House Democratic leadership has responded to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ announcement that he will be calling a May Special Session to focus on property insurance reform, signaling their support for legislation addressing the potential crisis.
DeSantis announced Monday morning that he will be signing a proclamation to set the dates for the Special Session later this week but is still working with legislative leaders on the specific days. He said the primary focus would be property insurance reform, but that other issues could be addressed.
In a statement to Florida Politics, Democratic Leader Rep. Evan Jenne said DeSantis “has finally addressed the growing homeowner’s insurance crisis” after “months of public outcry, newspaper headlines, and Democrats raising the alarm all session long.” A poll of the Legislature supporting a property insurance special session initiated by Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes failed Monday but received support from all 42 members of the House Democratic Caucus.
Rep. Fentrice Driskell of Tampa said DeSantis’ announcement confirms that much of the 2022 session was wasted on unnecessary culture war legislation.
“We should have addressed the property insurance market crisis when we had the chance during the Regular Legislative Session,” Driskell said. “Every day the Governor failed to take action was an additional day that Floridians had to shoulder the burden of out-of-control property insurance rates while also trying to make ends meet in light of Florida’s skyrocketing cost of living. This failure rests squarely within the Governor’s hands.”
Rep. Dan Daley of Coral Springs blasted the majority of Republicans for not supporting Brandes’ call for a Special Session.
“It is disheartening, yet unsurprising, that Florida Republicans again chose to turn their backs on Floridians by voting against a property insurance Special Session,” Daley said.
However, Jenne gave credit to the Republican House members who backed the poll, (Elizabeth Fetterhoff, Blaise Ingoglia, Sam Killebrew, Anthony Sabatini) and added he hopes more from the majority come to the table during the May Special Session to deal with the crisis.
“It’s a shame we didn’t get more support from the majority because a full collapse of the market would be catastrophic for our economy,” Jenne said. “This crisis isn’t partisan, and we all have to work together to find a way to protect Floridian’s pocketbooks and their homes.”
Jenne said Democrats will have to wait and see what solutions are brought to the table.
“A solution can’t be something that raises rates or weakens protection for Floridians’ homes,” he said.