HB 5007 amending the Current Mold Licensing Law NOT Repealing IT!

March 24, 2011

The fight to prevent the Repeal of the Current Florida Mold Licensing Laws has reached a Major Victory today!

Mold Related Services have been removed from HB 5005!  The removal was via the introduction of HB 5007 which would Amend the current mold licensing law as opposed to repeal the Licensing altogether.

The House Economic Affairs Committee took up and passed the Proposed Committee Substitute for HB, 5005 HB 5007, which repeals several professions regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and Mold Related Services were removed from the bill.

The threat of a total Repeal of the Current Mold Licensing Law has been put on temporary hold.

Thank You to everyone who sent emails and made those important calls to your District Representatives and Senators.  Your hard work has paid off!

The amendments to the current mold licensing law are listed below.

HB 5007 Amends HB 5005

The PCB was introduced by Representative Esteban L. Bovo, jr. Reducing and Streamlining Regulations: Revises various provisions relating to professions & occupations regulated by DBPR.

The Proposed Committee Bill will amend the current licensing requirements to obtain a Mold Assessors or Mold Remediators License.

HB Bill 5007 amends HB 5005 by:

1. Eliminating the education language requiring advanced education and would only require an applicant to possesses a high school diploma or its equivalent.

2. Eliminating any documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection and would only require an applicant to pass the current approved licensing examination.

3. Eliminating the requirement of an applicant passing a certification examination offered by a nationally recognized organization and adds the phrase “or state”

4. Eliminates the training in water, mold, and respiratory protection requirement in section 468.8419 Prohibitions: penalties.-

5. Reduces the applicants experience requirement of 3 years to 1 year.

6. Reduces the number of mold assessments or remediation invoices prepared by the applicant from 40 to 10.

 

Here is the link to HB 5007 Click Here

Below is the Mold Related Services sections of HB 5007.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.

HB 5007 A bill to be entitled, An act relating to reducing and streamlining regulations; amends s. 14 468.8413, F.S.; revising licensing requirements for mold 15 assessors and remediators; amends s. 468.8414, F.S.; revising 16 the training requirements for mold assessors and remediators; 17 amends s. 468.8419, F.S.; related to prohibitions and penalties 18 for mold assessors and remediators; amends s. 468.8423, F.S.; 19 revises licensing qualifications for mold assessors and 20 remediators;

(1) A person desiring to be licensed as a mold assessor or mold remediator must apply to the department after satisfying the examination requirements of this part.

(2) An applicant may practice in this state as a mold assessor or mold remediator if he or she passes the required examination, is of good moral character, and possesses a high school diploma or its equivalent. completes one of the following requirements:

(a)1. For a mold remediator, at least a 2-year associate of arts degree, or the equivalent, with at least 30 semester hours in microbiology, engineering, architecture, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, or a related field of science from an accredited institution and a minimum of 1 year of documented field experience in a field related to mold remediation; or

2. A high school diploma or the equivalent with a minimum of 4 years of documented field experience in a field related to mold remediation.

(b)1. For a mold assessor, at least a 2-year associate of arts degree, or the equivalent, with at least 30 semester hours in microbiology, engineering, architecture, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, or a related field of science from an accredited institution and a minimum of 1 year of documented field experience in conducting microbial sampling or investigations; or

2. A high school diploma or the equivalent with a minimum of 4 years of documented field experience in conducting microbial sampling or investigations.

(3) The department shall review and approve courses of study in mold assessment and mold remediation.

Section 5. Paragraphs (2) and (3) of s. 468.8414, Florida Statutes are amended to read:

(2) The department shall certify for licensure any applicant who satisfies the requirements of s. 468.8413 who has passed the licensing examination and has documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection. The department may refuse to certify any applicant who has violated any of the provisions of this part.

(3) The department shall certify as qualified for a license by endorsement an applicant who is of good moral character, who has the insurance coverage required under s. 468.8421, and who:

(a) Is qualified to take the examination as set forth in s.468.8413 and has passed a certification examination offered by a nationally or state recognized organization that certifies persons in the specialty of mold assessment or mold remediation that has been approved by the department as substantially  equivalent to the requirements of this part and s. 455.217; or

Section 6. Subsections (1) and (2) of section 468.8419, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

468.8419 Prohibitions; penalties.—

(1) A person may not:

(a) Effective July 1, 2011, perform or offer to perform any mold assessment unless the mold assessor has documented  training in water, mold, and respiratory protection under s. 468.8414(2).

(a)(b) Effective July 1, 2011, perform or offer to perform any mold assessment unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.

(b)(c) Use the name or title “certified mold assessor,” “registered mold assessor,” “licensed mold assessor,” “mold assessor,” “professional mold assessor,” or any combination thereof unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.

(c)(d) Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation to a structure on which the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company provided a mold assessment within the last 12 months. This paragraph does not apply to a certified contractor who is classified in s. 489.105(3) as a Division I contractor. However, the department may adopt rules requiring that, if such contractor performs the mold assessment and offers to perform the mold remediation, the contract for mold remediation provided to the homeowner discloses that he or she has the right to request competitive bids.

(d)(e) Inspect for a fee any property in which the assessor or the assessor’s company has any financial or transfer interest.

(e)(f) Accept any compensation, inducement, or reward from a mold remediator or mold remediator’s company for the referral of any business to the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company.

(f)(g) Offer any compensation, inducement, or reward to a mold remediator or mold remediator’s company for the referral of any business from the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company.

(g)(h) Accept an engagement to make an omission of the assessment or conduct an assessment in which the assessment itself, or the fee payable for the assessment, is contingent upon the conclusions of the assessment.

(2) A mold remediator, a company that employs a mold remediator, or a company that is controlled by a company that also has a financial interest in a company employing a mold remediator may not:

(a) Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation unless the remediator has documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection under s. 468.8414(2).

