Aside from high-profile ‘sanctuary cities’ legislation, the Florida House on Friday also approved a bounty of bills on subjects including red-light cameras and insurance.
Here are a few:
— Red-light cameras (HB 6001): The bill “prohibits counties and municipalities from implementing red light camera programs by local ordinance,” according to a summary. It passed 83-18. “It is clear that red light cameras are more about revenue than public safety,” Speaker Richard Corcoran said in a statement.
— PIP repeal (HB 19): The measure repeals the state’s no-fault auto insurance system. The vote was 88-15. Also known as personal injury protection insurance, or PIP, it’s long been fraught with fraud. At one point, Florida was the top state for staged accidents, especially in the Tampa and Miami-Dade metropolitan areas. In its place, ‘bodily injury’ coverage will be required at a minimum of $25,000 per accident.
— Assignment of benefits (HB 7015): This bill is the House’s overhaul of the contentious insurance issue for 2018. It was OK’d 82-20. Assignment of benefits “allows a third party to be paid for services performed for an insured homeowner who would normally be reimbursed by the insurance company directly after making a claim,” as one website defines it. A long-running dispute has pitted insurers against repair contractors and attorneys. Insurance companies accuse contractors of inflating repair bills; contractors blame insurers for low-balling payout offers. The problem is particularly acute in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. This year’s bill requires an ‘assignment agreement’ to be written, include a 7-day period within which the insured may rescind the agreement, and include an estimate of services, among other things.
— Workers’ compensation (HB 7009): The measure, passed 74-30, addresses the workers’ comp issue. It encourages injured workers and carriers – and their attorneys – to attempt to resolve disputes amicably, for example. But workers’ comp insurance premiums have fallen sharply since the spring’s panic over last year’s proposed 14.5 percent increase in rates. The Office of Insurance Regulation later approved a decrease of 9.5 percent.
— Stadium financing (HB 13): Passed 75-27, it tackles the issue of using public money to finance privately-owned stadiums. Among other provisions, it “prohibits a sports franchise from constructing, reconstructing, renovating, or improving a facility on public land leased from the state or a local government,” the summary says. “Billionaires don’t need handouts—whether it’s direct subsidies, tax abatements, or land leases well-below market value,” bill sponsor Bryan Avila said in a statement.
— Ethics: Two bills, HB 11 and HB 7003, impose new or increased ethics and accountability requirements. For instance, elected mayors and city commissioners of larger municipalities will have to file “full and public disclosures of their financial interests in lieu of the less detailed form of disclosure required under current law.” Another measure, HB 5, increases the lobbying ban on former legislators from two years to six years. It passed 96-5.
These bills now head to the Senate for consideration.