Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Tuesday, February 23

Feb 23, 2010



Note:  Until the March 2, 2010 Florida legislative bill filing deadline, Capitol to Courthouse Headliners will provide a listing of insurance-related bills filed each day.  This listing will be located at the end of the news headlines.


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


Judge rules red-light cameras unconstitutional in Aventura

In a ruling that could have implications for other municipalities such as Collier County, a judge ruled Monday that the city of Aventura cannot use cameras to catch red-light runners.


Regulators charge South Florida travel agencies with licensing, insurance infractions

State regulators have charged five travel agencies, including one in Boynton Beach, with using unlicensed agents to sell bogus trip insurance policies through a now-defunct company never authorized to do business in Florida.


Pew Report: Florida Failing To Address Children’s Dental Health Crisis

One of Nine States to Receive an “F” grade

Florida is failing to ensure the dental health needs of its children, according to a report released by the Pew Center on the States.


Pill mills targeted at Palm Beach County drug abuse summit

After listening to legislators, lawmen and physicians talk Monday about the difficulties of policing “pill mills,” a mother shared the horror of burying her son after an overdose.


Mixed reviews for Florida Medicaid plan test

Foes say insurance companies reap savings by denying benefits.

Jessica Morton has switched to a new audiologist every year for the past three years.


Last-ditch effort carries high stakes for Florida patients

Few states have as much at stake in the health care fight as Florida, a state where one in five residents lacks any health coverage, where what coverage is available for the poor is breaking the bank, and where a large percentage of people – seniors – have government­-provided health care that they’re keen to protect.


Voters to fill Florida House District 58 seat today

Voters will elect a new representative for state House District 58 in a special general election today.


Blog:  Thrasher names six-member Republican Party of Florida ‘transition team’

State Sen. John Thrasher, elected chair of the Republican Party of Florida on Saturday, is wasting no time putting his imprint on the dissent-riven organization, still reeling from the bitter charges of financial mismanagement and arrogance surrounding the tenure of ex-chairman Jim Greer.


New Florida GOP chairman drops Senate elections post

Critics felt the senator could not be objective about voting matters.

Sen. John Thrasher has resigned as chairman of the Senate committee overseeing elections laws after being named chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.


Race to replace former Florida House speaker heats up

Sansom’s resignation forced the hands of Gov. Charlie Crist and Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning, who announced a special election primary would be held March 23, and then a special general election April 13.


Blog:  Dorworth Named House Republican Conference Leader

House Republicans Choose Leader for 2014-2016 Term

The Republican Party of Florida today announced that House Republicans have selected Representative Chris Dorworth (R-Lake Mary) as the leader of the Republican Conference for the 2014-2016 term.


Two quit Crist’s Senate team

In the latest sign of turbulence for Charlie Crist’s wounded U.S. Senate bid, key staffers are starting to leave the campaign.


As Florida lawmakers scramble to lower unemployment taxes, stimulus funds untapped

Last year, with unemployment heading higher and worries about the state’s ability to pay for unemployment benefits growing, business groups asked the Legislature to pass a temporary $650 million-a-year tax increase to buoy the fund that pays jobless Floridians.


Florida appliance rebate program coming

Florida consumers will have the chance this Earth Day to get money back for buying Energy Star qualified appliance.


Japanese Firm Lobbying to Build Florida High-Speed Rail

Several recent media reports out of Japan have noted that the Central Florida Japan Railway Co., known there as JR Tokai, is the first to announce it wants the contract to develop high-speed rail travel from Tampa to Orlando, and eventually to Miami.


Florida Senator Introduces Reverse Mortgage Bill

Florida Senator Mike Fasano recently introduced Senate Bill 1532 to provide specific requirements for reverse mortgage loans.


FDIC: Florida bank cuts reduce losses, loans

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported on Tuesday that Florida-based banks lost $288 million in the fourth quarter, improved from a $682 million loss in the third quarter.