(a)(b) Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.

(b)(c) Use the name or title “certified mold remediator,” “registered mold remediator,” “licensed mold remediator,” “mold remediator,” “professional mold remediator,” or any combination thereof unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.

(c)(d) Perform or offer to perform any mold assessment to a structure on which the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company provided a mold remediation within the last 12 months. This paragraph does not apply to a certified contractor who is classified in s.489.105(3) as a Division I contractor. However, the department may adopt rules requiring that, if such contractor performs the mold remediation and offers to perform the mold assessment, the contract for mold assessment provided to the homeowner discloses that he or she has the right to request competitive bids.

(d)(e) Remediate for a fee any property in which the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company has any financial or transfer interest.

(e)(f) Accept any compensation, inducement, or reward from a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.

(f)(g) Offer any compensation, inducement, or reward to a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.

Section 7. Paragraphs (1) of s.468.8423, Florida Statutes are amended to read:

(1) A person who performs mold assessment or mold remediation as defined in this part may qualify for licensure by the department as a mold assessor or mold remediator if the person submits his or her application to the department by March 1, 2011 and if the person:

(a) Is certified as a mold assessor or mold remediator by a state or national association that requires, for such certification, successful completion of a proctored examination on mold assessment or mold remediation, as applicable; or

(b) At the time of application, has at least 1 3 years of experience as a mold assessor or mold remediator. To establish the 1 3 years of experience, an applicant must submit at

least 10 40 mold assessments or remediation invoices prepared by the applicant.

Section 8. Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section 324 468.841, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

468.841 Exemptions.—

(1) The following persons are not required to comply with any provisions of this part relating to mold assessment:

(d) Persons or business organizations acting within the scope of the respective licenses required under part XV of chapter 468, chapter 471, part I of chapter 481, chapter 482, chapter 489, or part XV of this chapter, are acting on behalf of an insurer under part VI of chapter 626, or are persons in the manufactured housing industry who are licensed under chapter 320, except when any such persons or business organizations hold themselves out for hire to the public as a “certified mold assessor,” “registered mold assessor,” “licensed mold assessor,” “mold assessor,” “professional mold assessor,” or any combination thereof stating or implying licensure under this part.

Section 9. Subsection (1) and paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section 469.006, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

469.006 Licensure of business organizations; qualifying agents.—

(1) If an individual proposes to engage in consulting or contracting in that individual’s own name, or a fictitious name under which the individual is doing business as a sole proprietorship, the license may be issued only to that individual.

(2)(a) If the applicant proposes to engage in consulting or contracting as a partnership, corporation, business trust, or other legal entity, or in any name other than the applicant’s legal name, the legal entity must apply for licensure through a qualifying agent or the individual applicant must apply for licensure under the fictitious name.

 

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•  Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•  Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


IAQA POSITION STATEMENT On Florida HB 4171 & SB 1244

March 23, 2011

Released March 23, 2011

ABOUT IAQA

The Indoor Air Quality Association is a Florida not‐for‐profit corporation established in 1998. IAQA is dedicated to promoting the exchange of indoor environmental information, through education and research, for the safety and well being of the general public. The Association has more than 3,500 member’s nation‐wide, including more than 400 members in the state of Florida. IAQA provides training courses for mold assessment professionals, IAQ investigators, and mold remediation contractors, but does not act as a certifying organization. IAQA courses have been approved by the Florida DBPR for continuing education credit for licensed trades and professions including HVAC contractors and professional engineers.

BACKGROUND

In 2008, the State of Florida adopted Statutes under Title XXXII, Regulation of Professions and Occupations, Chapter 468, which resulted in licensure of individuals and companies that provide mold‐related services such as mold assessment and mold remediation in Florida.

According to Part XVI, section 468.84, Legislative purpose, it states, “The [Florida] Legislature finds it necessary in the interest of the public safety and welfare, to prevent damage to real and personal property, to avert economic injury to the residents of this state, and to regulate persons and companies that hold themselves out to the public as qualified to perform mold‐related services.”

This action came after months of thorough and exhaustive review by state legislative and regulatory authorities.  The views and opinions of the private sector were given serious consideration through a series of stakeholder meetings and hearings in 2006 and 2007. Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) were involved in helping legislators determine the necessity for mold‐related regulations.

The law went into effect July 1, 2010. Required licensure of mold‐related service providers was delayed but became effective March 1, 2011, with enforcement applicable starting in July 2011.

Since July 1, 2010, it is estimated that between 2,500 to 3,000 individuals and companies have obtained or applied for Florida licenses as mold assessors and/or remediators. For each individual certified person or entity, thousands of dollars were spent on training costs, examination fees, and state licensing fees. It is estimated that the state of Florida has already received $750,000 to $1 million in revenue from licensing fees to date.

Prior to the adoption of state regulations requiring licensing of mold‐related service providers, IAQA took the position that, “While allowing any person(s) or company to provide these services can lead to unscrupulous deeds damaging the industry’s overall reputation, laws and regulations that are unreasonable, anti‐competitive or overly restrictive could have an adverse affect on the industry.”

In 2007 IAQA voiced general support for efforts in Florida to license mold‐related service providers, with the caveats that such regulations should only be enacted after detailed and careful study by the state, agencies, including the FL DOH and the FL DBPR, and coupled with meetings and consultation with private sector stakeholders, scientists, and representatives of industry. IAQA also advocated a position that those seeking professional credentials in microbial assessment and/or microbial remediation should be permitted to obtain certification from an independent, credible, third‐party‐accredited certification providers in lieu of state administered training and/or testing requirements. Such an approach relieves the states of bureaucratic and administrative expense while taking advantage of voluntary, industry‐consensus programs already established.

The current Florida regulations were created and implemented in a manner mostly supported by IAQA. That is, the process included thorough, responsible consideration by public and private sector representatives, and the rules implemented recognize accredited certification bodies as developers and administrators of examinations required for licensure.

