Griffis speaks at DeSantis’ Florida Deregathon
Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t wait long to take action on his campaign promise to reduce regulations that make it hard for Floridians to enter or remain in a profession or start a business. He invited the members of Florida’s 23 professional licensing boards to Valencia College in Orlando on Jan. 31 for the first “Florida Deregathon,” and Palm Beach State College’s Rhonda Griffis was there.
Griffis, PBSC’s interim program director for Cosmetology, acted in her role as chair of the Florida State Board of Cosmetology and spoke for her profession at the daylong workshop.
After an opening session with remarks by DeSantis, the licensing boards met individually to discuss, debate and target regulations that could be immediately eliminated or modified. In the afternoon, each board presented its recommendations.
Florida already has one of the lowest cosmetology training requirements in the nation—1,200 hours compared to the national average of 1,500—and as a result, the Board of Cosmetology was unified against lowering the training hours requirement. However, on behalf of the board, Griffis offered several proposals to ease barriers, including reciprocity and specialty licenses.
Florida already has the policy to endorse the licenses of cosmetologists from states with higher training requirements. In order to open the door as wide as possible, the Board of Cosmetology recommends license reciprocity be given to cosmetologists from states and territories where the requirements are lower, such as Massachusetts and New York, which require 1,000 hours.
“Reciprocity is huge,” Griffis remarked. “Just last month I was counseling a woman from New York who has been a licensed cosmetologist for 20 years and is moving here. Currently, the state requires her to take our exam, but if she’s been successful working in the field, then why not allow her to continue here without adding that burden.”
Griffis also outlined the board’s proposal to develop more specialty licenses.
“One of the biggest things we can do is really dive into our program content and create licenses limited to a specialty, such as a ‘waxing only’ license,” Griffis said. “Right now, if someone wants to wax, they must become a facials specialist or a cosmetologist. Same with eyebrow threading, makeup and hairstyling. Other states have these licenses already. If we had a license that was just hairstyling, for example, and reduced the number of training hours, that would give people a faster route to positions in service-specific salons like blow-dry bars.”
According to Griffis, the board’s recommendations were well received by the Deregathon attendees, including consumers and industry leaders. No official vote or action was taken that day, but all recommendations will be considered by the state Legislature in the weeks ahead.
“I believe the initiative is a good thing,” said Griffis, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the state Board of Cosmetology in 2015 and was made the chair in October 2018. “Our goal is to remove unnecessary barriers to the profession while maintaining the health and safety of the public, and I’m glad that we were able to come up with alternatives to reducing the hours. At Palm Beach State, these changes would provide accelerated opportunities that would allow people to get to work a lot quicker.”
Watch the Deregathon
Part 1: Gov. Ron DeSantis; Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez; Halsey Beshears, Florida Business and Professional Regulations Secretary; and Sandy Shugart, President, Valencia College
Part 2: Presentations of the professional licensing boards; Rhonda Griffis’ segment starts at 17 minutes, 53 seconds.