LTE: Floridians Right to Demand Rigorous Professional Licensing
Floridians Right to Demand Rigorous Professional Licensing
By: Christopher Sharek, President, ASCE Florida Section
A recent article in the Democrat, Deregulate it? Florida lawmakers aim to boost employment by cutting licensing requirements (Feb. 7, 2020), described efforts by some state legislators to weaken or eliminate licensing requirements for Florida professions.
While lowering barriers to entry for occupations is a worthy goal that should be pursued, lawmakers must be careful not to sweep up professions with high public impact in the name of “reform.”
These proposals ignore one simple fact: the best way to ensure that Florida consumers are protected is to continue to require rigorous education, examination and experience for professions that directly impact public health, safety and welfare — overseen by licensing boards composed of independent experts.
The devil, as always, is in the details. Broad-brush deregulation will have the unintended consequence of putting all Floridians at needless risk.
A clear majority of consumers believe the current system protects the public, and they understand certain professions — like engineers, architects, landscape architects and certified public accountants (CPAs) — have systems in place that are rigorous for a reason. For example, professional engineers are designing the bridges you cross every day and the safe drinking water systems on which your family relies. By doing away with licensure, Florida is doing a disservice to its citizens.
Tallahassee would do well to listen to the will of consumers who are actually affected by changes in licensing laws. We ask leadership to be mindful of legislation that undermines the systems that are in place to ensure the safety, health, and welfare of our citizens.