IAQA POSITION ON FLORIDA HB 4171 & SB 1244

AND THE POTENTIAL REPEAL OF FLORIDA’S MOLDRELATED SERVICES LICENSING REGULATIONS

On February 16, 2011, Florida State Representative Grant introduced a bill, HB 4171, in the Florida House that would repeal the newly effective mold licensing regulations. On February 21, 2011, State Senator Norman introduced a companion bill, SB 1244, in the Florida Senate for the same purpose. Both bills have been making their way through committees with high‐majority votes in favor of the bills.

In the analysis of HB 4171 presented to the Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee in March 2011, it states, “The bill is anticipated to have a negative fiscal impact on state trust funds from the reduction in fees associated with applications for licensure. The DBPR indicates that the actual reduction is unknown at this time as program requirements are not enforceable until July 1, 2011,” and, “A positive fiscal impact on state trust funds may be anticipated to occur from the reduction in cost associated with processing applications. The DBPR indicates that the actual positive impact is unknown at this time as program requirements are not enforceable until July 1, 2011.”

In essence, the state will lose revenue but also reduce its administrative costs. However, there is no evidence whether this will result in a net loss or net gain for the state trust funds. It is worth noting that while DBPR is responsible for processing applications, the mold licensing rules as written do not burden DBPR with the high cost of licensing activities related to the creation, maintenance and administration of proficiency examinations or training. Theoretically, the mold‐related services licensing program should have substantially lower administrative costs than other Florida licensing programs administered by DBPR or other state agencies.

Under the analysis of HB 4171 presented to the Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee, under the section titled, “Direct Economic Impact on Private Sector,” the analysis simply says, “Not anticipated to be significant.” IAQA strongly disagrees with that analysis. Currently, applicants must submit to a criminal background check, are required to attest that they have obtained general liability and errors and omissions insurance for both preliminary and post remediation mold assessment in the amount of no less than $1 million dollars (which is very costly to obtain), disclose contact and background information, complete a lengthy and complicated application, and submit substantial licensing fees. Companies that have worked to meet the current moldrelated services licensing requirements have spent thousands of dollars and resources to comply with the newly effective regulation, including training of personnel and certification testing through non‐governmental entities approved by DPBR. IAQA members have report d costs ranging between $3,500 and $7,500 per employee to become licensed. The economic downturn has placed a severe financial strain on many IAQA members’ businesses, and this new licensure has added to the impact. However, IAQA members are working to maintain compliance with the regulation in order to better serve the citizens of Florida and help raise the bar for the industry.

Another aspect of the current mold‐services licensing regulation that IAQA supported are the provisions requiring professional insurance. Though these provisions have likewise resulted in increased costs of doing business for IAQA members, there is widespread recognition that the insurance provisions benefit Florida citizens. IAQA supported the insurance provisions in the current regulation, despite the high cost of the insurance and the difficulty some contractors and consultants have in obtaining it.

CONCLUSION

Since the rules only became effective March 1, 2011, there has been insufficient time to determine if the current mold‐related services licensing program in Florida improves public safety and welfare, prevents damage to real and personal property, and averts economic injury to the residents of Florida. IAQA sees no evidence of any analysis of this nature by the state, its agencies or the private sector to make such a determination. In fact, in none of the legislative proposals is there any indication given as to why or how the repeal of mold licensing rules benefits the citizens of Florida.

It is IAQA’s position that prior to the repeal of the current Florida mold‐related services licensing rules, the state should conduct a review and analysis akin that those undertaken in 2006 and 2007 by state legislative representatives, state agencies, scientists, and public and private sector stakeholders.

Should a careful, deliberate determination be made by the state of Florida that it is in the best interests of the citizens of Florida to repeal the current mold‐related services licensing program, those best interests should be communicated to the citizens and businesses of the state. Included should be an explanation of how not requiring mold‐related service providers to be licensed and carry professional and liability insurance benefits Florida consumers.

If the mold licensing rules are repealed, it is IAQA’s position that the state of Florida should refund to all current mold‐related services license holders all costs associated with obtaining said licensure, including but not limited to fees paid to DBPR and other state and federal agencies as part of the application process, and related costs directly associated with the pursuit of compliance with Florida’s current mold‐related services licensing regulations.

Please direct any questions regarding this position statement to:

INDOOR AIR QUALITY ASSOCIATION, INC.
c/o Glenn Fellman, Executive Director
12339 Carroll Avenue
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 231‐8388
gfellman@iaqa.org
 
 
John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•  Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•  Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


Disaster Damage Is an Invitation to Fraud, Says FEMA in 2004……HB 5005???

March 22, 2011

The proposed repeal of the current Florida Mold License Law with the introduction of HB 4171, HB 5005 and SB 1244 is an invitation for Fraud just as FEMA warned after the 2004 Hurricanes hit Florida.

FEMA knew back in 2004 that Floridians were being scammed in their time of need and published the following article.

Floridians who are rebuilding their hurricane-damaged homes and businesses need to be alert for contractors and repair services that engage in fraud and prey on vulnerable disaster victims.

The first rule of rebuilding is never to pay in cash or more than a reasonable down payment before the work is done. The second rule is to check the references of anyone you hire and compare prices in your area. A reliable repair service will have references and insurance to protect its workers, and will offer you a contract specifying that it pays for all materials used. These are things you should insist on.

Many illegitimate contractors drive long distances to reach a disaster area to seek customers who are overstressed and eager to have their homes restored. A number of scams are used, including offers to increase damage estimates and posing as representatives of the Small Business Administration (SBA) or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

All federal agency personnel carry photo identification, which you should ask to see. No federal agent will ask you to pay a fee for any service. If you have internet access you can check a contractor’s licensing status at www.myfloridalicense.com.

That’s Right CHECK FOR A STATE LICENSE!

