Uber Archives - Florida Politics

Rick Scott says he will sign ‘Uber bill’

Gov. Rick Scott tweeted on Monday that he will sign into law a bill creating statewide regulations for ride-booking companies like Uber and Lyft.

“I look forward to signing the @Uber/ @lyft bill,” Scott tweeted from his official account, @FLGovScott. The governor is in Argentina on a trade mission.

Colin Tooze, Uber’s director of public affairs, tweeted back, “Many thanks for your leadership, @FLGovScott ! All of us at @Uber are excited to have a permanent home in the Sunshine State.”

Lawmakers had considered legislation for four years before passing a bill this year.

The Senate finally approved a House measure (HB 221) on a 36-1 vote, with Sen. Jack Latvala the only ‘no’ vote.

The legislation, among other things, requires Uber, Lyft and similar “transportation network companies” to carry $100,000 of insurance for bodily injury or death and $25,000 for property damage while a driver is logged into the app, but hasn’t yet secured a passenger.

When a driver gets a ride, they need to have $1 million in coverage.

The bill also requires companies to have third parties run criminal background checks on drivers. It also pre-empts local ordinances and other rules on transportation network companies, or TNCs.

“On behalf of thousands of Uber driver partners and millions of Florida residents and visitors who rely on ride-sharing, we thank Gov. Scott for his commitment to ensuring our state remains at the forefront of innovation and job creation,” said Javi Correoso, Public Affairs Manager for Uber Florida, in a statement.

“Upon the governor’s signature, Floridians and tourists will have access to a safe, reliable and affordable transportation option,” Correoso added. “We look forward to his official signature on this landmark legislation.”

Bill to regulate Uber, Lyft headed to Senate floor

A bill that would create a regulatory framework for transportation network companies in Florida cleared the Senate Rules Committee, teeing it up for a vote in the full Senate within the coming days.

Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, the bill (SB 340) would require Uber and Lyft to carry $100,000 of insurance for bodily injury or death and $25,000 for property damage while a driver is logged onto their app but hasn’t secured a passenger. While a rider is in the vehicle, they are required to have $1 million worth of coverage.

The proposal also calls on companies to have third parties conduct local and national background checks on drivers.

“Today’s vote signals a major milestone in the effort to ensure every Florida resident and visitor has access to ride-sharing,” said Stephanie Smith, the senior manager for public policy at Uber Technologies, in a statement. “At Uber, we are focused on connecting people and communities, increasing mobility, and this vote brings us one step closer to achieving this.

The bill cleared the committee on a 10-1 vote. It now heads to the Senate floor.

This legislation will give Florida’s residents and visitors easy access to an affordable and reliable transportation option, ultimately providing the state with increased economic opportunity,” said Chelsea Harrison, the senior policy communications manager for Lyft, in a statement. “We look forward to passage by the full Senate.”

A similar bill (HB 221), sponsored by Reps. Chris Sprowls and Jamie Grant, unanimously passed the House Wednesday.

House gets one step closer to passing statewide regs on Uber, Lyft

Legislation to regulate transportation network companies (TNC) in Florida advanced Tuesday on its second reading through the Florida House.

The bill sponsored by Palm Harbor Republican Chris Sprowls and Tampa Republican Jamie Grant (HB 221) requires ride-sharing companies to have third-parties conduct local and national criminal background checks on drivers.

“That includes a multistage, multi-jurisdictional background check, a search of the National Sex Offender website, and a review of the public driving history of the applicant,” Sprowls said on the House floor.

Although critics say that the measure should include Level II federal background check requirements, Sprowls said that database is smaller than the one that Uber and Lyft will have to use in Florida. “The National Certified Background check has up to 500 million records,” he said.

The proposal would prohibit from becoming ride-share drivers if they have three moving violations in the prior 3-year period; have been convicted of a felony within the previous five years; or have been convicted of a misdemeanor charge of sexual assault, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, hit and run, or attempting to flee a law enforcement officer within the past five years.

It also calls for drivers to carry insurance coverage worth $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person, $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident and $25,000 for property damage when picking up passengers. Coverage would jump to a minimum of $1 million in coverage in the case of death, bodily injury and property damage while a passenger is in the vehicle.

