State Government Share HB 5005 Passes Committee, Yacht Industry and Interior Designers Warn of Problems Published Sunday, April 3, 2011 2:30 am by Dennis Maley

BRADENTON – It seems like every day a new industry is standing up to voice concerns over HB 5005, which sailed through committee this week and is headed toward what is expected to be a party-line vote. Though the bill is lauded as a way to help industries create jobs through less red tape, it is ironically the industries themselves that are storming Tallahassee to plead for reconsideration.

It seems as though competent and experienced professionals that take pride in their industry's standards are none too thrilled at the prospect of fly by night outfits being encouraged to enter the marketplace and do business to whatever standards they please – often without the surety bonds that protect consumers in such cases. The Marine Industries Association of Florida alerted its members this week to what it viewed as catastrophic consequences were the bill to pass, which would eliminate the FL Yacht & Ship Brokers Act that largely regulates a state industry that just last year represented 20 percent of all yachts sold in the world, resulting in more than 200,000 jobs, almost $17 billion in sales, as well as millions of dollars in state tax revenue.

The MIAF argues that the law protects buyers, sellers and brokers by insuring that all Yacht Brokers operating in the state are licensed and bonded, while conducting business according to the highest ethical and professional standards. They also argue that it is a major factor in attracting potential boat and yacht buyers from across the country and around the world who know their funds-on-deposit will be held in a licensed and bonded escrow account, and that felons are barred from holding escrow accounts in the state.

Furthermore, the organization points out that the program has consistently run annual surpluses, thereby costing the state and taxpayers nothing to operate and that it even left a surplus of $326,945 in excess revenue in the 2009-2010 period. Surprisingly, the most vocal opponents of HB 5005 have belonged to the profession of interior design. The legislation ends voluntary licensing in their field, which they also say will open it up to less professional and qualified individuals.

Nearly 100 interior designers showed up at the Capitol to voice their strong disapproval with one commentator pointing out, "buildings do not burn, interiors do," when highlighting the importance of a qualified interior designer selecting non-flammable paints and fabrics and being aware of more subtle risks that poor design choices could pose.

Article Author: Denis Maley, Bradenton Times