Don’t Repeal the Current Florida Mold Licensing Law!

The proposed repeal of the current Florida Mold License Law with the introduction of HB 4171, HB 5005 and SB 1244 is an invitation for Fraud just as FEMA warned after the 2004 Hurricanes hit Florida.

Floridians need Licensed Mold Professionals and Consumer Protection!

Say No to the Repeal of the Current Mold Licensing Law!

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•  Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•  Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


If HB 5005, HB 4171, and SB 1244 pass then Florida Storm Weary Residents May Once Again Fall Victim to Fraud and Theft.

March 22, 2011

National Weather Service Warns “Scam Artists Stay Busy During Hurricane Season”.

Scammers expect to make easy cash after hurricanes strike. It’s happened after each recorded Hurricane in Florida.  Even before the water recedes disaster restoration contractors descend on Florida offering to quickly help restore Floridians homes.  Residents who are often forced to wait days and even weeks for storm cleanup often make bad choices, risking savings & ID theft.

The National Weather Service urges everyone to stay alert for hurricane and tropical weather advisories; but for some residents, the damage continues for weeks or even months after the winds and rain have died down. As local law enforcement authorities and even officials from the weather channel warn, scammers hit the computer, phones, and streets once a storm has passed, hoping to take advantage of vulnerable storm-weary residents.

With the current Mold Licensing Law in place Floridians can now simply ask for a Mold Inspector or Mold Remediators State License and be assured that the individual is not a Fly-By-Night Out of State Scam Artist.

Hurricane Victims Alerted to Scam Offers for Free Mold Inspections and Discounted Mold Remediation!

Consumers may not only lose hard-earned savings, but may also lose their identity. Hurricane scammers hit the streets hard, offering to inspect storm damaged homes and provide affordable remediation. These con artists show up at Florida resident’s door often passing out fliers and quick print business cards. They call on the phone, and many hit the Internet as power is restored to a damaged area.

When a Scammer appears at the door, he or she:

  • May be well-dressed and present a business card.
  • Claim to a represent a well-known company sending workers into the area to help with cleanup and repair.
  • May be wearing a (phony) uniform that looks authentic.
  • Usually has a (phony) contract for the resident to sign.
  • Asks for an advance payment, payable by cash or credit card number.
  • May claim that neighbors in the area are using his (or her) services to give the client reassurance.
  • May pose as an independent contractor for whatever repair work is obviously needed.
  • May pose as a mold inspector, citing extensive mold and mildew damage that can result in serious health problems if not fixed by a professional immediately (mold remediation).

What can a Florida Resident do to protect themselves from Fraud?

  • Ask for a Florida State Mold Inspection or Mold Remediators License
  • Check the History of anyone with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation BEFORE you hire them.

That is if the current HB 4171, HB 5005 and SB 1244 aren’t passed.  If the Bills to repeal the Current Mold Licensing Laws do pass then when the next storm hits its “Caveat Emptor” all over again.

Maybe we should all move to Texas or Louisiana where they refuse to let history repeat itself and are protecting their citizens from fraud after the next storm with solid Mold Licensing Laws.

It’s never been more important to write, email, and call you District Representative and Senator.

The last thing you want to worry about after a Storm is whether or not your Mold Professional is legitimate!  They should just be State Licensed.

Floridians need Licensed Mold Professionals and Consumer Protection!

Say No to the Repeal of the Current Mold Licensing Law!

 

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•  Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•  Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


HB 5005 Deregulation of Professions and Occupations

March 18, 2011

HB 5005 the Florida Caveat Emptor Law. Caveat Emptor is Latin for “Let the Buyer Beware” (i.e., one buys at one’s own risk). The axiom or principle in commerce that the buyer alone is responsible for assessing the quality of a service before buying.

This is the push from the Governor to reduce government and increase jobs by allowing anyone,yes anyone, to provide you with a professional service listed in the repeal bill to do so without meeting the states current licensing requirements.

Florida floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, create a perfect feeding ground for scam artists from both inside and outside of Florida. When it comes to rip-off professionals cashing in on the misery of others, fraudulent Mold Inspectors and Mold Remediators rank high on the list.  As Floridians, we had been exposed to these fraudulent mold service professionals for years.

Last year the current Mold Services Licensing Law was passed and enacted.  Finally providing Floridians with the much needed Consumer Protection needed for years.  Floridians can now request to see a Mold Inspector or Mold Remediators License and review their history on the FL DBPR website before the make the decision to hire.

And now, the new Governor wants to repeal this much needed Mold Related Services Licensing Law.

If HB 5005 passes and we lose the Mold Related Services Licensing Law, all Floridians will once again be exposed to fraud when the next disaster hits.

States like Texas and Louisiana have Mold Related Services Licensing Laws because they know the TRUE need for Mold Services Licensing.  They have seen more than their share of Mold and Remediation Fraud recently and have enacted the necessary Mold Services Licensing Laws to protect their citizens.

We have done the same here in Florida and need to fight to keep the Current Mold Licensing Law to protect Floridians from Mold Scams and Mold Fraud.

 

Update from Dan Pollock, Pollock & Associates, Inc.

The House Business & Consumer Services Subcommittee recently approved in a partyline vote—with all Republican members voting for the bill—the proposed committee bill that would de-regulate nearly 30 licensed professionals under DBPR. The proposed committee bill (PCB) now has a bill number that you can track: HB 5005.

This link goes to HB 5005 on myfloridahouse.gov: http://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=46688&SessionId=66

HB 5005 is now sitting in the House Economic Affairs Committee waiting to be put on an agenda. Here is the link to the members of that committee: http://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?SessionId=66&CommitteeId=2590

As of now, there is no senate companion to this bill however that can change at any time. There are individual bills to repeal the Mold Services law in its entirety, which are also in play.

