Florida has long prided itself on being one of the most business-friendly states. However, this pride is contrasted with the rising tide of licensing requirements, and clearly demonstrate that occupational licensing presents a very serious threat to the growth of Florida’s economy. If Florida wishes to overcome this threat and tap into unfulfilled potential, practical solutions must be identified and applied which will relieve consumers and aspiring workers of the undue burdens of occupational licensing.
Florida is one of the few remaining states that routinely sentence low-level drug offenders to harsh mandatory minimum prison terms. While most drug trafficking statutes in Florida are intended to apply to high level dealers, the penalties for trafficking in a small amount hydrocodone or oxycodone—two substances found in prescription pain medication that doctors may legally prescribe—are disproportionately harsh. Under Florida law, someone who illegally possesses even a handful of pills may be charged as a drug trafficker and sentenced to a mandatory minimum prison term of years, or decades, upon conviction—with no added benefit to public safety.
In 1986, Florida was a very different place than it is today. A gallon of gasoline cost an average of $0.93, Floridians had just elected Bob Martinez as their governor, and Apple was known to the average American only as a fruit.
Today, a gallon of gasoline costs $2.13, Florida has seen six additional governors since Bob Martinez, and Apple is getting ready to launch its eighth version of an iPhone—something unimaginable in the 1980’s. Much has changed in the state of Florida since 1986, but unfortunately, its threshold for a first-time felony theft offense has remained stubbornly the same: a mere $300.