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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 455
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F.S. 455.213
455.213 General licensing provisions.
(1) Any person desiring to be licensed shall apply to the department in writing. The application for licensure shall be submitted on a form prescribed by the department and must include the applicant’s social security number. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the department is the sole authority for determining the contents of any documents to be submitted for initial licensure and licensure renewal. Such documents may contain information including, as appropriate: demographics, education, work history, personal background, criminal history, finances, business information, complaints, inspections, investigations, discipline, bonding, photographs, performance periods, reciprocity, local government approvals, supporting documentation, periodic reporting requirements, fingerprint requirements, continuing education requirements, and ongoing education monitoring. The application shall be supplemented as needed to reflect any material change in any circumstance or condition stated in the application which takes place between the initial filing of the application and the final grant or denial of the license and which might affect the decision of the department. In order to further the economic development goals of the state, and notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the department may enter into an agreement with the county tax collector for the purpose of appointing the county tax collector as the department’s agent to accept applications for licenses and applications for renewals of licenses. The agreement must specify the time within which the tax collector must forward any applications and accompanying application fees to the department. In cases where a person applies or schedules directly with a national examination organization or examination vendor to take an examination required for licensure, any organization- or vendor-related fees associated with the examination may be paid directly to the organization or vendor. An application is received for purposes of s. 120.60 upon the department’s receipt of the application submitted in the format prescribed by the department; the application fee set by the board or, if there is no board, set by the department; and any other fee required by law or rule to be remitted with the application.
(2) Before the issuance of any license, the department may charge an initial license fee as determined by rule of the applicable board or, if no such board exists, by rule of the department. Upon receipt of the appropriate license fee, except as provided in subsection (4), the department shall issue a license to any person certified by the appropriate board, or its designee, or the department when there is no board, as having met the applicable requirements imposed by law or rule. However, an applicant who is not otherwise qualified for licensure is not entitled to licensure solely based on a passing score on a required examination. Upon a determination by the department that it erroneously issued a license, or upon the revocation of a license by the applicable board, or by the department when there is no board, the licensee must surrender his or her license to the department.
(3)(a) Notwithstanding any other law, the applicable board shall use the process in this subsection for review of an applicant’s criminal record to determine his or her eligibility for licensure as:
1. A barber under chapter 476;
2. A cosmetologist or cosmetology specialist under chapter 477;
3. Any of the following construction professions under chapter 489:
a. Air-conditioning contractor;
b. Electrical contractor;
c. Mechanical contractor;
d. Plumbing contractor;
e. Pollutant storage systems contractor;
f. Roofing contractor;
g. Sheet metal contractor;
h. Solar contractor;
i. Swimming pool and spa contractor;
j. Underground utility and excavation contractor; or
k. Other specialty contractors; or
4. Any other profession for which the department issues a license, provided the profession is offered to inmates in any correctional institution or correctional facility as vocational training or through an industry certification program.
(b)1. A conviction, or any other adjudication, for a crime more than 5 years before the date the application is received by the applicable board may not be grounds for denial of a license specified in paragraph (a). For purposes of this paragraph, the term “conviction” means a determination of guilt that is the result of a plea or trial, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld. This paragraph does not limit the applicable board from considering an applicant’s criminal history that includes a crime listed in s. 775.21(4)(a)1. or s. 776.08 at any time, but only if such criminal history has been found to relate to the practice of the applicable profession.
2. The applicable board may consider the criminal history of an applicant for licensure under subparagraph (a)3. if such criminal history has been found to relate to good moral character.
(c)1. A person may apply for a license before his or her lawful release from confinement or supervision. The department may not charge an applicant an additional fee for being confined or under supervision. The applicable board may not deny an application for a license solely on the basis of the applicant’s current confinement or supervision.
2. After a license application is approved, the applicable board may stay the issuance of a license until the applicant is lawfully released from confinement or supervision and the applicant notifies the applicable board of such release. The applicable board must verify the applicant’s release with the Department of Corrections before it issues a license.
3. If an applicant is unable to appear in person due to his or her confinement or supervision, the applicable board must permit the applicant to appear by teleconference or video conference, as appropriate, at any meeting of the applicable board or other hearing by the agency concerning his or her application.
4. If an applicant is confined or under supervision, the Department of Corrections and the applicable board shall cooperate and coordinate to facilitate the appearance of the applicant at a board meeting or agency hearing in person, by teleconference, or by video conference, as appropriate.
(d) Each applicable board shall compile a list of crimes that, if committed and regardless of adjudication, do not relate to the practice of the profession or the ability to practice the profession and do not constitute grounds for denial of a license. This list must be made available on the department’s website and updated annually. Beginning October 1, 2019, each applicable board shall compile a list of crimes that although reported by an applicant for licensure, were not used as a basis for denial. The list must identify for each such license application the crime reported and the date of conviction and whether there was a finding of guilt, a plea, or an adjudication entered or the date of sentencing.
(e) Each applicable board shall compile a list of crimes that have been used as a basis for denial of a license in the past 2 years and shall make the list available on the department’s website. Starting October 1, 2019, and updated quarterly thereafter, the applicable board shall compile a list indicating each crime used as a basis for denial. For each crime listed, the applicable board must identify the date of conviction, finding of guilt, plea, or adjudication entered, or date of sentencing. Such denials must be made available to the public upon request.