The de-regulation of Mold Services is by no means a foregone conclusion! There are 7 weeks left in a 9 week session. Many members who voted for the de-reg bill last week did so based purely upon House politics; not because they believe all 30 professions should be de-regulated. Many have issues with both Home Inspectors and Mold Services going back to the unregulated, wild west that it once was. Many understand that these services were regulated because of bad actors and abuses to consumers that were occurring.

Lobbying efforts are greatly needed. If legislators do not hear from industry representatives, they often feel that it must not be a ‘big deal’ since no one is coming to see them. Emails and phone calls are very important, but they do not take the place of a lobbyist who has a personal relationship with these legislators visiting with them and explaining the history of the profession and how you got to become regulated professionals. Going unrepresented in Tallahassee would be a very risky gamble.

I believe that with hard work lobbying the members we will prevail. I have already started meeting with members to discuss the disastrous results that would occur if the legislature does away with our licensure. I have started this work so that we, as an industry, are not playing catch-up once I am retained as your lobbyist and an agreement is signed. But, I can only do so much work without an agreement and a first payment.

Please inform all interested Mold Services professionals who have a stake maintaining their licensed professional status that now is the time to step up and take action. I stand ready to work tirelessly to defeat this de-regulation measure and, again, I believe that we will prevail.

HB 5005

Deregulation of Professions and Occupations: Deletes provisions establishing DBPR’s Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, & Mobile Homes, Florida Board of Auctioneers, Board of Employee Leasing Companies, Board of Landscape Architecture, Board of Professional Geologists, & Board of Professional Surveyors & Mappers, Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council, & Regulatory Council of Community Association Managers; deletes provisions for regulation of yacht & ship brokers, auctioneers, talent agencies, community association managers, athlete agents, employee leasing companies, home inspectors, mold assessors & remediators, professional surveyors & mappers, persons practicing hair braiding, hair wrapping, or body wrapping, interior designers, landscape architects, professional geologists, professional fundraising consultants & solicitors, water vending machines & operators, health studios, ballroom dance studios, commercial telephone sellers & salespersons, movers & moving brokers, certain outdoor theaters, certain business opportunities, motor vehicle repair shops, sellers of travel, contracts with sales representatives involving commissions, & television picture tubes; revises name & membership of Board of Architecture; revises license classifications of public lodging establishments; deletes DBPR’s authority to enforce & ensure compliance of certain provisions relating to condominiums, cooperatives, vacation plans & timeshares, & mobile homes.

Last Event: Now in Economic Affairs Committee on Friday, March 18, 2011 3:00 PM

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•  Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•  Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


Florida Deregulation Bill – Will It Open a Pandora’s Box of Evildoing Here in Florida?

March 17, 2011

Posted on March 15, 2011by Rosa Schechter

A bill that would remove the State of Florida from overseeing and regulating a wide variety of business activities is moving through the Florida Legislature right now — and it’s so comprehensive that even the industry leaders currently subject to agency oversight are denouncing the proposed law as bad for Florida.

As reported in today’s Orlando Sentinel in a story by Jason Garcia entitled, “Some industries balk at giant deregulation bill in Florida House ,” the bill is big – it’s 281 pages long, and even lots of businesses don’t like it.

Garcia reports that over 30 representatives (lobbyists and others) have gone before the House Business and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee to give their testimony of how bad things could get if the Florida state government were to exit the building in these various industries.  Even Disney had a man go before the committee, warning of land fraud temptations without Florida’s oversight of time shares. (Disney’s big into the time share condo business.)

What the Deregulation Bill Proposes to Do

It’s a budget cutting manuever that would take the State of Florida out of the business of overseeing and regulating 25+ professions and industries operating for profit in this state — including home inspectors, time-shares, condos, landscape architects, professional surveyors, professional mappers, and other real estate related industries as well as businesses like auto mechanics and travel agencies.

For example, here’s what is being considered regarding architects.

Architects – Currently, an Architect business must be licensed by the state, unless exempt from licensure, in addition to the requirement that the individual be licensed. Persons currently exempt from licensure include anyone who makes plans and specifications for, or supervises the erection, enlargement, or alteration of:

1. Any building upon any farm for the use of any farmer, regardless ofthecost of the building;

2. Anyone-family or two-family residence building, townhouse, or domesticoutbuilding appurtenant to any one-family or two-family residence, regardless of cost; or

3. Any other type ofbuilding costing less than $25,000, except a school,auditorium, or other building intended for public use, provided that theservices of a registered architect shall not be required for minor school projects.

The proposal is to eliminate business license equirements for sole proprietorships for individuals licensed as Architects.

Florida isn’t new to deregulation — Governor Crist made lots of headlines in 2009 regarding the extent that the State of Florida would regulate the commercial insurance industry.  There was also lots of controversy over the extent that Florida should or would oversee the telecommunications industry in the state.

However, with the new shift in power up in Tallahassee, and Governor Scott’s stated intention to run the State of Florida like a business, wide-spread deregulation like this may not face the big fight that it has seen in past years.

Deregulation From a Land Development Perspective

Land developers often find state regulations to be time-consuming and expensive, but all reputable real estate professionals still respect the reality that there are those that push the edge of the envelope (or go past it) for the sake of profit.  No one wants to open the door to a free-for-all here in Florida, just because the state is in economic hard times.

