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Senator Stewart "Disappointed" That Governor Vetoed Her Bill

Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando)
Florida Senate
Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando)

Florida - Thursday June 27, 2024: State Senator Linda Stewart, a Democrat from Orlando, has issued a statement expressing her disappointment that Governor DeSantis vetoed her bill, HB 133 - Criminal History of Licensees and Employees.

Sen. Stewart, in a new release, wrote that her on licensure for barbers and cosmetology specialists was unanimously supported by the legislature which approved it by a vote of 31-0 in the State Senate, and 114-0 in the State House.

The bill would have prevented the Florida Board of Cosmetology from using an applicants history of non-violent incarceration as grounds of denial of licensing. She maintains that her measure would have offered crucial support and opportunities for rehabilitation, helping individuals reintegrate into society and reduce recidivism rates.

“I am extremely disappointed by the governor’s decision to veto this bill and deny former non-violent offenders, who have done their time, the opportunity to more easily obtain a license in barbering or cosmetology. This is about second chances,” said Stewart.

In his veto message the Governor wrote - "CS/HB 133 singles out cosmetologist and barber applicants from a list of 14 types of business license applicants to change the licensing board's process of review of criminal records. The bill categorically prohibits the board from considering an applicant's criminal history within three years of the application for a license, but there may be good reason for the board to have this information before making a decision regarding a particular applicant."

The bill would have prevented the Board of Cosmetology from reviewing certain records of criminal history that took place more than three years before the date of the application for the license. The bill also contained a provision stating that if an individual did commit an offense within the three year period that the board would have ability to deny based on earlier offenses. Finally the bill would have required the boards to approve educational program credits offered to inmates in a correctional institution or facility for purposes of satisfying training requirements for a license

“It is unjust that continue to punish people for the mistakes made in their past and prevent them from earning a living in the future. This bill could have been vital to someone’s future livelihood and helped to reduce recidivism,” said Stewart.

The exemption of records considered by the board in HB 133 was drafted to only apply to convictions of specific non-violent crimes. Persons with convictions relating to Sexual Predators as defined in statute 775.21 (4) (a)1 and Forcible Felonies as defined in statute 776.08 have exceptions to the bill and may be grounds for the denial of an application.