Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Thursday, April 15

Apr 15, 2010



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


THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA:  House Panel Passes Souped Up Rate Bill

A proposal to lessen regulation to allow higher property insurance rates cleared its final House hurdle Wednesday and is on the way to the floor with backers hoping it may withstand a feared veto.


Tussle in Tallahassee over insurance rates control

Call it Round 3 between the Legislature and Gov. Charlie Crist.


Orlando-based St. James Insurance Group Re-Enters Commercial Lines

St. James Insurance Group, based in Orlando, Fla., has re-entered the commercial lines business after a five year absence.


Tampa-based American Integrity Insurance Company Pledges to Provide Coverage to Thousands of Northern Capital Insurance Policyholders

American Integrity Insurance Company, headquartered in Tampa, announced today that it will provide insurance coverage for thousands of Northern Capital Insurance Company’s policyholders.


Florida Senator Nelson: Chinese president promises to look into drywall problem

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said he pressured Chinese President Hu Jintao at a break on Tuesday from the Nuclear Security Summit on the issue of Chinese drywall.


Editorial:  Cheaper insurance for celebrities

Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Ron Klein, both Florida Democrats, introduced the Homeowners’ Defense Act. According to Mr. Klein, this proposal would “spread the risk” of natural disasters, which means mitigating his constituents’ risk by putting the rest of the country on the hook. The motive is clear, as Florida has a track record of racking up billions in damage from hurricanes. In 2004, Hurricane Charley caused $13 billion in destruction, and Hurricane Wilma’s price tag reached $20 billion the following year.


Editorial:  Insurance reforms harm Florida consumers

Within the last few days, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has announced that another Florida domestic homeowners insurer, Northern Capital Insurance Company, “is insolvent.” With that announcement, a dangerous and very troubling pattern is becoming clearer: Gov. Charlie Crist’s reforms of 2007 are failing and thousands of Florida homeowners are being harmed.


Florida FreedomWatch: McCarty’s Facts Are Suspect in Insurance Debate

I couldn’t agree more with Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty’s latest letter to the media asserting that facts – not mischaracterizations – should drive the public policy debate on Florida’s deteriorating property insurance market.


Bills designed to catch red-light runners advance in Florida Legislature

Bills that would set statewide parameters for use of high-tech cameras to catch red-light runners Wednesday won committee approval in both chambers of the Florida Legislature.


Editorial:  Car insurance–End the fraud in Florida

Rampant car insurance fraud is moving, like a tropical undergrowth, from South Florida to Central Florida, causing accidents, injuries and unnecessary increases in the car insurance rates of all Floridians.


Injured Workers’ Drug Costs Higher in Florida Than Other States

The payment per claim for prescription drugs used to treat injured workers in Florida was nearly 40 percent higher than in most study states, according to a new study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.


Slip-and-Fall Bill Signed by Crist

Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill Wednesday that will make it harder to win slip-and-fall lawsuits against Florida businesses.


GOP to move power for McCollum’s challenge of health-care law from one bill to another

Faced with a rules challenge from Democrats, Republican leaders in the House have agreed to strip a bill of amendment language added last week to give Attorney General Bill McCollum more ammunition to pursue his legal challenge of the new federal health-care law.


Judge to speed McCollum’s federal health care challenge

A federal judge intends to fast track a lawsuit by at least 18 states that seeks to overturn President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, he told attorneys Wednesday.


Florida shuts down Oakland Park pain clinic

Florida closed an Oakland Park pain clinic as part of a campaign against South Florida’s black market in painkillers.

Flexing new oversight powers, the Florida Department of Health has shut down an Oakland Park pain clinic for operating without the supervision of a full-time doctor, as required by law.


Gov. Crist vetoes teacher tenure bill

After weeks of protest and a deluge of messages, Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday vetoed a bill that would link teacher pay to student test scores and wipe out tenure for new teachers.