So, is this massive deregulation good for Florida?  Many respected business professionals think not.  Consider what’s being done here.  Specifically, the government would be hands-off regarding the following industries:

1. Athlete Agents

2. Auctioneers

3. Auctioneer Apprentices

4. Barbers

5. Body Wrappers

6. Business Opportunities

7. Cattle Owners with Officially Registered Brands

8. Charitable Organizations

9. Community Association Managers/Finns

10. Condominiums and Cooperatives

11. Dance Studios

12. Employee Leasing Companies

13. Hair Braiders

14. Hair Wrappers

15. Health Studios

16. Home Inspectors

17. Interior Designers

18. Intrastate Movers

19. Landscape Architects

20. Manicurists

21. Mobile Home Lots

22. Mold Related Services

23. Motor Vehicle Repair Shops

24. Professional Geology

25. Professional Surveyors and Mappers

26. Rooming Houses

27. Sellers ofTravel

28. Specialty Salons (Manicurists, Pedicurists, Nail Extensions)

29. Talent Agents

30. Telemarketing

31. Timeshares

32. Yacht and Ship Brokers

33. Television Tube Labeling (HB 4013 by Eisnaugle-Reported Favorably by BCA

Subcommittee on 2/8/11)

34. Contract Commissions (HB 4023 by Plakon- Reported Favorably by BCA

Subcommittee on 2/8/11)

35. Water Vending Machines (HB 4009 by Workman- Reported Favorably by BCA

Subcommittee on 2/8/11)

 

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•  Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•  Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


Florida Politicians say “We Don’t Need No Stinking Mold Licenses”

March 15, 2011

Florida House of Representatives MicroshieldWhy do we need a License anyway? I don’t know Consumer Protection maybe?  That’s a question I don’t really get asked very often because we Floridians know the actual value of always asking for a valid License before hiring anyone.

At the same time we Floridians are well aware that just having a License doesn’t make anyone great at what they do.   We are also well aware that having a License won’t prevent a surgeon from sewing up surgical devices in a patient.  And we surely understand that licensed professionals aren’t issued personal ethics and values when they received their license in the mail.

What we do know about a Licensed Professional is that once licensed, WE, that’s right all of us, have a means and a way of putting the Licensed Professional out of business by reporting misconduct and fraud to the FL DBPR, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.  At a minimum be assured that the licensed professional was trained in his profession and carries insurance.

Another really great aspect of requiring a Florida License is that the licensed professional also knows that WE have the ability to document our opinion of their work with the FL DBPR in the form of a complaint.  The licensed professional knows that WE are watching.  The licensed professional knows that if they try to scam US they can have a complaint filed against them.  And a licensed professional is very aware that too many complaints mean the potential clients who review their history can and will chose a service provider with no complaints.  A licensed professional is well aware of the fact that complaints can lead to the loss of their license.

Now that’s Consumer Protection!

So why would Florida Politicians say “We Don’t Need No Stinking Licenses” and push to repeal the current Florida Mold Licensing Law via HB 4171, SB 1244, and PCB BCAS 11-01???

Well politicians are trying to say that requiring a license is preventing Floridians from getting jobs.  Forget that whole Consumer Protection think.  Remember politicians get all of their brilliant ideas from their Dad I mean Lobbyist. And Lobbyist get all of their great ideas from Special Interest Groups. “We Don’t Need No Stinking Mold Licenses” was actually the Idea of a New Jersey Corporation.  That’s right New Jersey! Not anyone from Florida, Not the Florida Representative or Senator that introduce the Bill to repeal the current Licensing Law.  A New Jersey Corporation.

Just which State do these guys actually represent?

Repealing the mold licensing law to create jobs is just political smoke and mirrors.  The politicians want to repeal the Mold Licensing Law because the Lobbyist was paid to promote the idea by a New Jersey special interest.  And the way they all decided to make the idea fly was to sell it as a J-O-B creating get Florida to work idea.  Smoke and Mirrors.

By the way Tampa, you guys need to take note and V-O-T-E at the next election BIG TIME!!! New Jersey?   REALLY guys!

I live right here in Florida and neither Senator Norman or Representative Grant has returned my calls or emails.  I guess the way to get a returned email or call is to move to New Jersey and hire Representative Grants Dad.

Listen, politicians won’t create jobs by deciding that a Mold Inspector or a Mold Remediator doesn’t need a license.  Politicians would just make it possible for more fraud and scams to be committed against Floridians. There have been several unlicensed mold professionals arrested for mold fraud as recently as last month.

If someone wanted to be a mold inspector or mold remediator they could get a job Today! Then the newly employed Floridian could start learning the trade and gain the experience necessary to conduct a thorough mold inspection or provide proper mold remediation.  And when he or she is ready and has the necessary training and experience he or she could apply for their own license.

So…..Just how will repealing the current mold licensing law create jobs?

We don’t need political smoke and mirrors and repealing the current Florida Mold Licensing Law is nothing more than Political Smoke and Mirrors!

What WE Floridians need are Licensed Mold Professionals and Consumer Protection!

Requiring a License IS Consumer Protection.  A License provides:

  • a way for Floridians to review a Mold Professionals history.
  • a way for Floridians to report misconduct or fraud by a Mold Professional.
  • and lets the Licensed Mold Professionals know Floridians are watching, and that Floridians can review their history, and Floridians can report misconduct and fraud.

A Mold License is a Good Thing for everyone in Florida.

Clearly not so much for New Jersey.  Right Tampa?

 

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


Some industries balk at giant deregulation bill in Florida House

March 15, 2011

Florida House of Representatives Microshield IAQBy Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel4:46 p.m. EDT, March 15, 2011

In their zeal to slash red tape this spring, Florida lawmakers are going so far that they have begun making even the state’s biggest businesses nervous.

A committee in the Florida House of Representatives unveiled and approved a sweeping plan on Tuesday to eliminate state-government oversight of more than two-dozen professions and industries, from telemarketers and travel agents to home inspectors and auto mechanics.

The 281-page bill is the most far-reaching attempt at deregulation yet undertaken in a year in which Republican leaders from Gov. Rick Scott to House Speaker Dean Cannon of Winter Park have repeatedly vowed to reduce government bureaucracy and make Florida more accommodating to businesses.

But the measure immediately drew opposition from many of those same industries that boosters say they are attempting to help. More than 30 lobbyists and professionals from various industries testified before the House Business and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee, with the vast majority of them urging lawmakers to preserve the current state’s regulatory schemes.

