Chip LaMarca’s Session priorities include increasing KidCare eligibility

LaMarca, Chip 2
The Broward County Republican wants to increase eligibility for state-subsidized child insurance.

Rep. Chip LaMarca’s 2022 agenda would have him revamp KidCare benefits to incentivize working parents, level the playing field for college athletes and increase the permissible size of wine bottles.

The Broward County Republican says his ambition to provide the incentives for people to better themselves comes out of a childhood spent watching his mother try to make ends meet. His father died when LaMarca was young.

First on his list: Making sure no parents are forced to choose between taking a better job or keeping health benefits for their children. Too many times, the incentive is to stay at a lesser paying job so a family doesn’t lose their state-subsidized health benefits, he said.

So he has introduced a bill (HB 419) that would double the amount of income a household can make and still be eligible for KidCare, the state-subsidized health insurance for kids. His bill has a structure for premiums to increase as parents make more money.

“It’s one of the biggest problems nationally and in the state of Florida,” said LaMarca, who lives in Lighthouse Point, explaining the “fiscal cliff” that people reach. “We can create a process that incrementally allows them to get off of the (state-subsidized insurance) and better themselves.”

He also filed legislation (HB 939) that will tweak and loosen a rule passed last year that allows student athletes to receive compensation for their name, image and likeness. The law passed last year required that the compensation come from a third party not affiliated with the athlete’s college or university. Unintentionally, it was preventing coaches and athletic directors from counseling their young charges on opportunities that come their way, LaMarca said.

“What we’re seeing in other states is that (regulation) doesn’t exist,” he said. “This would allow them to have the same level playing field that someone in Alabama or Georgia has.”

LaMarca, who’s used to being one of the only Republicans in the room coming from blue Broward County, is also looking forward to toasting it all with a pour of champagne from a larger-sized bottle than state law currently permits — because another bill (HB 6031) of his would smash the state’s current one-gallon limit for wine containers sold in Florida.

“With my Senate sponsor (SB 384), I’m very well confident we will all be able to clink our glasses at the end of session with champagne poured from a Nebuchadnezzar,” he said, referencing a bottle that holds 100 regular glasses.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]



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