Personal Injury Protection fraud legislation among last batch of bills awaiting Governor Scott’s decision

May 3, 2012

The following article was published in The Florida Current on May 3, 2012:

PIP fraud legislation among last batch of bills awaiting Governor Scott decision

By Gray Rohrer

Legislation aimed at cracking down on personal injury protection (PIP) fraud is one of 36 bills Gov. Rick Scott is expected to take action on Friday. They are the last bills of the 2012 legislative session still sitting on Scott’s desk.

Scott pushed hard for HB 119, which maintains the mandatory $10,000 PIP coverage but limits non-emergency care after an auto accident to $2,500 and eliminates fee multipliers for attorneys in PIP cases, touting it as one of his top priorities. After intense lobbying from Scott’s office, the bill passed the Senate by a narrow 21-19 vote on the final day of the legislative session. Scott intends to sign the bill Friday at a ceremony in Jacksonville.

Besides the PIP bill, there were a few others in the last grouping of bills send to Scott that grabbed headlines:

*HB 503 is a streamlined environmental permitting bill that supporters said would help jumpstart the economy.  The bill faced early environmental opposition but that faded as objectionable issues were taken out.

After the session, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raised concerns that the bill would make it impossible to implement a court agreement in the Florida Keys dealing with development and endangered species. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also raised concerns that the bill would risk communities’ access to federal flood insurance but the federal agency later said its concerns were resolved.

*SB 268 would allow sponsorship of state greenways and trails, which supporters said is needed to raise money for maintenance of trails. Some outdoor enthusiasts led by the Florida Trail Association objected to allowing sponsorships of an unlimited number of trails with approval from state park officials.

*HB 941 would exempt workers’ compensation insurance companies from reporting and refunding excess profits.

The remaining bills are mostly local bills or public records exemptions.

So far, Scott has signed 230 bills (including the budget, which contains some line item vetoes), let two bills become law without his signature and vetoed 12 more.

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