“Sometimes, regulation can be productive,” Nancy Stewart, of the Federation of Manufactured Home Owners of Florida, said as she urged the committee to remove provisions from the bill that would abolish the state agency that oversees condominiums, time shares and mobile homes. “We all know that we have better behavior when someone’s watching.”

Boosters of the bill said many regulations help existing businesses stifle competition. Lifting those rules, they argued, would make it easier for new businesses to set up shop in Florida and, ultimately, they hope, create jobs in a recession-wracked state still weighed down by a 12 percent unemployment rate.

“One of the beauties of our country is that an individual can sit in their living room and draw up a business plan and then go to work. But it’s sad to know that the moment they walk out that door, there are obstacles presented,” said Rep. Esteban Bovo, R-Hialeah and committee chairman, who sponsored of the legislation. “At the end of the day, the goal is to give people the power to start their own businesses and then let them move forward and compete.”

Even by the standards already set this year in Tallahassee — where dozens of bills lifting one regulation or another are rapidly advancing through the Legislature — the legislation introduced Tuesday is breathtaking.

One section, for instance, would abolish entirely Florida’s 23-year-old “Sellers of Travel” law. More than 6,500 travel agencies and independent agents are currently registered under the law, which was initially passed to protect consumers from unscrupulous agents peddling phony vacations.

Among other provisions, the current law requires that a travel agency post a surety bond of up to $50,000 so the state can use it to refund travelers should they be sold a fraudulent vacation package or if the seller goes bankrupt before customers take their trips.

Florida has received more than 13,000 complaints about sellers of travel during the past five years, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, which administers the law.

Other sections of the bill, meanwhile, would cut state oversight of the time-share industry. No more, for instance, would government regulators review offering documents by time-share builders to ensure they include adequate disclosures for consumers or in advertising materials to ensure they aren’t misleading.

It was enough to bring even Florida’s best-known employer — Walt Disney World — out in opposition.

Brian Bibeau, a lobbyist for the resort, pointed out that the state began regulating the time-share industry in the 1980s to weed out shady developers who gave the industry a seedy reputation that it has spent years trying to shed.

Disney owns a time-share business, Disney Vacation Club, which is based in Central Florida and has properties in four states.

“Florida has what some people would call a colorful history of land fraud that goes back 100 years. Others would call it a lurid history of land fraud,” Bibeau said. “The division [of condominiums, time shares and mobile homes] was put together to force the bad actors out of these areas of activity. We think it’d be a terrible mistake for you all to deregulate those areas of the division. We strongly oppose it.”

Many other industries expressed similar concerns. The Florida Association of Professional Geologists said state licensing is vital to ensure that geologists have the appropriate technical skills and education levels. The Automotive Service Associations said the state’s regulatory scheme helps resolve complaints with consumers unhappy with car-repair jobs. The Florida Association of Realtors said home buyers need the assurance that comes with state oversight of home inspectors.

“Realtors believe it’s in the public interest to keep those folks accountable to the state and the public,” said Trey Price, a lobbyist for the Realtors association. The Florida Home Inspectors Council, too, testified in support of the state’s current regulations.

Not everyone, however, was critical.

Allen Douglas, a lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which represents small businesses in the state, said many of Florida’s myriad rules and regulations are obstacles for new businesses.

“A lot of these laws are legit. But a lot of them are to limit competition,” Douglas said.

Indeed, much of Tuesday’s three-hour hearing was consumed by dueling testimony from in-state and out-of-state interior designers over whether to lift licensing requirements for commercial interior designers.

Analysts said 255 state-government jobs could be cut if all of the regulations targeted in the legislation were repealed.

The bill ultimately advanced on a 10-5, party-line vote, with outnumbered Democratic lawmakers criticizing what they called “unbridled” deregulation.

“I’m worried that the message we’re going to be sending is not that Florida is business friendly, but that Florida is the wild, wild West,” said Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg.

Jason Garcia can be reached at jrgarcia@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5414.


Florida makes BIG move to De-Regulate Florida Licensed Professional Services

March 14, 2011

Governor Scott isCan You Hear Us NOW! doing all that he can to provide Jobs to Floridians but some would say he is going about it in all the wrong ways.

Ensuring that your Florida professional service provider is Licensed and Insured is the most important piece of information that the Citizens of Florida require  from any Legitimate Florida Professional Service Provider prior to hiring and receiving any professional service in the State of Florida.

This would include all professional services from your Licensed Barber or Cosmetologist to the Licensed Home or Mold Inspector you hire to inspect your home before you make the most important purchase of your life.

The idea that eliminating the States requirement for licensing could ever be a good thing is simply ridicules.

A Florida License ensures that Florida professionals meet a minimum requirement necessary to obtain a license Prior to providing their services.

A Florida License means that Floridians have a means of reviewing a licensee’s history prior to hiring and a way of reporting a licensee’s poor or negligent performance if necessary.

A Florida License creates an Informed and Empowered Florida Consumer.

A lack of a Florida License presents a real financial danger to the citizens of Florida.

The Governors’ idea is to de-regulate professional services making it easier for Floridians to get a job.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I don’t want an unemployed engineer (for example) cutting my hair just so he has a job.

I do know that the regulating of professions is what separates us from the old Wild, Wild West.  It’s what protects Floridians from Fraud, Scams, and Unqualified Contractors.

I do know it is what sets a standard to ensure Floridians receive a trained, insured, and licensed professional services and not the proposed legislation that might as well be labeled HB 101 Caveat Emptor or “Let the buyer beware”.

The introduction of PCB BCAS 11-01 (proposed committee bill) is being heard tomorrow morning in the House Business & Consumer Services Subcommittee.

This is the introduction of a proposed Bill that is “An act relating to the deregulation of professions and occupations; amending s. 20.165, F.S.;”

This is an attempt to deregulate professions from Auctioneers, Barbers, Home Inspectors, Interior Designers, Mold-Related Services, Surveyors and many, many more.

