Florida Bill could make it Easier for Contractors to stay in the Workforce – A ‘The Center Square’ Article

The Law Offices of John Caravella, P.C. does not own this content. This content was created by Andrew Powell, and was published to The Center Square on 1/25/2024. To view the full article, please click here. 

(The Center Square) — A bill in the Florida Senate that has already passed one committee hurdle could allow contractors who receive local licenses to stay in the workforce if the local community ceases issuing licenses. Senate Bill 1142 is sponsored by state Sen. Ed Hooper, R-Palm Harbor. It would amend Florida law to require any person engaging as a contractor in the construction industry in the Sunshine State to first register with the Construction Industry Licensing Board within the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

According to state law, workers in the plumbing, pipe fitting, mechanical or HVAC trades are licensed locally since the state doesn’t preempt those licenses and there is reciprocity between issuing municipalities and counties.

In the bill’s text, it states that to be initially registered, an applicant must submit a registration fee and show evidence that they are compliant with local examination and licensing requirements, with the bill noting that an examination is not required to register.

Upon receiving a registration, the applicant is allowed to contract only in the counties, municipalities, or development districts where that person has complied with all local licensing requirements and can only perform the type of work specified by the registration.

According to the bill, the Construction Licensing Board shall only issue a registration to an eligible applicant if certain conditions are first satisfied. This would include if the applicant held a certificate of registration issued by the state or local jurisdiction to work as a contractor during 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The applicant must also submit all of the following to the board — evidence of registration or evidence that the specified local jurisdiction does not require a license — such as a notification on the website of the local jurisdiction, an email or letter from the local building official or building department stating that licensing is not required.

Applicants must also show evidence they have paid required licensing fees and are compliant with insurance and financial responsibility requirements.

The discipline of licensees is the responsibility of the board, according to the bill, and the board is further statutorily required to make license and disciplinary action available through an automated information system.

License renewals would be required every two years, and the department would be required to mail a new renewal application.

The bill was unanimously voted for by the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and is now in Fiscal Policy. If passed, the law would be enacted on July 1.

John Caravella Esq., is a construction attorney and formerly practicing project architect at The Law Office of John Caravella, P.C., representing architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and owners in all phases of contract preparation, litigation, and arbitration across New York and Florida. He also serves as an arbitrator to the American Arbitration Association Construction Industry Panel. Mr. Caravella can be reached by email: [email protected] or (631) 608-1346.

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The Law Offices of John Caravella, P.C. does not own this content. This content was created by Andrew Powell, and was published to The Center Square on 1/25/2024. To view the full article, please click here. 

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