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Dereg debacle nets lobbyist lineup

by Dara Kam | May 7th, 2011

Just two days before the legislative session was supposed to end, the two professions at the center of a deregulation bill started girding up for what ultimately proved to be a sine die train wreck.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association, already represented by Nick Iarossi – a rising star on the Tallahassee lobbying scene – and his associate Chris Schoonover, added seven more prominent lobbyists to its team: Sarah Bascom (already doing PR for the group), Louis Betz, Michael Corcoran, Chris Floyd, Yolanda Jackson, Ron LaFace Jr. and Gerald Wester.

On the opposite side: interior designers, the profession the Florida House wanted to deregulate to the chagrin of thousands of interior designers and universities with specialty graduate programs. Tallahassee powerhouse Ron Book and his entourage began representing the Interior Designs Association Foundation back in February. But on May 5, the foundation also enlisted the aid of some of the Capitol’s most influential lobbyists: former RPOF lobbyist Rich Heffley, Brecht Heuchan, Guy Spearman, Sean Pittman and Missy Timmins.

In the end, those latest to the game won out.

In a stunning rebuke to GOP leadership, the Senate killed the dereg bill – keeping regulation of interior designers – late Friday afternoon on what was supposed to be the session’s last day, setting off the vendetta-laden denouement to what might have otherwise been a collegial hanky drop but devolved into public remonstrations from House Speaker Dean Cannon and a bleary-eyed Senate President Mike Haridopolos in the wee hours of the morning Saturday.

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11 Responses to “Dereg debacle nets lobbyist lineup”

  1. Bill Neubauer Says:

    Here’s another way to view that supreme lobbying crusade.
    I suppose it’s a question of where the savings would be centered, but just think of the money that would be saved by SOMEBODY if all of the lobbyists were fired!
    In my one-man crusade to protect the teachers from budget cuts, I have recommended that no teachers be cut but that all non-classroom personnel be “on the table” for cuts, and I always include the lobbyist(s). Besides costing a lot, the lobbyist stands between the legislators and the general population when it comes to decisions.

  2. d s Says:

    This is representative government: of the people, by the people, for the people???

  3. Jimmy Says:

    Maybe someone can explain this to me since i can’t look at the budget that was passed.

    Last years budget was 70.4 Billion.
    They were projecting a $3.5-$5 billion shortfall for 2012. Yet they just passed a budget of $69.4 billion, with no tax increases, and spending cuts.

    Please explain how this situation occurs and where they found the $3.5-$5 billion, yet spent effectively the same money, without tax increases?

    I have some doubts about whether or not they really CUT certain programs since the budget is about $1billion less than last year. A CUT to a bureaucrat means, NOT getting an increase they had planned on. Not all the time but some of the time.

    Where are they coming up with this extra revenue?

  4. Garl Says:

    While it may well make last night’s battle over the de-regulation of commercial interior designers even more dramatic than it was, from what I understand Ron Book has represented the interior designers for years and years. Rather than a moment-in-time hired gun, Book knows the industry inside and out, and, coupled with his 40 years in the Capitol, those on the other side really never stood much of a chance. The shame of it all is that, given all of the testimony taken in the House, the legislation made it as far as it did.

  5. been there done that Says:

    For anyone who’s had experience with the politics of regulating professions, the death of these bills was no surprise. This deregulatory fervor, which certainly makes logical sense, has been pursued on many occasions, but the outcome is always the same. In fact, if you look closely you’ll probably discover that the net result of the session was likely more regulation of professions not less!

  6. Tim Says:

    Stop regulating everything. Next will be your profession.

    Soon it will extended to your personal life. Like taxing you for every mile you drive, sending thermal imaging planes to detect which homes are not energy efficient-don’t laugh they do it in England and in Boston (but had to stop because viewers were able to see human ‘activity’ in the dwellings-privacy was being violated)

    Beware of officials-democrats precisely, who want to control what you eat, how you live, where you live, your home. This is America.

    It’s always a minority of bad guys who ruined it for the majority of good guys.

  7. Steve Beste Says:

    Dara – - What did the National Kitchen and Bath Association have to gain by repealing the licensing requirement for Interior Decorators?

    That’s the story that is missing from this coverage.

  8. Nascar Dad Says:

    Steve Beste,

    The NKBA has 1700 members in Florida who cannot provide commercial kitchen and bath design services. They can provide those services in 47 other states that do not regulate interior design. Only Florida, Nevada, and Louisiana require a license for this work. I do not work for NKBA, but have been highly involved in this issue. There are thousands more from other industries affected. This isn’t over.

  9. Batman Says:

    Only architects and engineers can design commercial kitchens in Florida. Registered cannot and never have been able to provide these services.

  10. Batman Says:

    Only architects and engineers can design commercial kitchens in Florida. Registered interior designers cannot and never have been able to provide these services.

  11. Jake Says:

    Commercial kitchen design is not permitted by registered interior designers under Florida Building Code. If interior designers already cannot provide this service, it’s clear the NKBA won’t be able to.

    What is the market you’re talking about @Nascar Dad? Condominiums? Hotels? NKBA dealers can already provide these services when working under the supervision of a design professional. NKBA members are not trained in building code, and condominiums have more complicated life-safety systems than single family residences. An architect would already be signing off on those jobs.

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