people already in business," she says.
Edenfield, along with the James Madison Institute, have released a study they call the ‘Dirty Dozen’, a list of 12 professions they say could use a regulation trim. That list includes auctioneers, travel agents, funeral directors, household movers, and interior designers, cosmetologists and barbers.
“What the government should be trying to do is legislate for health and safety reasons and not for protecting people from things they shouldn’t be protected from, like bad haircuts," Edenfield says.
Edenfield argues industries should self-regulate but some industries don’t want to be deregulated. And not everyone believes it’s in the state, nor consumers’, best interest to roll back training requirements.
“We study bacteriology—teaching students how not to transfer because we know germs hide in wet areas, they also study infectious disease control," says Rene Rollins, owner of World Class Academy Beauty School and salon on the South Side of Tallahassee. She’s a member of the Florida Association of Post-Secondary schools, licensed to do business in the state, and has been a cosmetologist for more than 30 years. She takes her job seriously, and says getting licensed in Florida is more than just being able to do hair. It’s knowing what’s going on with a client.
“You have to be familiar with how a disease looks, and to me, that’s dangerous, because if person has psoriasis o the scalp—that’s a problem. You can’t go into a person’s head with no knowledge of that because you can pass that on to yourself, or someone else," Rollins says.
And for many cosmetologists, reputation matters. So does work ethic and training-- what students get when they go to beauty school. Rollins says she doesn’t want cosmetology students to lose training in professionalism and shop management— business basics that are taught in school.
“This is the frst time ever getting my hair done in Tallahassee," says Rep. Daphne Campbell (D-Miami) who is getting her hair styled at Rollins' beauty school.
In 2011 the Legislature tried and failed to deregulate several industries, including cosmetology and interior design. Campbell was among lawmakers who voted against deregulation.
“To me, that bill was unnecessary because, you think I’m going to go to a cosmetologist and you don’t even have a license?”
This year, Florida lawmakers are faced with several industry-regulation decisions. The state is looking to regulate the practice of telemedicine, for example: outlining rules for which doctors should be able to see patients remotely. It’s considering removing a ban on 64-oz bottles of beer—called growlers, something that would benefit small breweries, and is opposed by large companies. To regulate, or deregulate? That is the question only the Legislature can answer in the final weeks of session.