Amendments proposed by Miami Beach Democrat David Richardson that would require the ride-sharing companies to have a nondiscrimination policy regarding the hiring of drivers were defeated. At one point Sprowls said that he would work to have language added to the bill that would require TNC’s to follow state law on public accommodations.

Richardson said that really wouldn’t work since gays and lesbians are not currently protected under current state law.

Sprowls did amend the bill to make it more compatible with its Senate counterpart (SB 340) sponsored by St. Petersburg Republican Jeff Brandes. Those changes include authorizing seaports to impose pickup fees on rideshare drivers when picking up or dropping riders from seaports, as long as they do not exceed what that particular port is charging taxicab companies to pay.

The bill has one more reading through to pass the House, while it will be heard in the Rules Committee in the Senate Thursday.

Capitol Reax: Visit Florida funding, Uber, high-speed rail

The Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee voted 5-1 to approve a proposal (SB 596) that would allow telecommunications companies to put small wireless communications infrastructure in public rights-of-way.

Tom Feeney, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida: “AIF supports legislation to bring technology of the future to Florida, allowing our communities to be a part of the smart cities revolution.  Florida’s economic environment will greatly benefit from this good legislation, allowing new technologically advanced companies to locate here in the Sunshine State.

AIF applauds Senator (Travis) Hutson for championing this legislation and the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee for passing this bill out of its committee today.  SB 596 will allow technology of the future, like smart cities, autonomous vehicles and instantaneous speeds, to become a reality through uniform deployment of small cell technology.”

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee temporarily postponed a proposal (HB 269), which would have established the Florida High Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act.

Brent Hanlon, chairman of Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (CARE FL): “I want to once again thank Representatives MaryLynn Magar and Erin Grall for filing legislation this session to protect citizens from subsidizing high speed rail projects that pose risks to public safety.  We are disappointed that the subcommittee did not debate the bill today, but we respect the legislative process, and look forward to more dialogue about this important legislation in due course.

All Aboard Florida (AAF) is taking a victory lap today in its public statements, but its latest actions are nothing more than a special interest group flexing its political muscle in a desperate attempt to protect its profits which are reliant on taxpayer subsidies.

AAF continues to put the communities of South Florida on the hook for millions in upgrades to enhance safety measures and make a grab for taxpayer subsidies.

We will continue to advocate for legislation that puts public safety first and we know that our elected leaders want the same. This is nothing more than an ill-conceived rail project by a private company that wants to shift costs to the taxpayers.”

The Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee has proposed matching Gov. Rick Scott’s budget proposal of $76 million for Visit Florida, while setting aside $80 million for Enterprise Florida.

Chris Hudson, state director for American for Prosperity-Florida: “The Florida Senate is sending a bad message to their constituents. They are telling the hardworking small business owners that don’t even qualify for the handouts their proposing to sustain by maintaining funding to Enterprise Florida are more important than properly funding real priorities for their communities. The Senate should pick up where the Florida House left off and come together to eliminate corporate welfare by eliminating Enterprise Florida.

The Florida Senate is also wrong to fund Visit Florida with another $76 million dollars. Visit Florida’s lack of transparency and lack of accountability have engulfed the Sunshine State in national embarrassment that should not be rewarded. This failed program needs more than just reform; it should be completely eliminated.

Our grassroots teams will be deployed throughout the state in the districts of Senators who support funding corporate welfare. We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that Floridians know which members of the legislature support corporate welfare and the programs that give away their tax dollars to private businesses instead of better supporting real priorities like education and infrastructure.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill (SB 340) to create a regulatory framework for transportation network companies, like Uber and Lyft.

Stephanie Smith, senior manager, public policy for Uber Technologies: “Today’s unanimous vote on Senate Bill 340 by the Senate Committee on Judiciary is a positive indication that Florida lawmakers support the safety, economic, and mobility benefits that come from ridesharing services like Uber.

We are grateful to all of the Senators who voted ‘yes’ on the bill, with special thanks to Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) who continues to be a champion for modern transportation options.”

