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CFO Jimmy Patronis Highlights 2022 “Born Free” Legislative Victories

3/14/2022

~ CFO Patronis applauds the passage of his top priorities during the 2022 legislative session ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis released the following statement on the final day of the 2022 legislative session highlighting the passage of his top priorities, which include securing $10 million in funding for Florida’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces, providing tax relief so Floridians can protect their homes and lower their insurance premiums, and continuing efforts aimed at protecting consumers. To view the CFO’s 2022 legislative successes, please click aquí.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “This legislative session, we fought for Florida’s consumers, families, and first responders and won. We successfully passed my top priorities including advocating for $10 million in funding for our heroic Urban Search & Rescue teams and ensuring our next generation is taught vital financial literacy skills. We also passed measures to protect consumers from fraud and deceptive business tactics, held insurance companies accountable to our policyholders, and empowered Floridians to harden their homes from storms while saving on taxes and insurance premiums. While other states crushed their economies and drove out first responders and small businesses, over 800 people a day move to the great state of Florida because we value opportunity, safety, stability and freedom. These important principles make the Sunshine State the best place to live, work, and raise a family. Thank you to Governor DeSantis for his unwavering leadership and to the Florida Legislature for keeping Floridians first.”

CFO Jimmy Patronis 2022 Legislative “Born Free” Victories

$10 MILLION IN FUNDING FOR URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAMS

Following the tragic Champlain Towers South condo collapse in Surfside, CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis made it his top priority to advocate for Florida’s Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Teams for funding and resources to support Florida’s eight dedicated task forces. The US&R teams work statewide for all communities during disasters. The funds include $3.9 million for eight US&R task forces and 40 Light Technical Rescue Teams. The funds will provide for specialized equipment, training and exercises. Additionally, $5.8 million will be invested in tractors, cargo trailers, trucks, forklifts, and utility vehicles to support life-saving US&R missions.

PROTECTING HOMES FROM STORMS & FIGHTING PREMIUM INCREASES

CFO Jimmy Patronis fought for a provision in the 2022 legislative Tax Package, which provides tax relief to Florida families to ‘harden their homes’ against storms. This two-year tax exemption for impact-resistant windows, doors and garage doors will not only protect Floridians’ most valuable assets, but also combat insurance premium increases.
• House Bill 7071 – (Representative Payne) Taxation

PROTECTING AND EMPOWERING FLORIDA CONSUMERS

CFO Jimmy Patronis championed legislation in the 2022 session that empowers Florida policyholders by creating digital insurance cards that will communicate with the digital drivers’ license. The legislation mandates that digital insurance cards be operational by 2023 on Florida roadways to create value for Florida drivers and reduce insurance fraud.

CFO Patronis also championed legislation in the 2022 session that combats fraudulent and annoying telemarketing calls by requiring licensed warranty agencies and agents to identify their full business name and license number immediately - cracking down on the amount of illegitimate telemarketing calls.

The CFO fought to increase penalties on unlicensed public adjusters who break the law. In certain instances, following a storm, policyholders may contract their own adjusters to assess damage. Too often, a bad adjuster that’s unlicensed will take their money and run or lock the policyholder into a bad contract where they sign their rights away.

• Senate Bill 1292 - (Senator Gruters) Fraud Prevention
• House Bill 749 - (Representative Clemons) Fraud Prevention

CFO Patronis supported legislation in the 2022 session transfers Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund coverage for private market insurers who take on certain policies and limits the growth of policies covered by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, which reduces the cost of insurance for certain Florida consumers.

• Senate Bill 1058 – (Senator Hutson) Property Insurer Reimbursements
• House Bill 695 – (Representative Stevenson) Property Insurer Reimbursements

CANCEL CULTURE WE CAN GET BEHIND

CFO Patronis championed legislation in the 2022 session that forces big corporations to allow Floridians to easily cancel subscriptions without forcing consumers to hop through a bunch of hoops. The practice called “Negative Option Billing” is a trick by businesses to make it too difficult for consumers to cancel a subscription service that they may not even know they signed up for. This legislation will help consumers cancel a subscription service in the same manner they signed up for it, through a mobile app, by email, phone or written.