Florida Senate to vote on Indian gaming compact

The Florida Senate is set to vote on a new compact allowing the Seminole Indians to expand gambling at tribal casinos.


Crist’s utility-regulator nominees get tough questions; clear hurdle

The Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee gave a preliminary nod Wednesday to Gov. Charlie Crist’s two latest picks for the Public Service Commission, David Klement and Benjamin “Steve” Stevens.


Florida Chamber of Commerce Calls for Doubling of Florida Exports in Six Years

The Florida Chamber of Commerce announced today that it is pushing for Florida to double its exports in the next six years.


Judge blames feds, state environmental officials for delaying Everglades cleanup

“Glacial slowness” in imposing water pollution cleanup standards leaves Everglades restoration “rudderless,” according to a judge’s blistering ruling Wednesday that faults federal and state environmental officials for delays.


Florida Legislature targets utility users’ defender

They’re a small but powerful group of people in an office deep within the state government called the Office of Public Counsel, and for decades, they’ve been an independent champion of utility customers in Florida.


Editorial:  Three areas where the Florida Legislature needs to get moving

After the blatant examples of Public Service Commission staffers and commissioners being too cozy with the utilities they regulate, lawmakers should be addressing the situation directly.


Column:  Florida Legislature considers a ‘poison pill’ to nullify citizen petitions

I suppose there is no point in saying that the Legislature is doing something stinky. It sort of goes without saying.


Florida lawmakers aim to make sex offender laws uniform statewide

Trying to strengthen the patchwork of sex offender residency laws in Florida, the state House will vote Thursday to establish a 300-foot, 24-hour buffer zone around schools and places where children congregate.


Editorial:  Stop the legislative stonewalling

As the legislative session heads toward its final two weeks, state lawmakers are letting too many important issues slide into oblivion.


Former Gov. Bush: Still in charge at the Capitol?

Ease class-size limits – check. Cut corporate income taxes – check. End tenure for new teachers and link teacher raises to student performance – check (for now).


Rumor mill churns Crist’s party status

Another furor erupted Wednesday over whether Gov. Charlie Crist will run as an independent for the U.S. Senate. It happened when Crist and his campaign manager dismissed or refused to answer questions about the possibility, which the campaign flatly denied last week.


Surety bond for your service business?

Two of the main sectors that drive Florida’s economy are the construction industry and those classified as part of the service industry.


Bill Restoring Jobless Aid, Flood Insurance Clears Senate Hurdle

A measure that would restore lapsed jobless aid for hundreds of thousands of Americans and reauthorize the federal flood insurance program cleared a hurdle in the Senate Wednesday, clearing the way for passage later in the week.


Judge bars Texas insurance department from posting State Farm rate documents online

A state judge Thursday issued a temporary court order barring the Texas Department of Insurance from posting on its Web site certain relating to State Farm’s two recent rate increases for homeowners insurance.


Assurant plans $100M catastrophe bond launch

Assurant Inc. is planning to launch a $100 million catastrophe bond to cover a portion of its U.S. hurricane exposure, a market source confirmed Wednesday.


Key Mississippi Katrina ‘Wind v. Water’ Case Settled Out of Court

A Mississippi couple and the insurer they were suing over hurricane damage to their coastal home from Hurricane Katrina have settled their closely-watched case out of court. The terms were not disclosed.


Army Corps of Engineers Said to Err on Flooding Risk

An attempt by the Army Corps of Engineers to correct old data on water flows in the Mississippi may have led to underestimates of the current risk of flooding along the river, scientists argue in a new study.


Bill seen as roadblock to takeover of Fremont insurer

A bill wending its way through the Legislature aimed at protecting a small Insurance company from a hostile takeover will have a chilling effect on investment and job creation in the state, an opponent said today.


Blog:  Heartland Institute Analysts:  Dallas Morning News Missed the Point

Policy analysts at the Center for Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate, a project of The Heartland Institute, today sharply criticized a Dallas Morning News report about insurance company profitability.


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