(4) The board, or the department when there is no board, may refuse to issue an initial license to any applicant who is under investigation or prosecution in any jurisdiction for an action that would constitute a violation of this chapter or the professional practice acts administered by the department and the boards, until such time as the investigation or prosecution is complete.
(5) When any administrative law judge conducts a hearing pursuant to the provisions of chapter 120 with respect to the issuance of a license by the department, the administrative law judge shall submit his or her recommended order to the appropriate board, which shall thereupon issue a final order. The applicant for a license may appeal the final order of the board in accordance with the provisions of chapter 120.
(6) A privilege against civil liability is hereby granted to any witness for any information furnished by the witness in any proceeding pursuant to this section, unless the witness acted in bad faith or with malice in providing such information.
(7) Any board that currently requires continuing education for renewal of a license shall adopt rules to establish the criteria for continuing education courses. The rules may provide that up to a maximum of 25 percent of the required continuing education hours can be fulfilled by the performance of pro bono services to the indigent or to underserved populations or in areas of critical need within the state where the licensee practices. The board, or the department when there is no board, must require that any pro bono services be approved in advance in order to receive credit for continuing education under this section. The standard for determining indigency shall be that recognized by the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines produced by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The rules may provide for approval by the board, or the department when there is no board, that a part of the continuing education hours can be fulfilled by performing research in critical need areas or for training leading to advanced professional certification. The board, or the department when there is no board, may make rules to define underserved and critical need areas. The department shall adopt rules for the administration of continuing education requirements adopted by the boards or the department when there is no board.
(8) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, any elected official who is licensed pursuant to any practice act within the purview of this chapter may hold employment for compensation with any public agency concurrent with such public service. Such dual service shall be disclosed according to any disclosure required by applicable law.
(9) In any instance in which a licensee or applicant to the department is required to be in compliance with a particular provision by, on, or before a certain date, and if that date occurs on a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday, then the licensee or applicant is deemed to be in compliance with the specific date requirement if the required action occurs on the first succeeding day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.
(10) Pursuant to the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, each party is required to provide his or her social security number in accordance with this section. Disclosure of social security numbers obtained through this requirement shall be limited to the purpose of administration of the Title IV-D program for child support enforcement and use by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and as otherwise provided by law.
(11) For any profession requiring fingerprints as part of the registration, certification, or licensure process or for any profession requiring a criminal history record check to determine good moral character, the fingerprints of the applicant must accompany all applications for registration, certification, or licensure. The fingerprints shall be forwarded to the Division of Criminal Justice Information Systems within the Department of Law Enforcement for processing to determine whether the applicant has a criminal history record. The fingerprints shall also be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether the applicant has a criminal history record. The information obtained by the processing of the fingerprints by the Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall be sent to the department to determine whether the applicant is statutorily qualified for registration, certification, or licensure.
(12) Any submission required to be in writing may otherwise be required by the department to be made by electronic means. The department is authorized to contract with private vendors, or enter into interagency agreements, to collect electronic fingerprints where fingerprints are required for registration, certification, or the licensure process or where criminal history record checks are required.
(13) The department shall waive the initial licensing fee, the initial application fee, and the initial unlicensed activity fee for a military veteran or his or her spouse at the time of discharge, if he or she applies to the department for a license, in a format prescribed by the department, within 60 months after the veteran is discharged from any branch of the United States Armed Forces. To qualify for this waiver, the veteran must have been honorably discharged.
(14) The department or a board must enter into a reciprocal licensing agreement with other states if the practice act within the purview of this chapter permits such agreement. If a reciprocal licensing agreement exists or if the department or board has determined another state’s licensing requirements or examinations to be substantially equivalent or more stringent to those under the practice act, the department or board must post on its website which jurisdictions have such reciprocal licensing agreements or substantially similar licenses.
(15) For the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 fiscal years, the department shall waive 50 percent of the initial licensing fee for an applicant applying for an initial license for a profession under this chapter, with such waiver limited to a maximum of $200 per year per license. The department shall waive 50 percent of a licensee’s license renewal fee for a profession under this chapter, with such waiver limited to a maximum of $200 per year per license. Such fee waivers shall not include any applicable unlicensed activity or background check fees. This subsection expires July 1, 2025.
History.s. 5, ch. 79-36; s. 29, ch. 81-302; s. 9, ch. 83-329; s. 7, ch. 84-203; s. 30, ch. 85-175; s. 3, ch. 86-287; s. 1, ch. 89-162; s. 67, ch. 89-374; s. 1, ch. 91-137; s. 10, ch. 91-220; s. 43, ch. 92-33; ss. 13, 76, ch. 92-149; s. 23, ch. 93-129; ss. 1, 4, ch. 96-309; s. 208, ch. 96-410; s. 1078, ch. 97-103; s. 63, ch. 97-170; s. 1, ch. 97-228; s. 10, ch. 97-261; s. 53, ch. 97-278; s. 2, ch. 98-166; s. 37, ch. 98-397; s. 139, ch. 99-251; s. 26, ch. 2000-160; s. 1, ch. 2001-269; s. 9, ch. 2001-278; s. 1, ch. 2007-86; s. 1, ch. 2009-195; s. 8, ch. 2010-106; s. 2, ch. 2012-61; s. 3, ch. 2012-72; s. 40, ch. 2013-116; s. 26, ch. 2014-1; s. 17, ch. 2019-167; s. 13, ch. 2020-160; s. 1, ch. 2023-68.