Florida Bill To Alter Licensing Requirements

A bill has been introduced in the Florida state legislature which supporters believe will reduce the problem of pool servicers operating illegally and without proper training. Florida Bill HB 1259, introduced this month by Rep. Larry Ahern, both broadens the types of pool service work that require a license and changes the requirements to obtain such a license.

Current laws require an individual to provide proof of one year’s experience in the field from a licensed service company before he or she is allowed to take the service exam. Jennifer Hatfield, a Sarasota lobbyist representing FSPA, says that many former employers would verify the time-served requirement for fear of competition, leading those people looking for a license into illegal business.

However, if passed, the new bill will eliminate the one-year of service requirment, and instead simply require 20 hours of hands-on, in-field instruction in addition to the 60 hours of classroom work currently mandated. Hatfield says that this means the service technicians would still be gaining the necessary training without the difficulty of obtaining confirmation of their work history.

HB 1259 also expands the categories of work currently requiring licensing. For now the law only requires a license of service professionals who also perform construction, remodeling and installation. If the bill passes, all water service professionals, including those who only perform basic cleaning, maintenance and water treatment will require a license as well.

There are estimates of about 4,000 illegal pool service and maintenance technicians across Florida. The hope is that this bill will create equal ground for all workers.

The Florida Swimming Pool Association (FSPA) and Pinch A Penny, the state’s largest pool retailer, strongly support the bill.

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