Florida Senate - 2022                                    SB 1548
       By Senator Perry
       8-01329A-22                                           20221548__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to occupational licensing; amending s.
    3         455.213, F.S.; prohibiting boards within the Division
    4         of Certified Public Accounting, the Division of
    5         Professions, or the Division of Real Estate of the
    6         Department of Business and Professional Regulation
    7         from inquiring into or considering a license
    8         applicant’s criminal history until after the board
    9         determines the applicant is otherwise qualified for a
   10         license; prohibiting the state, its agents, and
   11         political subdivisions from using, distributing, or
   12         disseminating certain criminal history information in
   13         connection with applications for licensure;
   14         prohibiting such boards from denying an applicant’s
   15         license application due to the applicant’s criminal
   16         history unless the applicant was convicted of a felony
   17         that directly relates to the profession; requiring
   18         such boards to consider specified factors when
   19         determining whether a felony is directly related to a
   20         profession; requiring such boards to provide specified
   21         notification to applicants who are determined to be
   22         ineligible for licensure because of a felony
   23         conviction; prohibiting such applicants from being
   24         denied a license if they provide specified evidence;
   25         providing a timeframe for an applicant to take
   26         specified actions relating to a board’s notice;
   27         requiring such boards to provide written notification
   28         of specified information to applicants after denying
   29         their license applications; providing an effective
   30         date.
   32  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   34         Section 1. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (3) of
   35  section 455.213, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   36         455.213 General licensing provisions.—
   37         (3)(a) Notwithstanding any other law, the applicable board
   38  shall use the process in this subsection for review of an
   39  applicant’s criminal record to determine his or her eligibility
   40  for licensure.
   41         (a)A board may not inquire into or consider the criminal
   42  history of a license applicant until after the board determines
   43  the applicant is otherwise qualified for a license as:
   44         1. A barber under chapter 476;
   45         2. A cosmetologist or cosmetology specialist under chapter
   46  477;
   47         3. Any of the following construction professions under
   48  chapter 489:
   49         a. Air-conditioning contractor;
   50         b. Electrical contractor;
   51         c. Mechanical contractor;
   52         d. Plumbing contractor;
   53         e. Pollutant storage systems contractor;
   54         f. Roofing contractor;
   55         g. Sheet metal contractor;
   56         h. Solar contractor;
   57         i. Swimming pool and spa contractor;
   58         j. Underground utility and excavation contractor; or
   59         k. Other specialty contractors; or
   60         4. Any other profession for which the department issues a
   61  license, provided the profession is offered to inmates in any
   62  correctional institution or correctional facility as vocational
   63  training or through an industry certification program.
   64         (b)1. Except as provided in subparagraph 3., a conviction,
   65  or any other adjudication, for a crime more than 5 years before
   66  the date the application is received by the applicable board may
   67  not be grounds for denial of a license specified in paragraph
   68  (a). For purposes of this paragraph, the term “conviction” means
   69  a determination of guilt that is the result of a plea or trial,
   70  regardless of whether adjudication is withheld. This paragraph
   71  does not limit the applicable board from considering an
   72  applicant’s criminal history that includes a crime listed in s.
   73  775.21(4)(a)1. or s. 776.08 at any time, but only if such
   74  criminal history has been found to relate to the practice of the
   75  applicable profession.
   76         2. Notwithstanding subparagraph 1., the following criminal
   77  history information may not be used, distributed, or
   78  disseminated by the state, its agents, or political subdivisions
   79  in connection with an application for licensure:
   80         a.An arrest without a valid conviction.
   81         b.A conviction that has been sealed, dismissed, or
   82  expunged.
   83         c.A misdemeanor conviction without incarceration.
   84         d.A noncriminal infraction.
   85         3.If a board determines an applicant is otherwise
   86  qualified for a license and begins review of the applicant’s
   87  criminal history, the board may deny an applicant’s license
   88  application due to the applicant’s criminal history only if the
   89  applicant is convicted of a felony that directly relates to the
   90  occupation for which the license is sought or held. In
   91  determining if a felony directly relates to the occupation for
   92  which the license is sought or held, the board must consider:
   93         a.The nature and seriousness of the felony;
   94         b.Whether the conviction is directly related to the
   95  licensee’s or applicant’s duties or responsibilities;
   96         c.Whether the profession presents the opportunity for the
   97  same or similar offense to occur;
   98         d.Whether circumstances leading to the applicant’s
   99  conviction are likely to occur in the profession;
  100         e.The applicant’s age at the time he or she committed the
  101  felony;
  102         f.The amount of time that has passed since the applicant
  103  committed the felony;
  104         g.All circumstances relating to the felony, including, but
  105  not limited to, mitigating circumstances or social conditions
  106  surrounding the commission of the felony; and
  107         h.Evidence of the applicant’s rehabilitation and present
  108  fitness to perform the duties of the profession.
  109         4.If a board determines that an applicant is ineligible
  110  for a license due to his or her criminal history, the board must
  111  notify the applicant, in writing and before the board’s final
  112  decision to deny the application, of the conviction that is the
  113  basis for the determination and must provide a copy of the
  114  criminal history report, if any, and provide examples of
  115  mitigation or rehabilitation evidence that the applicant may
  116  provide the board that may affect the board’s decision.
  117         5.A board may not deny an applicant convicted of an
  118  offense that a board has determined directly relates to the
  119  profession for which a license is sought a license if the
  120  applicant provides evidence of mitigation or rehabilitation and
  121  present fitness to perform the duties of the profession. An
  122  applicant has 10 business days after issuance of a notice under
  123  subparagraph 4. to respond to the notice with any required
  124  information, to challenge the accuracy of any provided
  125  information, or to submit mitigation or rehabilitation evidence.
  126  Evidence of mitigation or rehabilitation includes, but is not
  127  limited to, showing compliance with the terms and conditions of
  128  probation or parole, providing letters of reference, or
  129  providing education or program certificates.
  130         6.If a board denies a license application because of a
  131  prior conviction, the board must notify the applicant in
  132  writing:
  133         a.Of the final denial;
  134         b.Of the appeals process;
  135         c.That the applicant may be eligible for other licenses;
  136  and
  137         d.Of the earliest date the applicant may submit another
  138  license application for the profession The applicable board may
  139  consider the criminal history of an applicant for licensure
  140  under subparagraph (a)3. if such criminal history has been found
  141  to relate to good moral character.
  142         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.