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CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces 2022 “Born Free” Legislative Priorities

1/11/2022

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842

CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces 2022 “Born Free” Legislative Priorities

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis is highlighting his 2022 “Born Free” legislative priorities. The CFO’s top priorities include securing $10 million in funding for Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue (US&R – Pronounced ‘YOU-SAR’) Task Forces, providing tax relief so Floridians can protect their homes and lower their insurance premiums, and continued efforts aimed at protecting consumers.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Florida’s strength is based on a love of freedom. We’ve got over 800 people a day flocking to our state because we have worked hard in Tallahassee to protect freedoms; not squash them. We’ve got blue lock-down states working hard to crush their economies, undermine law enforcement and fire firefighters over not taking the jab, while allowing big corporate businesses – with zero loyalty to our country – to treat Americans with complete indifference. We’ve also got an Administration on the federal level unlawfully using rules to try and turn the Sunshine State into a California or New York. We’re not having ANY of it. If you’re from Florida, or you’ve just arrived, as far as I’m concerned you were Born Free. It’s a blessing from our Creator, it’s something we cannot take for granted, and it’s something we’ll fight to protect in the 2022 Legislative Session.”

CFO Jimmy Patronis’ 2022 “Born Free” Legislative Priorities

Year of the US&R $10 Million Funding Request 

Following the tragic Champlain Towers South condo collapse in Surfside, CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis announced this session would be “The Year of the US&R” (Pronounced YOU-SAR) and made it his top priority for the 2022 Legislative Session to secure $10 million for funding and resources to support Florida’s eight dedicated Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Task Forces. These heroes are the first boots on the ground when disaster strikes, and they must have the resources to assist them in their life-saving missions.

The funds include $3.9 million for eight US&R task forces and 40 Light Technical Rescue Teams. The funds would provide for specialized equipment, training and exercises. The remaining $5.8 million would be invested for tractors, cargo trailers, trucks, forklifts, and utility vehicles to support life-saving US&R missions.

Protecting Homes from Storms & Fighting Premium Increases

In Florida, it’s not if, but when a storm will strike. CFO Patronis is committed to helping Florida families harden their homes against storms while lowering their insurance premiums and saving tax dollars. This proposal creates a sales tax refund for building materials used to harden homes against natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tropical storms. Examples of storm hardening improvements include installing impact-resistant doors or windows and installing improvements that better secure the roof to the structure. This initiative would allow policyholders to make investments in their homes, offsetting sales tax charges as well as insurance premium hikes, in certain instances reducing their insurance bill.   

• Senate Bill 1250 - (Senator Gruters) Sales Tax Refunds for Building Mitigation Retrofit Improvements
• House Bill 863 - (Representative DiCeglie) Sales Tax Refunds for Building Mitigation Retrofit Improvements

Protecting and Empowering Florida Consumers


CFO Patronis has made it his mission to empower Florida policyholders by ensuring that digital insurance applications will communicate with the digital driver’s license, which is set to go live this year. The proposal mandates that an insurance verification functionality be operable by 2023 to increase coverage on Florida roadways and create value for Florida drivers.

 The CFO will combat 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.
 
To crack down on fraud, the CFO proposed increasing penalties on unlicensed public adjusters who break the law. In certain instances, following a storm, policyholders may contract their own adjusters to assess damage. In too many instances, 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. As the CFO has worked to better crackdown on these fraudulent activities, increasing penalties is the next step in keeping these fraudsters away from Florida.

• Senate Bill 1292 - (Senator Gruters) Fraud Prevention
• House Bill 749 - (Representative Clemons) Fraud Prevention
 
CFO Patronis is committed to protecting consumers by giving them the ability to opt-out of having their personal data harvested and sold by big tech companies. Many large technology firms, including Facebook and Google, have adopted a business model of collecting and selling consumer information without consumers knowing what data is collected and who it’s being sold to. Just as the law protects other property rights, the CFO believes it should also protect consumer information, which big tech companies are using to extract maximum profit from consumers who are being kept in the dark.

• Senate Bill 1864 – (Senator Bradley) Consumer Data Privacy
• House Bill 9 – (Representative McFarland) Consumer Data Privacy
• Senate Bill 1848 - (Senator Gruters) Personal Information Protection
• House Bill 1547 – (Representative Overdorf) Personal Information Protection
 
As Chair of the Florida KidCare Program, CFO Patronis’ mission is to provide high-quality, low-cost health insurance for eligible children throughout the state. This legislation works to expand health insurance coverage so more children can qualify for the critical lifesaving health coverage provided by Florida KidCare.

