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Attempts to slim down professional deregulation bill fail

TALLAHASSEE — Attempts by House Democrats to dismantle a bill that would deregulate about 20 professions went nowhere Wednesday.

Supporters of HB 5005, which covers everything from auctioneers to telemarketers, say it will boost the economy by making it easier to open new businesses. Opponents say it opens the door to abuse of consumers.

One by one, amendments to remove interior designers, auto repair shops, hair braiders, charitable organizations, athlete agents and others from the legislation failed on the House floor, largely along party-line votes.

A vote on the overall bill could come as early as today.

In many cases, said bill sponsor Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, the regulations don't really do much anyway. They are more about registration than consumer protection, she said. She cited the small number of complaints filed with the state about auto repair shops and talent agents.

Minority Leader Ron Saunders, D-Key West, introduced most of the amendments and he said that perhaps the number of complaints is low because the professions are regulated. And if all the rules require is registration, perhaps the regulations should be stronger, he said.

"Should we stop registering sex offenders because that's all we do is register them?" asked Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek. "There comes a time when registration is critical."

In a discussion of an amendment to remove intrastate movers from the bill, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Destin, said deregulating that industry will save the state money, suggesting lawmakers should think about the bottom line when considering the various amendments.

What he didn't point out is that the overall bill will actually result in a net loss to state coffers of more than $6 million, according to the House staff analysis.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.

Attempts to slim down professional deregulation bill fail 04/06/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 7:58pm]

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