Logan McFaddin, regional manager of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America: “PCI applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senator Brandes for supporting legislation that addresses the insurance gaps when a driver is engaged in rideshare activity.  PCI and our members believe it is imperative rideshare drivers and their passengers are protected as they travel from point A to point B.

The insurance coverage concerns are significant, especially if ride share drivers use their personal vehicles for this commercial activity but only have personal auto insurance coverage. The standard personal auto insurance policy may not provide coverage if the vehicle is being used for commercial purposes and an accident were to occur.

With model legislation already passing in 45 other states, PCI encourages Florida lawmakers to do the same for Florida and protect the public.”

 

#SuitsForSession clothing drive brings in more than 3,000 donations

Nearly 200 job seekers will be able to wear a new-to-them suit as they hunt for employment, thanks to a clothing donation drive put on by ridesharing company Uber and Volunteer Florida Wednesday.

The second annual “#SuitsForSession” campaign collected professional clothing donations at the Capitol and also sent out Uber drivers to pick up donations free of charge. The company said 75 bags of clothes were gathered through the app.

“Wednesday’s second annual #SuitsForSession Capitol service project was a tremendous success, and we are proud to have played a role in making the donation of items easy and convenient for Uber users. We are thankful for the generosity of those in Leon County, who came together to collect thousands of items,” said Kasra Moshkani, Uber Florida general manager for Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Among the donations were 195 complete suits, as well as 2,072 pieces of women’s clothing and 1,013 pieces of men’s clothing. The #SuitsForSession drive also brought in just shy of 200 accessories, such as shoes and belts.

“Volunteer Florida is thrilled by the volume and quality of the donations we received through #SuitsForSession,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman. “We are grateful for our partnership with Uber, which made it possible for so many people to give.”

Spellman said Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones, Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina Daly, Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, Department of Economic Opportunity Director Cissy Proctor and Surgeon General and Department of Health Secretary Celeste Philip, M.D., were among those stopping by the Capitol donation drop off with some of their clothing items.

“It was an honor to sponsor #SuitsForSession 2017,” Simpson said. “I had a chance to visit the #SuitsForSession display at the Capitol, and the amount of donations was remarkable! I am proud of those who came together to provide donations for job-seekers statewide.”

More than 30 organizations joined Uber and Volunteer Florida to put on the one-day drive, which entered donors into a contest to win a suit from Nic’s Toggery, a gift certificate from women’s clothing store Narcissus, and a custom sports coat from Arron’s Fine Custom Clothing.

The donated items will be distributed over the coming days to Chapman Partnership in Miami, Dress for Success Tampa Bay, ECHO Outreach Ministries in Tallahassee, various locations of Bridges of America, as well as and the Florida State University Unconquered Scholars program in Tallahassee.

Capitol Reax: Uber, Lyft, PCI, and the League of Southeastern Credit Unions sound off on the day’s news

The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee approved a bill to regulate transportation network companies, like Uber and Lyft. The bill establishes minimum insurance requirements, requires background screenings and includes consumer protection provisions.

Stephanie Smith, senior manager, public policy for Uber Technologies: “The bipartisan vote in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee is another step toward ensuring Florida doesn’t fall behind the transportation innovation curve. Thank you to Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) for his constant support and advocacy for ridesharing in the state.

Uber’s goal is to empower people through mobility, with the safety of our riders and drivers at the forefront of every decision we make. We will continue to work to create a statewide regulatory framework so that drivers and riders have access to ridesharing no matter where they live in Florida.”

Chelsea Harrison, senior policy communications manager for Lyft: “We are grateful for Sen. Brandes’ advocacy on this important issue and applaud the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee for approving this legislation. This is a significant step toward a uniform, statewide framework for modern options like Lyft and we look forward to continuing to advocate for expanded consumer choice that keeps public safety first.”

Logan McFaddin, regional manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America: “PCI commends the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and Senator Brandes for acknowledging insurance gaps when a driver is engaged in rideshare activity. PCI and our members strongly support making sure rideshare drivers and their passengers are protected from the time the driver turns the app on until the app is turned off.