• Senate Bill 640 – (Senator Hooper) Florida Kidcare Program Income Eligibility
• House Bill 419 – (Represtantive LaMarca) Florida Kidcare Program Income Eligibility
 
Cancel Culture We Can Get Behind
CFO Patronis will fight to force 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 that they signed up for. This proposal will work to ensure consumers can 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
 
CFO Patronis is committed to protecting consumers by giving them the ability to opt-out of having their personal data harvested and sold by big tech companies. Many large technology firms, including Facebook and Google, have adopted a business model of collecting and selling consumer information without consumers knowing what data is collected and who it’s being sold to. Just as the law protects other property rights, the CFO believes it should also protect consumer information, which big tech companies are using to extract maximum profit from consumers who are being kept in the dark.

• Senate Bill 1864 – (Senator Bradley) Consumer Data Privacy
• House Bill 9 – (Representative McFarland) Consumer Data Privacy
• Senate Bill 1848 - (Senator Gruters) Personal Information Protection
• House Bill 1547 – (Representative Overdorf) Personal Information Protection
 
Holding Insurance Businesses Accountable to Policy Holders
The CFO will push to mandate insurance agencies that sell insurance to Floridians to proactively disclose to policyholders that they’re going out of business before doing so. This information will be important to policyholders as they make decisions for the future.
 
The CFO will also work to force 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. In certain public adjuster contracts, consumers will unknowingly allow adjusters to retrieve a portion of certain reimbursements insurers would make to policy holders, including living expense fees, which is provided to consumers that may have to stay in a hotel while their home is repaired.

• Senate Bill 1874 - (Senator Boyd) Department of Financial Services
• House Bill 959 - (Representative LaMarca) Department of Financial Services
 
CFO Patronis is committed to fighting for measures to combat rising insurance rates in the state. This legislation provides 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.

• Senate Bill 1058 – (Senator Hutson) Property Insurer Reimbursements
• House Bill 695 – (Representative Stevenson) Property Insurer Reimbursements
 
Supporting Florida’s Firefighters and First Responders
CFO & State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis has made it his mission to protect Florida’s firefighters from cancer dangers associated with their heroic profession. This proposal adds certain fire investigators within the existing firefighter cancer coverage championed by CFO Patronis.
 
• House Bill 557 - (Representative Salzman) Fire Investigator Cancer Treatment Benefits
• Senate Bill 838 - (Senator Wright) Fire Investigators

The CFO has been a strong advocate for Florida’s firefighters and first responders, and he will work to ensure Florida’s first responders are eligible for grants to help with down payments on new homes.
 
• Senate Bill 788 - (Senator Hooper) Florida Hometown Hero Housing Program
• House Bill 1563 - (Representative Tomkow) Homestead Property Tax Exemptions for Classroom Teachers, Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters, Child Welfare Professionals, and Servicemembers
 
CFO Patronis is committed to advocating for Florida’s first responders and measures that further protect our 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 Cabera) Firefighter Inquiries and Investigations
 
In March 2020, CFO Patronis issued a directive to provide workers’ compensation coverage to first responders. This legislation will ensure that first responders who contract COVID-19 do not need to worry about how to pay for medical bills.

• Senate Bill 774 - (Senator Gruters) Communicable and Infectious Diseases
• House Bill 117 – (Representative Fetterhoff) Communicable and Infectious Diseases
 
Since the onset of the pandemic, CFO Patronis has advocated for 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 – (Judiciary Committee) COVID-19-related Claims Against Health Care Providers
 
Supporting Florida Small Businesses
The CFO will work to reduce workers comp penalties for small businesses. With Florida’s workers comp premiums down by 4.9% this year, there are opportunities to engage and educate employers to get their businesses into compliance. The proposal 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

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. El Oficial Principal de Finanzas Patronis trabaja todos los días para luchar contra el fraude de seguros, apoyar a los bomberos de la Florida y garantizar que las finanzas del estado sean estables para respaldar el crecimiento financiero del estado. Siga las actividades del departamento en Facebook (FLDFS) y Twitter (@FLDFS).