(1) Each person desiring to be registered pursuant to this part shall apply to the department in writing upon forms prepared and furnished by the department.
(2) The department shall administer, coordinate, and enforce the provisions of this part, provide qualifications for applicants, administer the examination for applicants, and be responsible for the granting of certificates of registration to qualified persons.
(3) The department shall adopt reasonable rules, including, but not limited to, rules that establish ethical standards of practice, requirements for registering as a contractor, requirements for obtaining an initial or renewal certificate of registration, disciplinary guidelines, and requirements for the certification of partnerships and corporations. The department may amend or repeal the rules in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
(4) To be eligible for registration by the department as a septic tank contractor, the applicant must:
(a) Be of good moral character. In considering good moral character, the department may consider any matter that has a substantial connection between the good moral character of the applicant and the professional responsibilities of a registered contractor, including, but not limited to: the applicant being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of contracting or the ability to practice contracting; and previous disciplinary action involving septic tank contracting, where all judicial reviews have been completed.
(b) Pass an examination approved by the department which demonstrates that the applicant has a fundamental knowledge of the state laws relating to the installation and maintenance of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems.
(c) Be at least 18 years of age.
(d) Have a total of at least 3 years of active experience serving an apprenticeship as a skilled worker under the supervision and control of a registered septic tank contractor or a plumbing contractor as defined in s. 489.105 who has provided septic tank contracting services. Related work experience or educational experience may be substituted for no more than 2 years of active contracting experience. Each 30 hours of coursework approved by the department will substitute for 6 months of work experience. Out-of-state work experience shall be accepted on a year-for-year basis for any applicant who demonstrates that he or she holds a current license issued by another state for septic tank contracting which was issued upon satisfactory completion of an examination and continuing education courses that are equivalent to the requirements in this state. For purposes of this section, an equivalent examination must include the topics of system location and installation, site evaluation, system size determinations, disposal of septage, construction standards for drainfield systems, and the soil-texture classification system of the United States Department of Agriculture. A person employed by and under the supervision of a licensed contractor shall be granted up to 2 years of related work experience.
(e) Have not had a registration revoked, the effective date of which was less than 5 years before the application.
(5) To be eligible for registration by the department as a master septic tank contractor, the applicant must:
(a) Have been a registered septic tank contractor in Florida for at least 3 years or a plumbing contractor certified under part I of this chapter who has provided septic tank contracting services for at least 3 years. The 3 years must immediately precede the date of application and may not be interrupted by any probation, suspension, or revocation imposed by the licensing agency.
(b) Take and complete, to the satisfaction of the department, a minimum of 30 hours of approved coursework.
(c) Pass an examination approved by the department which demonstrates that the applicant has advanced knowledge relating to the installation and maintenance of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems, including, but not limited to, the fundamental knowledge required to close residential repair jobs, design systems, and perform soil evaluations, when determined to meet site-evaluation expertise established by rule.
(d) Be reviewed by the department for any major infractions of this chapter or other law relating to onsite sewage treatment and disposal.
(6) The department shall provide each applicant for registration pursuant to this part with a copy of this part and any rules adopted under this part. The department may also prepare and disseminate such other material and questionnaires as it deems necessary to effectuate the registration provisions of this part.
(7) Notwithstanding any other law, a conviction, or any other adjudication, for a crime more than 5 years before the date the application is received by the department or other applicable authority may not be grounds for denial of registration. For purposes of this subsection, the term “conviction” means a determination of guilt that is the result of a plea or trial, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld. This subsection does not limit a board from considering an applicant’s criminal history that includes any crime listed in s. 775.21(4)(a)1. or s. 776.08 at any time, but only if such criminal history has been found to relate to the practice of the applicable profession, or any crime if it has been found to relate to good moral character.
(8)(a) A person may apply to be registered before his or her lawful release from confinement or supervision. The department or other applicable authority may not charge an applicant an additional fee for being confined or under supervision. The department or other applicable authority may not deny an application for registration solely on the basis of the applicant’s current confinement or supervision.
(b) After a registration application is approved, the department or other applicable authority may stay the issuance of registration until the applicant is lawfully released from confinement or supervision and the applicant notifies the board of such release. The department or other applicable authority must verify the applicant’s release with the Department of Corrections before it registers such applicant.
(c) If an applicant is unable to appear in person due to his or her confinement or supervision, the department or other applicable authority must permit the applicant to appear by teleconference or video conference, as appropriate, at any meeting or hearing by the department or other applicable authority concerning his or her application.
(d) If an applicant is confined or under supervision, the Department of Corrections and the department or other applicable authority shall cooperate and coordinate to facilitate the appearance of the applicant at a meeting or hearing in person, by teleconference, or by video conference, as appropriate.
(9) The department or other applicable authority shall compile a list of crimes that, if committed and regardless of adjudication, do not relate to the practice of the profession or the ability to practice the profession and do not constitute grounds for denial of registration. This list must be made available on the department’s website and updated annually. Beginning October 1, 2019, and updated quarterly thereafter, the department or other applicable authority shall add to this list such crimes that although reported by an applicant for registration, were not used as a basis for denial in the past 2 years. The list must identify for each such registration application the crime reported and the date of conviction, plea, adjudication, or sentencing.
(10) The department or other applicable authority shall compile a list of crimes that have been used as a basis for denial of registration in the past 2 years and make the list available on the department’s website. Beginning October 1, 2019, and updated quarterly thereafter, the department shall add to this list each crime used as a basis for denial. For each crime listed, the department must identify the date of conviction, plea, adjudication, or sentencing. Such denials must be made available to the public upon request.