Local Licenses Being Phased Out Under New Statute
A new statute regarding the phasing out of local licenses took effect on July 1, 2021. Intended to reduce government regulation of certain non-structural contractors, the new statute will phase out nearly all local contractor licenses by 2023.
The new statute is found in Section 163.211, Florida Statutes, and states that occupational licensing is expressly reserved to the state, meaning that any local government licensing requirements are superseded by the new statute, with two exceptions: 1) Any local government licenses in effect as of January 1, 2021 are allowed, except that those licenses expire on July 1, 2023; and 2) Any local government licenses authorized by general law are allowed. Even further, local governments may not create new licensing requirements or modify existing requirements nor can local governments enforce local licensing requirements that are not authorized by the new law.
Alongside the creation of Section 163.211, Florida Statutes, the new law also modified existing language within Chapter 489, Florida Statutes. Chapter 489, Florida Statutes, which governs the licensing of specialty contractors, has also been altered to limit local licensing by governments and prohibit it in many cases. Specifically, Chapter 489, Florida Statutes, has been amended to prohibit local government from requiring a license for a person whose job scope does not substantially correspond to that of a contractor or journeyman licensed by the Construction Industry Licensing Board and specifically precludes local governments from requiring a license for:
- Interior remodeling;
- Handyman services;
- Driveway or tennis court installation;
- Decorative stone, tile marble, granite, or terrazzo installation;
- Canvas awning installation; and
- Ornamental iron installation.
Notwithstanding the new changes outlined above, counties and municipalities are authorized to issue journeyman licenses in the plumbing, pipe fitting, mechanical, and HVAC trades, as well as, the electrical and alarm system trades. Thus, people with these licenses can continue to work in the counties or municipalities where they are licensed.
While the wording of the statute does not facially appear to require state licenses for these trades unless a specific state license is required under Chapter 489, Florida Statutes, compliance with state licensing requirements is still incredibly important. Thankfully, you do not have to figure it out alone. With 75% of our attorneys Board Certified in Construction Law by the Florida Bar, Kirwin Norris is well-versed in this area of law and can assist with any questions or concerns you may have regarding these new licensing laws.