Medical Malpractice Excluded from Health Insurers’ Antitrust Legislation

Free-standing legislation introduced by Reps. Betsy Markey of Colorado and Thomas Perriello of Virginia to amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act for health insurers no longer includes text to remove the limited antitrust exemption for medical professional liability insurance, according to trade groups representing property/casualty insurers.


Federal trial testimony lays out tolls of toxic drywall

The federal trial aimed at determining what is needed to fix homes with contaminated Chinese drywall wrapped up Monday, with homeowners outlining how the tainted material had changed their lives and scientists and engineers saying only broad and expensive work would make the homes liveable again.


Supreme Court declines to review retirement age rulings

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review, and thus let stand, lower-court rulings that a cash balance pension plan that defined “normal” retirement age as completion of five years of service is legal.


Louisiana: 60% of Tax Rebates from Insurance Assessments not Claimed

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has announced that nearly $59 million, or 60 percent of the available tax rebates available to property insurance consumers in his state went unclaimed last year.


NAIC Would Fight Obama Plan For U.S. Insurance Rate Regulation 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is ready to oppose any provisions in proposed health care reform legislation that would allow federal preemption of state insurance rate regulation, an official said.


BestWeek: 17 Candidates Vie for Four State Commissioner Races

The four states that will hold elections for state insurance commissioner in 2010 each have a unique political landscape, according to an exclusive election preview in BestWeek U.S./Canada.



Florida insurance-related bills filed on Tuesday, February 23, 2010:


SB 2300 Relating to Health Care Facilities by State Senator Thad Altman

Would redefine the term “accrediting organization” as used in specified provisions relating to hospitals and other licensed facilities to include other accrediting organizations that have been approved by the federal government for purposes of the Medicare program.  Would redefine the term “wholesale distribution” as it relates to the sale, purchase or trade of a prescription drug from certain eligible entities to a contract provider.  Effective Date:  July 1, 2010


SB 2280 Relating to Interstate Health Insurance Policies by State Senator Carey Baker

Would authorize solicitation and sale of interstate health insurance policies in this state by certain persons.  Would require such policies and policy applications to contain a certain notice and provide for application of certain provisions to certain insurers. Would exclude interstate health insurance policies from certain requirements and exempt such policies and applications from certain Florida Insurance Code provisions.  Effective Date:  July 1, 2010


SB 2278 Relating to Hospital Outpatient Services by State Senator Tony Hill

Would authorize the Agency for Health Care Administration to pay for hospital outpatient services provided to Medicaid recipients under the direction of a licensed advanced registered nurse practitioner. Would provide an exception to limits on payment for hospital outpatient services provided to Medicaid recipients for services provided in certain clinics.  Effective Date:  July 1, 2010


SB 2274 Relating to Governmental Retirement Systems by Senator Hill

Would clarify that specified provisions, relating to the actuarial soundness of retirement systems, apply to all public employee retirement systems and that the assets of a local retirement system may be invested like other public moneys available for investment by the State Board of Administration.  Effective Date:  July 1, 2010


SB 2272 Relating to Pain Management by State Senator Mike Fasano

Would require the Department of Health (“DOH”) and applicable boards within the DOH to approve a mandatory, continuing-education course for any practitioner who prescribes, administers or dispenses controlled substances that are listed in Schedule II, Schedule III or Schedule IV of Ch. 893, F.S. Would provide that pain-management clinics are business establishments subject to licensure by the DOH and provide requirements for the registration of pain-management clinics.  Effective Date:  July 1, 2010


HB 1231 Relating to State Employee Benefits by State Representatives Marlene O’Toole and Debbie Mayfield

Would provide for separate benefit plans and different levels of state contributions for employees exempt from career service and provide an exception for State University System employees.  Would require premium levels necessary for full funding of the state group health insurance program to specified requirements.  Effective Date:  July 1, 2010


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