Jimmy Patronis highlights proposals tackling fraud, bolstering support for firefighters

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The 2021 Legislative Session begins March 2.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis highlighted two proposals Tuesday as part of the Florida Department of Financial Services’ 2021 Legislative Package.

The proposals, SB 1408 and HB 1209, seek to support the department’s effort to combat fraud and support Florida firefighters.

“Our 2021 agency package aims to enhance fraud-fighting efforts to combat rising insurance rates by making it a felony to aid in unlicensed insurance transactions, further supports Florida’s firefighters in their battle against cancer, and better protects victims of sexual harassment against acts of retaliation,” Patronis said in a news release. “It’s no doubt that 2020 brought significant challenges to the state of Florida, but by working together on these measures and others, we can ensure a bright future for our great state.”

Sponsored by Sen. Danny Burgess and Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, the proposals would make it a criminal offense to knowingly aid and abet an unlicensed insurance transaction.

Moreover, the bills would designate the Division of Public Assistance as a fraud-fighting criminal justice agency and allow it to target unlicensed funeral and cemetery activity.

“I am honored to sponsor SB 1408 and support the Department of Financial Services’ mission to fight fraud and protect consumers,” said Burgess, a Zephyrhills Republican. “I look forward to this upcoming legislative session and working with CFO Patronis to make sure this good bill gets across the finish line.”

Beyond fraud, the proposals address firefighter and sexual harassment issues.

Under the package, DFS’ Risk Management Program would provide cancer coverage to firefighters and fortify sexual harassment protections related to victims’ personal information.

“Fighting fraud, advocating for Florida’s firefighters, and protecting consumers is an important mission,” said Fetterhoff, a Deland Republican. “I am honored to have the opportunity to sponsor this good bill and look forward to working closely with CFO Patronis and my colleagues in the legislature to ensure this critical legislation is passed.”

The 2021 Legislative Session begins March 2.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.


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