Se­na­tor looks to dereg­u­late makeup in­dus­try

Hopes to open door for smaller com­pa­nies

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY WIL­LIAM PA­TRICK Watch­dog.org is a project of the Franklin Cen­ter for Gov­ern­ment & Pub­lic In­tegrity, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to the prin­ci­ples of trans­parency, ac­count­abil­ity, and fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity.

For the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, state Sen. Jeff Bran­des will be tak­ing on Florida’s cos­met­ics reg­u­la­tions, hop­ing to have more suc­cess in 2017 than he did in 2016.

On the sur­face, the con­ser­va­tive St. Peters­burg Repub­li­can seems an odd fit for the state makeup in­dus­try — but the dereg­u­la­tory ef­fort is more sub­stance than style. Mr. Bran­des is the first state law­maker to ad­dress for the up­com­ing ses­sion Florida’s ro­bust re­stric­tions on oc­cu­pa­tions and busi­nesses that oth­er­wise would have low bar­ri­ers to en­try.

His re­cently filed bill would elim­i­nate regis­tra­tion and re­newal re­quire­ments, along with the as­so­ci­ated fees, for cos­metic prod­ucts man­u­fac­tured in the state. If suc­cess­ful, the bill would open the door for small-scale com­pa­nies.

Ac­cord­ing to the In­sti­tute for Jus­tice, a non­profit pub­lic in­ter­est law firm, Florida has one of the most re­stric­tive reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ments in the coun­try, sti­fling job cre­ation, ar­ti­fi­cially re­duc­ing com­pe­ti­tion and rais­ing con­sumer prices.

“The state en­forces bur­den­some laws that de­ter en­try into 45 of the 102 low- and mod­er­ate-in­come oc­cu­pa­tions sur­veyed,” ac­cord­ing to the IJ study that sur­veyed cos­met­ics and other job ar­eas.

Un­der cur­rent law, cos­metic en­trepreneurs must have ac­tive per­mits is­sued by the Depart­ment of Busi­ness and Pro­fes­sional Reg­u­la­tion’s Di­vi­sion of Drugs, De­vices and Cos­met­ics. Ev­ery prod­uct must be reg­is­tered and re­newed ev­ery two years, chang­ing a prod­uct’s pack­ag­ing also re­quires a regis­tra­tion re­newal, and all prod­ucts must be reg­is­tered be­fore they can be sold.

The state also is­sues a “cer­tifi­cate of free sale” cer­ti­fy­ing that a cos­metic prod­uct is prop­erly reg­is­tered with the cor­rect reg­u­la­tory body and can be legally pur­chased.

Ac­cord­ing to a leg­isla­tive anal­y­sis, the DBPR collects $222,000 a year just from cos­met­ics li­cens­ing — money that could stay in the pock­ets of cash­strapped en­trepreneurs.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Bran­des, it’s too much reg­u­la­tion, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing th­ese rules don’t ap­ply to cos­metic prod­ucts sold in Florida, but made out­side the state.

“Florida re­quires each man­u­fac­tured prod­uct to be in­di­vid­u­ally reg­is­tered and listed even if all we’re do­ing is chang­ing the color of that prod­uct. This bill would bring Florida in line with many other states as far as reg­u­la­tion and with fed­eral stan­dards on this is­sue,” he said.

The roll­back at­tempt died in an ap­pro­pri­a­tions com­mit­tee on the last day of the 2016 ses­sion. De­ter­mined to see it through, Mr. Bran­des filed an iden­ti­cal bill last week that will be con­sid­ered next year.

The jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the regis­tra­tion scheme, among other oc­cu­pa­tional li­cens­ing re­quire­ments for more than 320 vo­ca­tions and busi­ness cat­e­gories, is that they are nec­es­sary “to safe­guard pub­lic health and pro­mote pub­lic wel­fare.”

The same agency that re­quires con­stant cos­metic prod­uct reg­is­tra­tions also re­quires cos­me­tol­o­gists to ob­tain a li­cense in or­der to work legally, a li­cense that doesn’t come cheaply.

Ac­cord­ing to the state Board of Cos­me­tol­ogy — a panel of five li­censed reg­u­la­tors, two con­sumer mem­bers and a gov­ern­ment lawyer — work­ers must at­tend a min­i­mum of 1,200 hours of ed­u­ca­tional in­struc­tion, equiv­a­lent to 20 hours a week for 12 months and suc­cess­fully com­plete a two-part exam.

It isn’t cheap. Ac­cred­ited cos­me­tol­ogy schools can cost at least $10,000, ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Cos­me­tol­ogy Schools. Paul Mitchell Schools, a pop­u­lar Tampa pro­gram, runs $12,500 for tu­ition and $3,000 for text­books and sup­plies.

Con­sumer safety is the os­ten­si­ble jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, but a new study by the Rea­son Foun­da­tion and Florida State Univer­sity says the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion sim­ply doesn’t wash.

“Many of the li­cens­ing re­quire­ments are of­ten pro­posed by the li­censed in­dus­tries them­selves (this is true na­tion­wide) and their most ob­vi­ous ef­fect is to re­strict com­pe­ti­tion and raise prices — ben­e­fit­ing those al­ready in the busi­ness, not con­sumers,” the study says.

Re­searchers Matthew Laird, Adrian Moore and Sa­muel Sta­ley found that few of the reg­u­lated oc­cu­pa­tions for which Florida re­quires li­censes are li­censed in all states. “Many other states have not seen con­sumer harms in oc­cu­pa­tions that would jus­tify th­ese re­quire­ments,” they note.

An Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion re­view of 12 dif­fer­ent stud­ies re­gard­ing oc­cu­pa­tional reg­u­la­tions ar­rived at the same con­clu­sion.

“Over­all, the em­pir­i­cal re­search does not find large im­prove­ments in qual­ity or health and safety from more strin­gent li­cens­ing. In fact, in only two out of the 12 stud­ies was greater li­cens­ing as­so­ci­ated with qual­ity im­prove­ments,” the White House re­port said.

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