Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Monday, May 24

May 24, 2010



To view a complete story, click on a headline below:


Blog:  Insurance bill draws scrutiny for sending business to Christian adjusters group

A provision tucked into the sweeping property insurance bill, SB 2044, one week before the end of the legislative session has puzzled supporters and opponents of the legislation alike.


Florida’s High Net Worth Homes Worth the Risk for Ironshore

The high net worth property insurance market in Florida has certain characteristics, like quality construction, which makes the risk acceptable to Ironshore Inc. as it enters the Sunshine State.


Post-Katrina Louisiana an Example of Keeping Politics Out of Property Market to Boost Recovery

Like other Gulf Coast states, Louisiana saw national insurance carriers pull away from the coast — certainly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — but starting a year prior when insurers began to take note of coastal exposure following an active 2004 hurricane season. Yet, the property market remains relatively stable, said many in the insurance industry, who are quick to point out the insurance environment in Louisiana has not been politicized like in Florida.


Editorial:  Inching to shore

Insurance bill takes small steps forward

Hurricane season is coming up, and though the Legislature’s new proposal for stabilizing the property insurance market in Florida is meager – doing little or nothing to invite more capital into the state to pay for claims – it’s better than nothing. Its safeguards for consumers and its provision to address fraud are both worthwhile, and we urge Gov. Charlie Crist to allow SB 2044 to become law.


Volusia receives $4 million for Fay flooding fixes

Volusia County has received a $4 million state grant as part of disaster mitigation from Tropical Storm Fay, which caused massive flooding in southwest Volusia in 2008.


Hurricane conference comes to Fort Lauderdale

The Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference is here, and hurricane season can’t be far behind. The forum that allows emergency managers, rescue workers, government officials and others to gear up for the storm season starts on Monday in Fort Lauderdale.


CFO Sink Urges Governor Crist to Sign Legislation to Reduce Workers’ Comp Costs, Save Taxpayer Dollars

Today, Florida CFO Alex Sink sent a letter to Governor Crist asking his support of her risk management legislation (HB 5603), which addresses the rising costs of workers’ compensation benefits in the state risk management program. The legislation passed the legislature unanimously, and is currently pending Governor Crist’s approval to become law.


Opinion:  Florida Governor Should Veto Bill Allowing Heavier Trucks

The change I speak of would raise maximum allowable truck weights to 88,000 pounds, not only putting Floridians in danger but also damaging Florida’s already strained transportation infrastructure system.


Broward ends subsidies for emergency dispatch amid budget crisis

County officials argue they can no longer afford to cover the emergency dispatch costs. It’s facing a $100 million budget shortfall.


News Release:  Florida Department of Health Investigation Leads to Issuance of Cease and Desist Orders in Tampa  

The Florida Department of Health Tampa office of the Unlicensed Activity Unit today announced that formal Cease and Desist orders were issued on May 20, 2010 to: Frank Lopez, Jr., Marco Beltran aka “Marcos” Beltran, and Tampa Bay Wellness Centre.


Editorial:   Legislators must shine light on medical review process

Secrecy shrouds review of medical mistakes

Critics chiding Florida doctors for protecting their own make a persuasive case. But state residents won’t know if the criticism is valid until the confidential reviews by the Florida Department of Health are opened to public scrutiny.


Florida ratings agency warns a slew of big banks in danger of failure

Bank of America, Wachovia Bank, SunTrust and Regions – the biggest banks operating in Florida – have all made a new list of large banks considered “vulnerable to financial difficulties or even possible failure.”


Paula Dockery drops out of Florida governor’s race

In the wake of a new statewide poll showing her at 3 percent, Republican state Sen. Paula Dockery of Lakeland announced Monday she’s dropping out of the race for governor, which will leave a two-man competition between Attorney General Bill McCollum and health care executive Rick Scott for the GOP nomination.


AFL-CIO endorses Meek, Sink

The Florida AFL-CIO endorsed an all-Democratic slate in statewide elections on the November ballot. The federation didn’t choose between Sens. David Aronberg of Greenacres and Dan Gelber of Miami Beach for attorney general but endorsed whoever wins the Democratic primary.


Florida DEP chief leads Florida oil response

Mike Sole praised for attention to detail; critics worry he’s too soft

A former Marine captain who spent 16 years climbing to the top of the state Department of Environmental Protection, Mike Sole is the consummate and even-keeled bureaucrat always at the center of Florida’s stormiest environmental debates.


Florida’s Crist wants more federal help with spill

Crist sent a letter Saturday to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano warning that the fouling of Florida beaches, fishing areas and tourist destinations would have severe and lasting consequences.


Blog:  Alex Sink urges government takeover to stop oil leak

It’s time for the Obama administration to take command of stopping the oil leak in the Gulf, Alex Sink told the president on Monday.


Blog:  House lawmaker wants to override Crist’s veto

Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto of an agriculture bill (HB 7103), despite any opposition, is prompting the House to consider an override.


Blog:  Taxwatch ID’s $60 million in budget ‘turkeys’

Florida TaxWatch has identified 41 projects worth $60.6 million that is says bypassed the normal budgeting process.


