Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Tuesday, May 5

May 5, 2009

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Crist says he’ll sign bill increasing Citizens property insurance rates

Gov. Charlie Crist says he’ll sign legislation that increases property insurance rates by 10 percent on more than 1 million customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp.


Lawmakers allow insurance hike

Gov. Charlie Crist and state lawmakers have spent more than two years trying to hold down Florida’s property insurance rates.  Now that’s changed.


Discovery of ancient artifacts stalls $15 million flood project in North Florida

An archeological find that includes several human teeth, bone fragments and tools — some up to 5,000 years old — has put the highly anticipated Lake Lawton on hold, again; the $15 million project to flood 7,000 acres and add new levees, structures and flow-ways is stalled indefinitely as federal officials negotiate with the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes over how to proceed.


Broward County mayor: Legislators torpedoed Chinese drywall aid

Efforts to expand health testing and limit builder liability related to Chinese drywall got torpedoed this legislative session, Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter told a group of homeowners, building contractors, real estate agents and bankers Monday.


EPA taking defective drywall issue seriously, feds tell Crist

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has outlined to Gov. Charlie Crist its plans to investigate defective drywall, including ongoing analysis of drywall samples sent from Florida and work to develop an indoor sampling plan.


Florida Insurance Broker Can’t Take It Any Longer

To quote our very own Insurance Commissioner: “I must also finally break down and respond to some of the more recent articles.


Florida reader: Spread risk, premiums

USA Today’s editorial on Florida insurance seemed to presuppose that insurance risks are to be covered by the people exposed to a disaster, such as a hurricane in Florida.


NAMIC Commends Florida Legislature for More Realistic Approach to Insurance Rates

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) Monday issued the following statement in response to Florida’s adjournment of its regular 2009 session.


WellCare to pay $80 million to Florida Medicaid, Healthy Kids

WellCare Health Plans agreed to pay $80 million as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida.


Editorial: Free health coverage unhealthy for Florida, local budgets

Politicians aren’t serious about savings as long as workers who can afford it pay nothing for premiums

Amid layoffs and pay cuts in the private sector, and ever-rising medical costs, 26,000 top-level state employees continue to enjoy free health-care premiums.


Florida‘s Soto Honored with Top Insurance Agent Award

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers (the Big “I”) has awarded Alex Soto with the Woodworth Memorial Award, the highest honor the association bestows on one of its members.


Rubio to launch campaign for U.S. Senate

Former House Speaker Marco Rubio made it official early this morning — he’s running for the U.S. Senate.


Crist conjures specter of veto

With lawmakers almost done with their work for this year, Gov. Charlie Crist must now decide the fate of dozens of bills and spending items that will soon reach his desk.


House, Senate reach budget compromises; final vote to come Friday

House and Senate negotiators settled their final differences Monday morning over a $65 billion-plus spending plan only a few hours ahead of an extended deadline.


Florida Senate to offer ‘substantial’ gambling compromise

Gambling expansion for the Seminoles and parimutuels is unresolved as a Friday deadline looms.

The Legislature’s focus shifted to South Florida and its blackjack tables Monday as House and Senate leaders finished budget negotiations and started to address the major issue left undone: the gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe.


Editorial: Capitalizing on a crisis

Lawmakers would have you remember the 2009 legislative session this way: They did what they could to help Floridians, only, darn the luck, they were handcuffed by a bleak economy.


Double-dipping law could snare Florida’s secretary of state

Florida’s new “double-dipping” bill aimed at stopping government workers from drawing both a paycheck and a pension could force one of Gov. Charlie Crist’s top aides to step aside prematurely.


Fewest bills passed since at least ’98

In the 2009 session that hopefully concludes this week, 238 bills passed both the House and Senate.


Editorial: Financial deception persists in SBA

A culture of duplicity remains within the top ranks of the Florida State Board of Administration, the agency that oversees billions of dollars of investments for the state pension and other government agencies.


Space industry gets virtually nothing from Florida Legislature

For the first time in recent memory, backers of Florida’s space industry walked away from the two-month legislative session utterly empty-handed.


Offshore oil drilling bill has a future

Once a political taboo in Florida, prospects for offshore oil drilling have roared to a comeback with a secretive group forcing the issue into the center of political and public debate for months to come.


Buchanan endorses Greg Steube in Florida House race

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan has endorsed Greg Steube for election to the Florida House. Comprehensive plan to pay for disasters is needed

Devastating natural disasters are a fact of life that cannot be ignored; according to Allstate, nearly six in 10 Americans live in areas that are prone to hurricanes, earthquakes or other disasters.


More Actuarial Services May Head Offshore, Survey Finds

A survey of offshore firms that perform property-casualty insurance company functions finds they are expecting U.S. firms to send them more work providing first contact with claimants, as well as additional actuarial support.


Buffett says life insurers took “crazy” bets

Billionaire Warren Buffett on Sunday criticized some life insurers for taking on ‘crazy’ financial risks by selling variable annuities, or retirement products that promised unrealistic guarantees to buyers.


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