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Scaled-back professional deregulation plan moves ahead

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott called on the Florida Legislature this year to end job-killing regulations, and they responded.

House members reviewed regulations of more than 60 professions and industries early in the session, targeting about 30 for deregulation in HB 5005. But with no Senate companion, the measure was included in the House budget and pared down even more as House and Senate negotiators spent the weekend hammering out a budget agreement.

Now the legislation deregulates fewer than 10 professions and industries, two of them basically obsolete: outdoor movie theaters and labeling of television picture tubes.

Still scheduled to be deregulated: commercial interior designers.

Out of the plan: sports agents.

Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, pushed the agents' omission, citing scandals that have embarrassed universities and jeopardized athletes' careers.

Alexander said he got a call from University of Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley urging him to oppose deregulation of sports agents. Several former Gators football players — including Ike Hilliard, Fred Taylor and Jacquez Green — were bilked by sports agent William "Tank" Black, who in 2003 went to prison for five years.

Lawmakers also removed auto repair shops, charitable organizations, talent agents and water vending machines from the legislation.

In addition to interior designers, still planned for deregulation are auctioneer apprentices, rooming houses, hair braiders, hair wrappers and sales representatives' contracts involving commissions. The House and Senate will vote on the plan as part of the budget later this week

The interior design provision has prompted lengthy and emotional debate in recent weeks. Supporters of deregulation accuse licensed commercial interior designers of maintaining a monopoly on the profession. Opponents say it means interior designers will lose work to architects because they will lose the ability to sign off on legal documents.

"Registered interior designers have been unfairly targeted by a measure that now only addresses a handful of professions," said Don Davis, director of government and public affairs for the American Society of Interior Designer.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Times/Herald staff writer Michael C. Bender contributed to this report. Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.

Scaled-back professional deregulation plan moves ahead 05/02/11 [Last modified: Monday, May 2, 2011 9:47pm]
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