May 21, 2022
  • May 21, 2022

Will Florida convene a special session on property insurance?

By on April 11, 2022 0

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Legislature is set to convene a special session aimed at addressing the state’s home insurance crisis.

State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, confirmed on Monday that it had formally obtained the necessary signatures from fellow lawmakers to advance a legislative maneuver that would force a special session.

“As of 1 p.m., within one business day of sending our letter, we received more than enough responses from lawmakers calling for a special session on property insurance,” said the the senator said in a tweet.

Brandes first spoke to 8 On Your Side last week about the maneuver he would try to secure a special session without Gov. Ron DeSantis or other legislative leaders. State law allows lawmakers to mandate a special session if 20 percent of lawmakers file conditions with the State Department that warrant it. If 20% file, the remaining lawmakers will be polled. A special session can be called if three-fifths of the legislature agrees to sign.

The signatures Brandes secured on Monday are just the first step — the 20% of the legislature needed to trigger a poll of every lawmaker in the Florida House and Senate. According to Brandes, the secretary of state must poll lawmakers within a week.

“And the good thing is that it’s a public document,” Brandes said last week. “Floridians will be able to see which House members and senators are with them and which are against them.”

During a stop in Tampa on Monday, Governor DeSantis told 8 On Your Side’s Mahsa Saeidi that he supports Senator Brandes’ decision to force a special session.

“I think it’s just a matter of — as you remember, it kind of fell apart at the end of the session,” DeSantis said. “So we just want to make sure that we have a product that will pass and that we can pass.”

Four property insurance bills were introduced during the regular legislative session to address the insurance crisis, but each failed. Hundreds of homeowners have contacted 8 On Your Side in recent weeks in panic after getting their annual home insurance rates. Some owners say they see rates double in a single year.

“We have to be honest with people, we’re in a big period of inflation, so all of that is going to go up,” DeSantis said. “But when it comes to property insurance in particular, we clearly have dysfunctions in that market that could be corrected.”

Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, was also at the governor’s press conference Monday morning and agreed the insurance crisis was “out of control.”

“We need to have a program that we can all agree on and that most importantly saves Floridians money,” Sen. Boyd said. “It’s out of control, we have to deal with it and we have to solve it for our constituents.”