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
Recent research conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education
has proven that financial education influences behavior. Students who
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
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
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
There is one week remaining in the 60-day Legislative
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
SB 464 by Senator Flores and HB 263 by Representative
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
- 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
- SB 1410–Passed Senate April 25, in Messages
- HB 883–Placed on House Calendar, available
for Special Order
Florida's Bottom Line Shows Transparency
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
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.
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
Printable Forum Flyer
Forums scheduled in May:
PALM BEACH 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches
3200 N Military Trail, Suite 102, Boca Raton, FL 33431
LAUDERDALE/BROWARD 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors East
1765 NE 26th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Miami Association of Realtors®
700 S. Royal Poinciana Blvd,
Suite 400, Miami, FL 33166
MYERS 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Realtor® Assn. of Greater Ft. Myers and the Beach
4081 Center Pointe Dr, Ft. Myers, FL 33916