• Senate Bill 1292 - (Senator Gruters) Fraud Prevention
• House Bill 749 - (Representative Clemons) Fraud Prevention

HOLDING INSURANCE BUSINESSES ACCOUNTABLE TO POLICY HOLDERS

The CFO championed legislation in the 2022 session that mandates insurance agencies to proactively disclose to policyholders that they’re closing their business. This information will be important to policyholders as they make decisions for the future.

This CFO priority also forces public adjusters to be transparent with policyholders and make separate agreements if they want to capture certain reimbursements from the insurer that the policyholder would normally get. Certain public adjuster contracts allow public adjusters to extract a fee from consumers for obtaining benefits they would have gotten without hiring the public adjuster.

• Senate Bill 1874 – (Senator Boyd) Department of Financial Services
• House Bill 959 – (Representative LaMarca) Department of Financial Services

SUPPORTING FLORIDA’S FIREFIGHTERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS

CFO & State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis championed legislation in the 2022 session that protects Florida’s fire investigators from cancer dangers associated with their heroic profession by adding them to the existing firefighter cancer coverage.

• House Bill 557 - (Representative Salzman) Fire Investigator Cancer Treatment Benefits
• Senate Bill 838 - (Senator Wright) Fire Investigators

The CFO supported legislation and budget initiatives in the 2022 session that ensures Florida’s first responders are eligible for grants to help with down payments on new homes and provide additional homestead tax exemptions.

• Florida Hometown Hero Housing Program - $100 million appropriation
• House Bill 1563 - (Representative Tomkow) Homestead Property Tax Exemptions for Classroom Teachers, Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters, Child Welfare Professionals, and Servicemembers
• Senate Bill 1748 – (Senator Brodeur) Homestead Property Tax Exemptions for Classroom Teachers, Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters, Child Welfare Professionals, and Servicemembers

CFO Patronis supported legislation in the 2022 session that further protects Florida firefighters as they put themselves in harm’s way to save lives. The CFO supports and believes that certain provisions of the Firefighter Bill of Rights should be aligned more closely to the Police Bill of Rights when it comes to internal investigations.

• Senate Bill 264 - (Senator Hooper) Firefighter Inquiries and Investigations
• House Bill 31 – (Representative Busatta Cabrera) Firefighter Inquiries and Investigations

CFO Patronis supported legislation in the 2022 session that provides liability protections for Florida’s healthcare heroes. This legislation will ensure Florida’s healthcare heroes can work without fear of unnecessary lawsuits.

Senate Bill 7014 Signed into Law.
Thank you to Senator Burgess and Representative Burton for your support.

CFO Patronis supported legislation in the 2022 session that provides training to the men and women who regularly inspect buildings to detect and recognize common indicators of human trafficking.

• House Bill 615 – (Representative Overdorf) Human Trafficking
• Senate Bill 1436 – (Senator Garcia) Human Trafficking

SUPPORTING FLORIDA SMALL BUSINESSES

CFO Patronis championed legislation in the 2022 session that works to reduce workers’ compensation penalties for small businesses. With Florida’s workers’ compensation premiums down by 4.9% this year, there are opportunities to engage and educate employers to get their businesses into compliance. The legislation will reduce penalties by 15% for a first-time offense if the employer completes an online course.

• Senate Bill 1874 - (Senator Boyd) Department of Financial Services
• House Bill 959 - (Representative LaMarca) Department of Financial Services

EMPOWERING FLORIDA’S NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS

CFO Patronis supported legislation in the 2022 session that requires Florida’s high school students to earn at least one half credit of instruction in financial literacy or money management and teaches students about banking practices, money management, credit scores, managing debt, loan applications, insurance policies and local tax assessments.

• Senate Bill 1054 – (Senator Hutson) Financial Literacy Instruction in Public Schools
• House Bill 1115 – (Representative Busatta Cabrera) High School Graduation Requirements in Personal Finance