Gov. DeSantis signs 2 property insurance bills into law

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law two property insurance measures — which were passed in this week’s legislative special session — his office announced in a release Thursday.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law two bills from this week’s special legislative session
  • The measures addressed property insurance and structure safety
  • They go into effect immediately

The release said the two bills from this week’s special legislative session on property insurance were part of a bundle that included eight other bills that were signed at the same time.

Among the other bills signed Thursday were a measure that addressed the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a measure that provided for education for student inmates, an adjustment to the charter school system and an addition to worker’s comp benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder. 

The special session acts allow for $150 million in matching grants for “home hardening,” and authorize $2 billion in additional funding for the state’s Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

In addition, they also prevent insurance companies from denying coverage of homes based solely on the age of the roof, which has been an ongoing issue in the state’s housing market. 

The Senate added language to one of the measures that would address the Surfside condo building collapse. The addition would require buildings that are three stories or higher to receive an inspection after 30 years, and called for an inspection every 10 years after that. The rule changes when a building is within three miles of a coastline — in that case, the inspections begin once the building reaches 25 years of age. 

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried called the continued use of special sessions by the Florida Legliislature a “disgrace.” 

“It’s a disgrace that Gov. DeSantis and Republicans in the Legislature spent all of regular session ignoring Florida’s real problems and creating fake ones to stoke culture wars, and now taxpayers have had to pay for multiple Special Sessions for legislators to complete some of the basic functions of their jobs,” she said.

“The legislation passed during this week’s special session to address property insurance falls short of providing immediate financial relief for Florida’s consumers and adequately protecting their homes and property,” Fried continued. “It also should not have taken almost a year after the Surfside tragedy for meaningful action on condo safety.” 

Fried is currently running for governor in the Democratic Primary, and if she receives the party’s nomination, she is likely to be running against DeSantis in November.

“We will never forget the pain, confusion, and sorrow the community and state felt when the Surfside condominium building collapsed and took 98 lives with it,” Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls said about the need to add more legislation regarding the matter. “The Florida Legislature has grappled with reaching a consensus on what meaningful reform looks like, but today we have arrived at an agreement that will help to ensure this kind of tragedy never happens again.”

“Notably, the Surfside legislation will include a House-championed reserve that is required to be fully funded by condominium owners and boards to ensure that repairs and maintenance can be covered, and not put off until it’s too late,” he said. “The victims, survivors and their families deserve reform with integrity and real impact, and that is and always has been our commitment to the people of Surfside and residents of Florida.”

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