Check to see if you may no longer need your professional license in the proposed legislation.
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/SEctions/Documents/

http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/SEctions/Committees/

Committee members who need to be contacted to STOP the madness.
Bovo, Jr., Esteban L. (R) Chair, Roberson, Kenneth L. (R) Vice Chair, Abruzzo, Joseph (D) Democratic Ranking Member, Ahern, Larry (R), Artiles, Frank (R), Crisafulli, Steve (R), Eisnaugle, Eric (R), Goodson, Tom (R), Jones, Mia L. (D), Nuñez, Jeanette M. (R), Patronis, Jimmy (R), Rouson, Darryl Ervin (D), Slosberg, Irving (D), Stafford, Cynthia A. (D), Young, Dana D. (R)

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


Who would want to repeal the current Florida Mold Licensing Law & Why?

March 12, 2011

You have to be thinking the same thing I am.  Who would want to repeal the current Mold Licensing Law that protects Floridians from fraud and scams?

The current Law helps Floridians by providing them with a minimum standard that must be met ensuring that when they hire a licensed mold inspector or remediator they will be experienced and trained.

Any Floridian can check the history of a licensed mold inspector or remediator by going to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, FDBPR.

Any Floridian can also file a complaint against any licensed mold inspector or remediator with the FDBPR helping to protect the next Floridian by providing information on the licensed mold inspectors or remediators performance.

That’s all a true benefit to Floridians, Right?

Mold Professionals are now being held accountable; must meet a minimum standard, carry adequate insurance, and the consumer can either report misconduct or review prior misconduct by any licensed mold professional they want to hire.

So why would Representative Grant and Senator Norman file HB 4171 and SB 1244 in an effort to repeal the current Mold-related Services Licensing Law?

Maybe this will help clear the air a bit.

The Lobbying firm of Florida Capitol Advocates which includes former Sen. John Grant, was hired by the founder of the franchise Mycelium Holdings, Jason Earle.  Mycelium Holdings is a New Jersey based Franchise with no current franchises in Florida.

“Our franchise operation is 1-800-GOT-MOLD?, not Mycelium Holdings.” Jason Earle Added 3/14/11

Florida Capitol Advocates lobbied Representative James W Grant, District 47 who introduced the bill as HB 4171 February 16th.  Senator Norman filed the sister bill in the Senate SB 1244. February 21st.

The Mycelium Holdings founder Jason Earle stated, in a phone interview, that he feels the current licensing law inhibits the ability of Mycelium Holdings to rapidly sell franchises and expand into Florida which is why New Jersey based Mycelium Holdings is interested in repealing the current mold licensing law.

Jason Earle stated in an email sent to me today that corrections to his position regarding the repeal of the current mold licensing law are as follows. “the law would inhibit our ability to expand our business in a state which needs to create jobs, not restrict commerce. We are opposed to the educational and experiential prerequisites” Jason also stated ” I made it clear that I’m in favor of regulation and enforcement in the mold industry.” Added 3/14/11

Mycelium Holdings also markets the Got Mold? Test Kit http://www.gotmoldtestkit.com/

It has been brought to our attention that Mycelium Holdings provides the “Positive” results from their Got Mold? Test Kit to mold remediation franchisees.

Jason Earle also stated“We DO NOT provide anything related to the GOT MOLD? Test Kit to mold remediation firms. That would be a conflict of interest. We simply offer the consumer the chance to deduct the initial purchase price of the test kit from the cost of a professional mold inspection through 1-800-GOT-MOLD?, our franchise division, which only performs assessments and remediation consulting, but does NOT perform remediation or have financial relationships with mold remediation firms. Please be clear. This is a gross misrepresentation and should be corrected.” Added 3/14/11

If Mycelium Holdings receives any compensation or franchise fee for the referral of positive test results from their Got Mold? Test Kit then Mycelium Holdings is in violation of the current law of section 468.8419 Prohibitions; penalties.

Mycelium Holdings would then have until July 1, 2011 to successfully repeal the current law or be in violation of section 468.8419 Prohibitions; penalties.  You see the Penalty Section of the current Law does not go into effect until July.

Now that would be motivation for Mycelium Holdings to hire Florida Capitol Advocates and attempt to repeal the current mold licensing law, wouldn’t it?

So if the current law is repealed via Rep. Grant and Sen. Norman Mycelium Holdings up in New Jersey makes big bucks selling franchises to wealthy business men who can then hire anyone off the street to inspect your home.

Jason wanted it pointed out that “You(John lapotaire) conveniently forgot to mention that we (1-800 Got-Mold) have the most robust two-week training program and support structure in the industry.”Added 3/24/11

After all Mycelium Holdings will be providing the franchisee with a rescued Labrador mold sniffing dog.  So why need the business owner or mold inspector to be licensed?  Just make sure the dog has it shots and inspect away……….

Who Loses if the Current Law is Repealed?
The real losers will be the Floridians who will once again be subjected to unlicensed and unregulated scam artist inspecting and finding mold in their homes and offering to quickly provide an estimate to remediate.

Before the current law was in place it took 29 complaints to stop a mold inspector who also provided mold remediation.  29! That’s 29 Floridians scammed out of hard earned money.  With the current law Floridians have a means and a way of reporting and ridding the state of mold inspector/remediator scam artist.

Without the Current Law Floridians Lose!

Who wins if the Current Law is Repealed?
Mycelium Holdings up in New Jersey and a few rescue labs that get to live it large in Florida.

 

 

 

 

Post Update 3/14/11

The above inserted updates are a result of recent and open communication between myself and Jason Earle.

The facts are always important and I in no way want to misrepresent the facts in this controversial issue.  The above is a clear view of both sides without getting into specific details of who can provide the best inspection.

After all that decision in best made not by or customer but by our customers referrals.

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


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