Last Call for 5.12.22 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

During a Thursday news conference in Tampa, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis outlined five proposals he wants lawmakers to consider in the upcoming Special Session on property insurance.

“Florida communities are under attack by fraudsters who are willing to try anything to game the system. They are stealing from us all,” he said. “To win this war, we need the troops, the weapons, and a full commitment to the mission.”

Patronis, whose department oversees the Office of Insurance Regulation, recommended that lawmakers establish three more anti-fraud homeowner squads in the I-4 corridor, for a total of five in the region.

The CFO also wants $3 million for an anti-fraud public education campaign, saying “fraudsters need to know that if they break the law, they’re going to jail.”

Patronis’ third recommendation is an amendment to Florida’s False Claims Act to allow whistleblowers to recover damages in “Qui-Tam” cases. Qui-Tam cases allow whistleblowers to collect a percentage of damages recovered, even if they are not the victim or otherwise involved in the case.

A fourth proposal would further incentivize whistleblowers by providing awards for calls to the “Florida Fraud Fighter Reward” tip line that result in an arrest. Currently, tipsters only receive awards if their help results in a conviction.

Finally, Patronis wants lawmakers to take another crack at assignment of benefits, or AOB, laws. AOB allows policyholders to sign over their insurance policy benefits to a third party in exchange for quick repairs. Patronis said lawmakers should ban the “bundling” of AOB benefits.

“We cannot allow law firms, or public adjusters, to get in the business of bundling AOBs and selling them for profit like a security. I want to deter a ‘feeding frenzy’ of bad actors from going after consumers to sell AOBs on the open market. We need to stop this practice in its tracks, and this Session we will work with the Legislature to ban them,” he said.

Evening Reads

—“Feud between Joe Biden and Rick Scott turns personal” via Seung Min Kim of The Washington Post

—“Ron DeSantis plays the long game in congressional map battle” via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics

—“The Bogeyman: Evaluating the attacks on Gov. DeSantis” via Dave Seminara of City Journal

—“Biden’s American Rescue Plan worsened inflation. The question is how much.” via Andrew Prokop of Vox

—“What’s the point of going to Brett Kavanaugh’s house?” via Elaine Godfrey of The Atlantic

—“Laurel Lee leaves Secretary of State post amid talk of congressional run” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—“The most pivotal elections in 2022 are not the ones you think” via Barbara McQuade for The New York Times

—“Ramon Alexander, expected House Dem Leader, drops re-election bid after harassment allegations” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

—“Florida Democrats post video reel of Marco Rubio’s restrictive abortion stance” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics

—“Florida Citizens Alliance, other groups were ‘pulling the oars’ as state rejected math books” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel

—“New algae blooms expose Gov. DeSantis’ failure to fix pollution” via Craig Pittman of the Florida Phoenix

—“‘A silent surge’: While the newest omicron subvariant drives up COVID-19 cases in Florida, effects are mild” via Cindy Krischer Goodman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“It has been a true honor to stand in the gap year after year, for so many critical issues that impact the future of our state and nation. From the bottom of my heart, I say thank you.”

— Rep. Ramon Alexander, announcing he will leave the House amid sexual harassment allegations.

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