Budget Deadline Nears for Gov. Crist

Gov. Charlie Crist must act on the 2010-2011 budget by Saturday, the 15th day after receiving it.


Column:  Florida may be forced to move primary

Florida’s presidential primary election in 2012 could be more than two months later than it was in 2008 under new rules being considered by the Republican National Committee.


New Florida rule says banks must prove ownership before foreclosing

A new Florida Supreme Court rule requires lenders to verify they are the actual owners of a home before making the initial case for foreclosure.


Condo law awaits OK from Crist

Sweeping reform would enable associations to recoup unpaid fees

Struggling condominium and homeowner associations could get a boost from a bill on Gov. Charlie Crist’s desk.


Civil-rights groups sue to block lawmakers’ redistricting amendment

Arguing that legislators are trying to thwart the signature-petition process, deceive voters and cling to power, a group of civil rights organizations and activists is going to court to fight a redistricting constitutional amendment that lawmakers rushed onto the ballot during the final week of the legislative session.


Report:   Florida Regulators faulted on Eastern Financial’s collapse

Regulators should have taken more aggressive steps to curtail the risky actions that led to the failure of Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union, according to a report.


Public employees unionizing

As cash-strapped state and local governments look at layoffs to save money, workers are turning to unions to protect their jobs and wages.


Crist, voters in synch on abortion bill and oil drilling, poll finds

Whether he’s a political weather vane or just a man of the people, Crist’s positions are more in line with the majority of Florida voters than with his former Republican colleagues in the state Legislature, according to a new poll of top issues debated in Tallahassee.


‘Wild West’ in Florida streets?

Official: ‘Stand Your Ground’ law opens ‘can of worms’ for criminal justice system

Up to 30 shots blazed between two groups of men in a late-night 2008 street skirmish, killing a 15-year-old boy. Last week a Tallahassee judge decided Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law forced him to dismiss charges against two of the combatants.


Brevard firm to develop new hybrid car

Rockledge-based company may eventually bring 1,000 jobs

Rockledge-based Mainstream Engineering Corp. announced Friday that it is spinning off an automotive division with plans to develop and build a high-efficiency, four-passenger hybrid sports car. The new company is called Avera Motors, a play on the words “American,” “verde,” or green, and “terra,” or earth.


Shareholders approve FPL Group name change

FPL Group Inc. will soon be called NextEra Energy Inc.


THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA:  State’s Supreme Court May Rule On Century-Old ‘No-Aid’ for Religious Organizations Law

The rule is meant to keep state funds from religious organizations

A century-old provision of the Florida Constitution may soon be dusted off for the first time before the state Supreme Court, with the fate of millions of dollars in state funding to religious organizations hanging in the balance.


News Release:  Governor Crist Unveils Public-Private Partnership Between Microsoft and Florida to Boost Digital Literacy

Microsoft to provide no-cost training, certification exams through the Microsoft Elevate America program

Continuing his commitment to strengthening Florida’s workforce, Governor Charlie Crist today announced a new, major public-private partnership between Microsoft and the State of Florida to provide free technology training to individuals across the state.


European Union slams Obama reinsurance tax plans as ‘protectionist’

Bermuda reinsurers have a powerful backer in their battle against proposed US tax changes that could be harmful to the Island’s biggest industry – the European Union.


Texas jury awards $24M in hurricane repair lawsuit

A jury awarded a Houston insurance repair company $24 million in damages stemming from a contract to restore four Galveston apartment complexes damaged by Hurricane Ike.


Louisiana insurance measure is dropped

A bill that would have protected the state’s property insurer of last resort from penalties for adjusting or paying claims too slowly is dead, the bill’s author, Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, said Friday.


Iowa Supreme Court Rules Property Owners Can Sue State Over Floods

Residents and businesses in a northeast Iowa town can sue the state for flood damage caused by a highway project, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled last Friday.


Colorado Governor Signs Law Changing Contractors’ Liability Rules

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter has signed into law a bill changing retroactively the duty of insurers to defend contractor professionals in construction liability cases.


Montana Claims Rule Stands As Supreme Court Declines to Review

A Montana insurance rule that makes it more difficult for companies to deny claims will stand, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.


Flood Insurance Rates Cut for Property Owners Affected By Remapping

Property owners across the country fearing they may be forced to buy expensive flood insurance under a push to draw up new floodplain maps will catch a break by being offered the coverage at sharply lower rates for two years, a key lawmaker said.


Drywall report: China samples worst

A recent report published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is being cited as further proof that drywall imported from China between 2004 and 2006 emits higher levels of sulfur gases than domestic supplies.


Byrne Steps Down As Flagstone Chair; James Fills Spot 

Less than a week after announcing completion of a domicile change-from Bermuda to London-Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings, S.A. announced that co-founder Mark Byrne has decided to step down from his role as chairman of the board.


NAIC to Hold Financial Summit

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners will hold its 5th Financial Summit: 2010 Leadership Initiatives. This year’s conference will be held June 2 – 4, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida.


To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please send an e-mail to