This is yet another critical step in making sure Florida’s rideshare drivers have adequate insurance coverage if an accident were to occur. PCI and our members have been out front on this issue in Florida and other states and will remain engaged in working on a responsible solution that protects all Floridians.

Our top priority is to protect drivers and the public by closing the insurance gaps and this bill accomplishes that goal.  PCI looks forward to continued dialogue to ensure the coverage gaps that leave consumers at risk are closed. Model legislation has already passed in 43 states, and it’s time for Florida to do the same.”

The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee also approved a bill dealing with public deposits and credit unions.

Patrick La Pine, president and CEO of League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates: “We commend members of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee for choosing to take a much-needed step forward by supporting Senate Bill 1170, which would allow credit unions to accept deposits from public entities, and grant such entities greater freedom for their financial needs. This bill will not only allow communities to keep their funds within their local communities, but ensure the banking needs of universities and local governments, to name a few, are properly and adequately met.

We also thank the bill’s sponsor, Senator Hutson, for his commitment to making 2017 the year depository choice passes, as we truly believe it is in the best interest of Florida’s taxpayer-funded public entities to have a choice to meet their financial needs.”

 

House committee pushes through local bill abolishing Hillsborough PTC

A bill to shutter the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Committee continued its rapid pace through the House, quickly passing the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Tuesday.

Transportation and Infrastructure, which oversees taxicabs and limousines, has clashed with municipalities lately over the regulation of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

In past years, several members of the Hillsborough County legislative delegation have unsuccessfully sought the elimination of the agency, in support of transportation network companies (TNC).

However, the 2017 Session is the first time the entire county delegation voted to close the PTC.

Sponsored by Tampa Republican Jamie Grant, HB 647 was unanimously advanced in its first two committees.

Referred to as a “local bill,” HB 647 will move to the Senate floor as part of a consent agenda, bundled with several other local delegation bills.

According to Florida House rules, a local bill is “legislation relating to or designed to operate only in a specifically indicated part of the state or one that purports to operate within classified territory when classification is not permissible or the classification is illegal.”

Bill regulating ride-sharing in Florida advances in Senate Committee

Legislation to provide statewide regulations for transportation network companies (TNC’s) advanced in its latest committee stop in the Florida Senate Tuesday.

St. Petersburg Republican Jeff Brandes‘ bill (SB 340) received only two votes in opposition in clearing the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, though there were substantial concerns expressed about funding for paratransit that animated the debate.

Noting that there is a hole in disability transportation, Parkland Democrat Gary Farmer offered an amendment that would assess ride-sharing companies one-half of one percent of TNC gross revenues go to the state and then be redistributed to the counties that would pay for disability transportation.

Farmer said that in 14 states, ride-sharing companies had been assessed fees “for one thing or another,” and thus it wasn’t outside the mainstream to do so in Florida.

Miami Republican Rene Garcia called Farmer’s amendment “well-intentioned,” but said the real answer was to address the needs of the state’s Transportation Disadvantaged program.

Garcia said he intended to present a bill or add as an amendment during the session that would allow for operators in the program to cross county lines.

“Unfortunately right now we don’t have that system that’s fully integrated that crosses county lines and so forth,” Garcia said, adding that work has been going on behind the scenes to put that into legislation into place. He also said some local boards aren’t administrating federal and state paratransit funds in the most efficient way.

Farmer’s amendment ultimately went down to defeat.

Along with Farmer, the only other dissenting vote for the entire legislation in the committee came from Panama City Republican George Gainer, who said he didn’t understand why ride-sharing companies needed to be regulated by the state when that wasn’t the case with taxicabs.

“The goal here is to establish the statewide standard in both insurance and background checks, so that both business travelers, residents and tourists, understand that they have seamless transportation options as it relates to this technology,” Brandes told Gainer.

The Florida League of Cities also continues to oppose the legislation, specifying criticizing the background check policy that will require TNC drivers to get background checks only every three years, “which could result in drivers who committed criminal acts still driving for these companies within that window,” said Megan Sirjane-Samples.

