It pains me to say anything good about Florida’s don’t-worry-about-the-virus governor, who’s made that state a hotspot with 350,000+ infections and 5,000+ deaths. But I’m a credit where credit is due kind of guy.

Maybe Gov. Ron DeSantis is one of the planet’s worst handlers of a killer health hazard but he’s turned out to be an economic wizard when it comes to exorcizing the heavy-handed state regulation that impedes business growth in states like ours.

Florida might be on track to join the list of America’s least regulated states. The National Review magazine says right now those with the honor are South Dakota, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, and North Dakota. The most regulated states are California, New York, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas.

Hawaii?  The magazine says “Hawaii’s online code is simply too disorganized to analyze for now. Each agency’s rules are listed on a separate, unique website that would require writing a distinct computer program for each. Our hope is that Hawaii will take action to make their code more accessible to the public and to researchers in the future.”

There’s not a Hawaii small business person I’ve ever talked to who has not bemoaned what seems to them to be excessive regulation. I tend to agree. Why, for instance, do we need licensing (except for health certificates) for barbers or nail and foot workers? Can’t we decide for ourselves if we like what the barber or hairdresser does for us? Why is a carpenter who does handy work under $1,000 okay but needs a license if the job is $1,500?

I have an acquaintance in the scuba diving business. If a client wants a lift from a hotel to the Kewalo Basin boat, he does a pickup — gratis — in his equipment van. The state decided he should have gotten a Public Utilities Commission for-hire-carrier license and fined him $2,000 plus making him stop doing that.

Another friend fixed his driveway to prevent roadway runoff from flooding his yard. Who knew you need a special city permit to fix your driveway? Ding!! $13,600 worth of fines for non-compliance.

Some of our regulatory efforts are commendable. Workplace safety and food sanitation come to mind. Others cause the sensation that we’re too regulation-happy.

But back to what DeSantis in Florida has done — in case Gov. David Ige and our state legislators don’t get around to reading about a possible better way to run things because it runs counter to what’s been done here for decades.

At the end of June, DeSantis signed the Occupational Freedom Act into law. It kills the need for many training classes needed for licensing for pros such as landscape architects, cosmetologists and barbers.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken a sharp knife to state regulation and licensing.

Lots of licensing and registration flat done away with!  Zip now for nail technicians and make-up artists. No more commercial driver’s licenses required for anyone who had experience driving heavy vehicles in the military.

Florida even had required licensing for boxing announcers and boxing timekeepers. That’s gone.

As the Wall Street Journal reported it: “This is a big deal for ordinary people trying to make a living. Most of those affected are folks who either run their own small operations or work for small businesses. Hefty licensing fees and education requirements — and paperwork — can keep people out of jobs. 

An Institute for Justice study had found that Florida lost nearly 130,000 jobs each year because of its licensing requirements. The annual economic value lost to unneeded regulations was estimated at $460 million.

The study says licensing creates the loss of 1.8 million jobs nationwide each year. In the 1950s, only about 5% of America’s workers were licensed, but today almost 20% are.

If you want an eye opener, look in the State section of contact numbers in our phone book and check out how many kinds of businesses require licensing, inspection and supervision.

As if my Supercuts barber needs some well-paid state inspector making sure she knows how to cut hair!

I don’t care if my tree trimmer or landscaper is licensed. I hire based on recommendations from others and pay based on satisfaction with the work done.

Licensing here seems to have become just another revenue source. I even pay a license fee for my do-no-harm moped!

Those in our Legislature ( and Ige) need to take a look at Florida’s new Occupational Freedom Act.


Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Vietnam War, Iraq #1 in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. Married to Denby Fawcett, one daughter. Brett Jones.

7 replies on “Hey, Gov. Ige — Check Out Florida”

  1. They may bust you for fixing your driveway on a residential street where you pay taxes, but you can also illegally build an elaborate shack with lots of accoutrements on state land between the Waianae Boat Harbor and Waianae High School and live there rent-free for more than a decade with 100 friends and get “free” water and trash collection and a bunch of other handouts. And you can be a media darling too!

  2. Years ago my brother stopped his concrete driveway renovation way before the roadway just to avoid the hassle of going for a permit. The home owner and city both lose.

    Guess the city is actually very generous with allowing those monster houses to be built to completion. Go figgah?

    1. When I built our house 22 years ago, Graham Builders hired a guy Whose job was to go stand in lines and get permits. I got the impression this was routine.

      1. Yes, still common. We did a project this year and the person who walked our paperwork through and checked in (bugged) DPP was referred to as a “router.” She was hired by the contractor (nominal fee to us) and was router for a dozen or more permit applications at the same time. Lucrative business.

  3. To say nothing about what he’s done to bolster Florida’s Funeral and Undertaking business. Yes, sir, Bob. Admire and give the guy credit for cutting regulations AND helping to reduce the Florida population, cut Medicre debt. So, people are dying, the hospitals are overwheled, and lives destroyed. But he’s cut those regulations. Of course, we remember why people loved Benito Mussolini, he made the trains run on time. (About that alliance with Hitler and the destruction of WWII..details, details..) Hope the Governor ignores your suggestion.

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