BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana is currently the only state in the country to require florists have a license. A new push at the state capitol aims to change that.
Rep. Julie Emerson, R-Carencro, is sponsoring a bill that would do away with the requirement.
"If some is already talented in this art, I'm not sure I see the constituting a test to make sure they can do it," Emerson said.
Currently, at least one person at every shop needs to have an occupational license. In order to get that license, an individual needs to pay for and pass a written test going over the rules and regulations of the business. The push for removing the license requirement is just one part of an effort backed by the governor to streamline occupational licenses in the state. The aim is to remove what some view as unnecessary regulation.
Emerson's bill overcame its first hurdle Thursday, advancing out of House committee with a vote of 8 to 6.
Some lawmakers worried about the potential impact on consumers. "I don't want Uncle Joe down the street to go grab a handful of bitterweeds and throw it in a pot, and sell it for 45 bucks," said Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Minden.
All in all, Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said about 70 percent of florists pass the test on their first try. If they fail, they can pay to try again two weeks later. He said the cost of setting up a flower shop is far higher than any burden associated with the test.
"If you look at what inhibits people from entering the business, it's the upfront cost and the overhead," Strain said.
At the "original" Heroman's flower shop on Government Street in Baton Rouge, designer, Tiffany Comeaux, does not have a license, but her boss does. She says she sees the potential value of the license, saying it can help weed out bad florists. However, she also says if someone is talented, a test should not get in the way.
"To say we are the last state that requires it probably speaks for itself," she said.
The bill now heads to the full House for consideration. Even if the bill becomes law, the industry will not go unchecked. Florists will still be required to get permits and they can be inspected and regulated by the agriculture commissioner.