The committee did approve two amendments that Brandes added to the legislation, including authorizing seaports to impose pickup fees on rideshare drivers when picking up or dropping riders from ports, as long as they do not exceed what that particular port is charging taxicab companies to pay.

In the original bill, only airports were allowed to charge pickup fees.

The amendment also requires ride-sharing companies to contract with the state’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) to review their insurance and background check process. Specifically, the DFS can impose civil penalties Uber or Lyft if they are noncompliant.

The first violation would result in a $250 penalty for each incidence of noncompliance within a review, and $500 per any repeated noncompliance issues within a report.

The legislation requires Uber and Lyft to carry $100,000 of insurance for bodily injury or death and $25,000 for property damage while a driver is logged onto their app but hasn’t secured a passenger.

While driving a rider, they’re required to have $1 million worth of coverage. The bill also requires transportation network companies to have third parties conduct local and national criminal background checks on drivers.

“The bipartisan vote in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee is another step toward ensuring Florida doesn’t fall behind the transportation innovation curve,” said Stephanie Smith, senior manager of public policy with Uber.

“We are grateful for Sen. Brandes’ advocacy on this important issue and applaud the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee for approving this legislation,” said Lyft’s Chelsea Harrison, senior policy communications manager for Lyft. “This is a significant step toward a uniform, statewide framework for modern options like Lyft and we look forward to continuing to advocate for expanded consumer choice that keeps public safety first.”

Safety Harbor Republican Chris Sprowls and Tampa Republican Jamie Grant are sponsoring the companion bill moving in the House (CS/HB 221).

Jeff Brandes amends ridesharing bill in Florida Senate

St. Petersburg Republican Jeff Brandes has amended his ridesharing bill (SB 340) that has been moving its way through the Florida Senate.

Among those changes include authorizing seaports to impose pickup fees on rideshare drivers when picking up or dropping riders from seaports, as long as they do not exceed what that particular port is charging taxicab companies to pay.

In the original bill, only airports were allowed to charge pickup fees.

The amendment also requires ridesharing companies to contract with the state’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) to review their insurance and background check process. Specifically, the DFS can impose civil penalties on Uber or Lyft if they are noncompliant. The first violation would result in a $250 penalty for each incidence of noncompliance within a review, and $500 per any repeated noncompliance issues within a report.

The DFS would have authorization “to shut down bad actors” and prohibit specific drivers from operating on platforms if they are noncompliant.

The legislation requires Uber and Lyft to carry $100,000 of insurance for bodily injury or death and $25,000 for property damage while a driver is logged onto their app but hasn’t secured a passenger. While driving a rider, they’re required to have $1 million worth of coverage. The bill also requires transportation network companies to have third parties conduct local and national criminal background checks on drivers.

Safety Harbor Republican Chris Sprowls and Tampa Republican Jamie Grant are sponsoring the companion bill moving in the House (CS/HB 221).

Insurance companies have plenty to worry about as Legislative Session opens

The insurance industry already has a good idea how one of it’s top priorities for the 2017 Legislative Session seems likely to go. It found out when the House and Senate unveiled their plans for fixing the workers’ compensation system Friday.

But there’s more than that to worry about as session opens Tuesday.

The industry is also looking for a fix for assignment of benefits abuse, and waiting to see whether the Legislature will make the state’s personal injury protection mandate for auto insurance go away.

There’s an abortion bill that could affect medical malpractice rates. One to let plaintiffs collect prejudgment interest on legal damages. Even Uber is on the menu.

The Senate workers’ compensation bill takes direct aim at the National Council on Compensation Insurance, which proposes premium levels for most of the insurers in Florida.

SB 1582 would require insurers to file their own rates, presumably encouraging them to compete on price.

The House bill wouldn’t go that far — it merely allows insurers to deviate from a common rate by up to 5 percent, subject to approval by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

Both measures would retain attorney fee caps, linked to the benefits won, that were struck down as unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court last year. But they allow deviations when warranted by the degree of difficulty or time involved.

The measures would be more generous with permanent disability awards, would change the reimbursement scheme for hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers, and would require claims to spell out the benefits sought and why.

