March 9, 2020

Make it easier for returning citizens to earn occupational licenses [Tampa Bay Times]

This post was last updated on December 8, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Floridians with past criminal convictions experience significant barriers when entering the workforce. For those pursuing an occupational license, these challenges are more pronounced.

And while lawmakers rightly sought to reduce licensing requirements for nearly 100 occupations this legislative session via House Bill 707, there is no language regarding a pathway for returning citizens to procure occupational licenses.

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition organized an advocacy day last month, attended by more than 600 returning citizens — people with past felony convictions — urging Florida lawmakers to break down barriers to employment for people with past felony convictions.


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