Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Thursday, May 21

May 21, 2009

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


Fla. Senator Mike Bennett wants insurance chief to resign

Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, wrote Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty that lawmakers can no longer trust his word after he suggested to Gov. Charlie Crist that he veto a bill, which could result in higher property insurance rates for consumers who are willing to pay more.


Citizens Property insurance coverage to expire

Those with wind-only policies at Citizens Property must reapply

Thousands of Citizens Property Insurance customers have been notified that their policies are being discontinued, but they remain eligible for coverage from the state-backed company.


Insurance issues rise as storm season nears

Residents, business owners should insure for ‘replacement cost’

With the start of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season just 11 days away, now is the time for Gulf Breeze residents to review their homeowner property insurance and ensure that they have sufficient coverage.


Editorial: Tread carefully, governor

A bill now awaiting the signature of Gov. Charlie Crist would open up the state’s insurance market to all comers – at least those that were sufficiently capitalized.


Competitive Enterprise Institute: Florida flirting with fiscal hurricane disaster

When it announced last week that it would rely on the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund alone for its reinsurance, Florida Citizens Property Insurance Corporation placed an already financially troubled state in deeper fiscal peril.


Insurers Should Have Choice Of Regulator, Forbes says at AAMGA Annual Meeting in Florida

Magazine publisher and former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes on Wednesday told attendees of the 83rd annual meeting of the American Association of Managing General Agents that insurers should choose who will regulate them.


Fugate, Napolitano to tour Florida hurricane response centers

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate, who helmed Florida’s Division of Emergency Management before assuming his new role, will visit Florida on Friday to tour hurricane response centers and Miami Port operations with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton.


FEMA’s new trailers are snazzy, but are there enough for Florida?

Congressional leaders have raised concerns about the availability of temporary housing from FEMA housing stock as hurricane season approaches.

The new version of FEMA trailers may be available in hues of rose and peach, include cozy front porches and full-size kitchen cabinets, but the cosmetic touches can’t mask a question: Are there enough to dispatch to Florida in the event of a major hurricane?


Volusia city to start $10 million stormwater project in July

DeBary lands $7.5 million in FEMA funding

The city of DeBary will begin construction in July on a $10 million project designed to ease flooding problems, thanks to $7.5 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funding.


Local agencies offer training for preventing disaster on the water

From Gov. Charlie Crist to emergency personnel in 17 local agencies with waterfront responsibilities, National Boating Safety Week, May 16-22, was being taken very seriously at last week’s kickoff event in Lee County.


U.S. Senators request drywall funding for tests

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, along with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., filed a budget amendment Wednesday seeking $2 million in emergency funding for Chinese drywall testing.


Red light camera enforcement coming to Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is joining the many cities using video cameras to capture red-light runners at intersections; Tuesday night, city commissioners unanimously approved a law that sets out the details on how this will work, although the law still needs a final vote, in two weeks.


Two health insurance companies have ‘near-monopoly’ in Florida, reform activists say

A new report by activists backing President Barack Obama’s plan for health care reform says a few private health insurance companies have built “a near-monopoly” in Florida, burdening families and businesses with premiums that grew more than three times faster than wages from 2000 to 2007.


Florida‘s WellCare lays off 360

WellCare Health Plans’ termination of 360 employees, announced Wednesday, would seem to fall into the category of bad news. But not to Wall Street.


Governor Crist signs legislation encouraging economic growth

Governor Charlie Crist today, continuing his ongoing focus on strengthening Florida’s economy, signed four economic-development bills that will help create jobs, encourage economic growth and improve the standard of living for Florida’s families.


    State Senator Mike Fasano and State Representative Will Weatherford: Governor Crist has Signed Florida New Markets Development Program into Law

    Senator Mike Fasano and Representative Will Weatherford announce that Governor Charlie Crist has signed HB 485, which creates the Florida New Markets Development Program, into law today.


    Crist adds McCain to Senate endorsers

    Gov. Charlie Crist added to his roster of national endorsements for his U.S. Senate run today with the support of John McCain.


      Editorial: Bill stacks deck to favor developers

      Worried about how a development project might deplete the public water supply, destroy wetlands or alter a watershed?


      High court to rule on Gov. Crist’s rejection of court nominees

      Gov. Charlie Crist says his goal was a more diverse court system, but in a case before the Florida Supreme Court he is accused of violating the Constitution by rejecting all six candidates for a vacancy.


      Editorial: Budget reveals a broken system

      Finally, it appears, the shell game the Republican-led Florida Legislature has been playing with the state budget to avoid raising general taxes is coming back to haunt them.


      Three Republicans vying to succeed state Sen. Jeff Atwater

      Businessman Nick Loeb is challenging state Reps. Ellyn Bogdanoff, Carl Domino

      Three Republicans just jumped into the race for Florida Senate in Broward and Palm Beach counties, part of the continuing fallout from Gov. Charlie Crist’s decision to run for the U.S. Senate instead of seeking a second term.


      State Rep. Patterson says he’s likely to run for chief financial officer

      With the shakeup continuing in Florida politics, state Rep. Pat Patterson said Wednesday he likely will run in 2010 for state chief financial officer.


      Greer says GOP will remain neutral in primaries

      While insisting that he will “make no apologies” for taking sides in the race for governor, state GOP Chairman Jim Greer says the party is neutral in the U.S. Senate primary.


      Port Canaveral denied state cash

      CEO rips cuts made in the last minute

      When Florida’s lawmakers went into final negotiations over a pared-down $66.5 billion budget there was more than $8 million included to widen the entrance to Port Canaveral.


      Surplus insurance money should not be paid to policyholders, panel says

      A surplus of more than $75 million left in an insurance incentive program should not be distributed to homeowners as required by law, a Senate committee decided today.


      Louisiana Senate Bill Would Alter Insurer License Fee Discount Provisions

      The State of Louisiana currently allows for a reduction of insurer license fees if the payer files a sworn statement showing that, as of December 31 of the reporting period, certain admitted assets of the insurer were invested in qualifying Louisiana investments.


      Americas Insurance to Underwrite New Policies in Louisiana

      Americas Insurance Co., which took on nearly 1,000 homeowner policies that had been covered by Louisiana’s insurer of last resort, said it is entering the voluntary homeowners’ market.


      Texas House committee OKs windstorm insurance plan

      Windstorm insurance reform legislation suddenly got voted out of a House committee Wednesday after Gov. Rick Perry threatened to call a special session on June 2 if the bill does not pass.


      Texas Coastal Insurance Rates Could Rise if Federal Tax Law is Enacted

      As it girds for hurricane season, Texas has plenty to worry about. The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) – which provides coverage for high risk coastal properties – has ended up at the brink of insolvency paying Hurricane Ike claims.


      New York Times Editorial: Regulator Shopping

      The financial crisis had no single cause. But everyone knows that regulatory failure played a role and that one of the biggest mistakes was to allow “regulatory shopping” – in which banks and other financial firms were permitted to choose their own regulator.


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