There wasn’t much immediate reaction from the industry, but Richard Chait, chairman of the Florida Justice Association’s workers’ comp committee, called the Senate plan “a step in the right direction.”

Cracking down on abuse of assignment of benefits, or AOB, agreements is the top legislative priority this year for Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Florida’s insurer of last resort, and for Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier.

Altmaier’s idea is to change Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute so that contractors can’t use it to enforce AOBs. Only named policyholders or a limited number of their designees could do that.

“It would clarify that, if you’re a homeowner, and you own the policy, it’s your name on the policy, you have the benefit of the one-way attorney fee,” Altmaier said after presenting his plan to the Cabinet recently. “If your name is not on the policy, then you don’t. It’s just as simple as that.”

Sen. Jeff Brandes is among the lawmakers pushing for repeal of mandatory PIP — which, a study released in September suggested — could save drivers an average $81 per car.

However, consumers could end up paying more for other lines of coverage.

A Senate committee has discussed abandoning PIP in favor of a system whereby people injured in auto accidents can sue to recover against bodily injury policies held by drivers found at fault.

Other items on the agenda:

Flood insurance: Brandes is sponsoring SB 420, which would encourage Florida insurers to write flood insurance as an alternative to expensive federal coverage. Existing law allows insurers to offer flood policies through 2019 without having to wait for the Office of Insurance Regulation to review their rates. Brandes’ bill would extend that until 2025.

HMOs: SB 262, by Greg Steube, would allow patients to sue HMOs for declining to cover doctors’ treatment recommendations in bad faith.

“Why shouldn’t the HMOs be held liable for the decisions they make and the doctors aren’t making, and people are dying? I just don’t think that’s equitable,” the Sarasota Republican said during a committee hearing.

Existing law exempts HMOs from liability for treatment decisions by doctors with whom they contract to treat patients.

State employees’ health insurance: PCB HHS 17-01 would allow workers to choose between four plans offering different benefits levels, and pay premiums accordingly, beginning in 2020.

If the state’s contribution for a premium were more than the cost of the plan selected by an employee, they could use the remainder to fund a flexible spending arrangement or health savings plan; purchase additional benefits; or apply it to their salary.

Doctor’s prerogatives: HB 161, by Danny Burgess, and SB 240, by Tom Lee would authorize a direct primary care system, described by proponents at the Florida Medical Association as “an alternative to the traditional fee-for-service model in which patients are charged a simple, affordable flat monthly fee for comprehensive coverage of all primary care services.”

These arrangements are intended to prevent chronic illnesses and reduce administrative expenses. They would not be subject to oversight by the state Office of Insurance Regulation.

Abortion: Medical malpractice insurers are alarmed about HB 19, by Erin Grall, which would create a cause of action by women against doctors who performed an abortion without informed consent as many as 10 years later.

Mark Delegal, with the Doctors Company, a medical malpractice insurance business, has argued the measure would undo medical malpractice reforms passed by the Florida Legislature in 2003 — including a two-year statute of limitations.

Prejudgment interest: CS/HB 469 would allow plaintiffs to recover interest on noneconomic claims, including pain and suffering, at a rate set 4.9 percent but varying with inflation — from the date of a loss.

They could collect against attorney fees and costs, too. Existing law provides for prejudgment interest on economic claims only, or when provided for by contract.

A companion measure, by Steube, has cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Uber/Lyft: CS/HB 221 would create statewide regulations governing transportation network companies. That’s car-sharing operations like Uber and Lyft. Among other things, the bill would require the companies to insure each car.

“For far too long, TNC drivers have been operating under their personal insurance policies, which may not cover them or their passengers in an event of a crash,” Samantha Sexton, of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, said after the bill cleared the House Government Accountability Committee.

Omnibus: HB 454, by Brandes, cleans up various provisions of the state’s insurance regulations. For example, it would repeal the scheduled 2019 sunset of medical malpractice insurers’ exemption from emergency assessments in case of a catastrophe, and would allow insurers to charge handling fees if a premium check bounces.

Lobbyists tend to view any cleanup bill warily, lest it turn into a “train” carrying provisions they might not like.

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