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My Florida C F O
Weekly eNewsletter from Florida's Chief Financial Officer

Dear Fellow Floridian:

April is Financial Literacy Month, and as I reflect on today’s economy, I can’t help but think about how dramatically the cost of living has changed in the past 20 years. In the 1990s, we were paying roughly $2.15 for a gallon of milk and $1.09 for a gallon of gas. Within the last couple of decades the cost of these items and many other daily staples has dramatically increased. We currently live in an economic time where many struggle to find a way to do more with less.

That’s why it is more important than ever that we financially prepare the young people of Florida before they leave high school. If we want Florida’s future generations to know and understand the true value of money, then we must take action now.

I commend those in Florida’s leadership who have already taken a stand to recognize the importance of teaching personal financial literacy in our public high schools. There are currently only 13 states that require high school students to take a personal financial literacy course as a requirement for graduation.

Recent research conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education has proven that financial education influences behavior. Students who Your Money Mattersgraduate in a state that requires a personal financial literacy course are more likely to save, less likely to incur high credit card debt, and more likely to take better financial risks as young adults.

If you want to improve your own bottom line, visit my Your Money Matters website at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/YMM, where you will find financial resources for Floridians of all ages. It’s never too late to reassess your finances and create a better financial future for yourself and your family.

Together let’s bring Florida into the forefront of the financial education movement.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Jacksonville Business Journal: Florida ranks No.1 for innovation

Tampa Bay Times: Florida home sales, prices rise, continuing rebound

Florida Today: Florida becomes 4th state to sue BP over gulf spill

Bradenton Herald: Former Google CEO shares vision in tech treatise

Florida Times-Union: JaxPort board selects Miami port's deputy director as new CEO

Florida Times-Union Forbes: Jacksonville third-best city in the country for finding a job

Orlando Business Journal: Florida ranks sixth for best business tax system in U.S.

Legislative Agenda

There is one week remaining in the 60-day Legislative Session.

The State Fire Marshal Regulatory Reform bill–SB 1410 by Sen. Simmons–passed the Senate on Thursday, April 25, and will go to the House in messages. HB 883 by Rep. Boyd is on the House Calendar and available for Special Order.

The Workers’ Comp Regulatory Reform bill–SB 860 by Sen. Galvano–is on Senate Special Order for Monday, April 29. HB 553 by Rep. Hager passed the House on April 17 and was received by the Senate on April 18.

The Holocaust bill passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously. It expands DFS' authority to identify and claim other sources of restitution for Holocaust survivors and their families, such as bank accounts, art and property. More than 12,000 survivors of the Holocaust and their families call Florida home. This bill is sponsored by Sen. Lee and Reps. Bileca and Rader.

SB 1150 by Senators Benacquisto and Brandes

Protecting taxpayer dollars through state contracting reforms: aimed at increasing accountability in state contracting. These will include provisions that strengthen laws regarding grant agreements, which make up 82 percent of contracted items in Florida, increase training for grant managers and negotiators and create a pre-execution review period for grants and contracts.

  • SB 1150–Passed Senate April 26, in Messages to House

SB 464 by Senator Flores and HB 263 by Representative Mayfield

Unclaimed Property Electronic Claims Process: authorizes the Department of Financial Services to adopt rules that allow an apparent owner of unclaimed property to submit a claim to the department electronically.

  • SB 464–Passed Legislature April 18; presented to the Governor on April 22, Governor must act by April 29
  • HB 263–Laid on Table; Refer to SB 464

SB 422 by Senator Benacquisto and HB 301 by Representative Mayfield

The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act: requires that an individual or group insurance policy or contract or a health maintenance contract that provides coverage for cancer treatment medications provide coverage for orally administered cancer treatment medications on a basis no less favorable than that required by the policy or contract for intravenously administered or injected cancer treatment medications. The legislation also prohibits insurers, health maintenance organizations, and certain other entities from engaging in specified actions to avoid compliance with this act.

  • SB 422–Passed Senate April 4, in Messages to House
  • HB 301–Placed on House Calendar, available for Special Order

SB 860 by Senator Galvano and HB 553 by Representative Hager

Workers' Comp Regulatory Reform: revises the duties of state agencies covered by the state risk management program with respect to funding costs for employees entitled to workers’ compensation benefits; revises immunity from liability standards for employers and employees using a help supply services company; revises and deletes penalties for noncompliance relating to duty of employer upon receipt of notice of injury or death; and deletes a requirement that a provision that is mutually agreed upon in any collective bargaining agreement be filed with the Department of Financial Services.

  • SB 860–Placed on Senate Special Order Calendar for April 29
  • HB 553–Passed House April 17; Messaged to Senate & received by Senate April 18

SB 1410 by Senator Simmons and HB 883 by Representative Boyd

State Fire Marshal Regulatory Reform: Fire Safety and Prevention; revising and clarifying provisions relating to the authority of the State Fire Marshal.

  • SB 1410–Passed Senate April 25, in Messages to House
  • HB 883–Placed on House Calendar, available for Special Order

Florida's Bottom Line Shows Transparency

Florida's Bottom LineTechnology has revolutionized government accountability by enabling the public to have unprecedented and easy access to government data.

Florida has taken advantage of this opportunity by publishing state spending data online. Whether taxpayers are looking for information about past budgets, proposals for this year’s budget, or the state’s payroll, it can all be accessed via the Internet. Additionally, since 72 percent of the state’s budget is spent in the form of a contract, it is critical that taxpayers can inspect public contracts.

The Department of Financial Services began publishing the details of contracts online last year through the Florida Accountability Contract Tracking System (FACTS), and you can use this tool to take a critical look. Because of this commitment over the past two years to increasing accountability and transparency in government for Florida taxpayers, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) gave Florida an A-minus this year for overall transparency based on the DFS Transparency Florida website, which houses FACTS.

In this edition of Florida’s Bottom Line, you will also find information about ongoing efforts to continue making government in Florida more open and ethical. This includes articles from Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford, who discuss their initiatives on page 8. Additionally, the Florida Foundation for Government Accountability and the First Amendment Foundation provide commentary on how Florida can continue improving in the future.

Got an Insurance Claims Story to Share?

Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate and the Division of Consumer Services invite you to an Insurance Consumer Forum to share your experiences and voice your concerns with the homeowners insurance claim handling process in Florida. Insurance Consumer Forums

Both the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s office and the Division of Consumer Services work with consumers daily via Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s toll-free Helpline at 877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) to find solutions to insurance claim issues. Policyholders’ testimonies gathered during the workshops will be used to push for improvements to the insurance claim handling process.

For more information please visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Consumers, call 877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) or visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/ICA.

Printable Forum Flyer

Forums scheduled in May:

MAY22WEST PALM BEACH 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches
3200 N Military Trail, Suite 102, Boca Raton, FL 33431

MAY22FT. LAUDERDALE/BROWARD 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors East
1765 NE 26th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305

MAY23MIAMI/DADE 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Miami Association of Realtors®
700 S. Royal Poinciana Blvd, Suite 400, Miami, FL 33166

MAY23FT. MYERS 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Realtor® Assn. of Greater Ft. Myers and the Beach
4081 Center Pointe Dr, Ft. Myers, FL 33916