Volume 4 Number 5
February 2, 2007
Today I personally toured the
damage left by tornados that struck Central Florida early Friday morning.
My heart goes out to the victims and it is truly tragic that residents in this
area faced a similar storm just a little over a month ago.
We each must do all
we can to make sure our families are prepared for disaster. Perhaps more
than any other state in recent years, Floridians have been forced to prepare for the worst. Here are some suggestions on how
Make sure your property
insurance coverage is enough to protect your family or your
business. Review your coverage annually and advise your agent of any
additions or upgrades to your home or business.
Make sure you understand
what your coverage includes. Too many of us do not read our
policies, and the worst time to learn what is covered and what is
not is when you need coverage.
Sit down with your family
and make a disaster plan. This needs to include placing important
documents in a waterproof container in a place where others know
where to find it, but also keeping copies in another location away
from your home or business. Agree on where to meet if your family
gets separated, and let someone else – a family or a friend who
lives somewhere else – know what your plans are.
While, unlike a hurricane,
there may be little or no warning that a tornado is coming, there
are steps we can take to prepare for disaster. Please take a moment
to reflect on the families and communities affected by last night’s
storm, and then do all you can to protect yourself.
TOURING STORM-HIT AREA, PROVIDES UPDATE ON SEARCH EFFORTS, LOCATION OF
CONSUMER ASSISTANCE SITES
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink, who
Friday afternoon toured the storm-ravaged Central Florida area with Governor
Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum, said search and rescue
crews are reporting they have completed a primary search of impacted areas
and are now conducting secondary searches.
CFO Sink also said that the Department of Financial Services, Division of
Consumer Services, is now traveling into the area to set up mobile consumer
assistance units in The Villages, Lady Lake, DeLand and Port Orange and
expects to have those operating by 8 a.m. Saturday, and will be open 8 a.m.
to 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The department’s storm hotline,
1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676) will remain in operation on Saturday and
Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“The damage is widespread and significant,” CFO Sink reported as she toured
the area. “But our department is geared up to respond to this kind of
devastation and we will be there for as long as it takes to make sure these
storm victims get the help they need.”
CFO SINK ANNOUNCES STORM LINE ACTIVATED, DFS AND STATE
FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE COORDINATING ASSISTANCE
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is urging Central
Florida residents whose homes or businesses were damaged overnight by
powerful storms to call the Department of Financial Services’ storm hotline
at 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676) if they have questions regarding steps to
take to immediately protect their homes or need help filing an insurance
The storm line was activated early this
morning after a powerful storm system suspected of spawning tornadoes struck
Sumter, Lake, Volusia, and Seminole counties and parts of Flagler County.
This is the second storm with tornadic winds to strike the area in two
“My heart is breaking for our citizens
in those counties,” said CFO Sink, who also serves as State Fire Marshal.
“We have resources available on the phone and on the ground and will do all
we can to help these residents and communities get back on their feet
CFO Sink is
urging all Floridians to stay tuned to weather announcements and heed any
warnings or watches that may be issued. CONTINUED
CFO SINK ENCOURAGES FLORIDIANS TO
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT (EITC)
An estimated 350,000 working Floridians believed to be eligible
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is urging Florida taxpayers to check
if they may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a special
federal tax credit for low-income working individuals and families.
Eligible Floridians could get back thousands of dollars in tax relief on
top of what they may already be claiming.
The EITC helps taxpayers whose incomes are below $38,348 for families
with two or more children, $34,001 for individuals with one child and
$14,120 for individuals who have no children.
“Every year, millions of dollars in tax relief are forfeited because
eligible Americans fail to claim their share of the Earned Income Tax
Credit,” said CFO Sink. “This is money that could be used to pay down
debt, make a down payment on a home, or open a college fund.
At the Cabinet meeting, Sink presented a resolution naming February 1,
2007, Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day in Florida.
CFO SINK ANNOUNCES FIRST MEETING OF
THE WINDSTORM MITIGATION STUDY COMMITTEE
In effort to expand and improve
hurricane mitigation efforts in Florida, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink
announced today that the legislatively-created Windstorm Mitigation Study
Committee will hold its first meeting on Thursday, February 8, 2007, from 9
a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 221 of the Senate Office Building in Tallahassee.
The committee was created as a result of
House Bill 1A, passed recently by the Florida Legislature during Special
Session. The committee is comprised of eight members, with two appointments
each from the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Senate President and
Speaker of the House. The committee is charged with analyzing short- and
long-term solutions and programs that address the need to immediately and
effectively mitigate homes in Florida.
A final committee report, including
legislative recommendations, is due to the Governor, Chief Financial
Officer, Insurance Commissioner, Senate President and Speaker of the House
by March 6, 2007. Floridians can learn more about the committee, its duties
and upcoming meetings at
http://www.MyFloridaCFO.com/WindstormMSC/. Floridians interested in hurricane
mitigation are encouraged to attend the meetings.
The first meeting of the Windstorm
Mitigation Study Committee will be held:
DATE: Thursday, February 8, 2007
TIME: 9:00 AM- 3:00 PM
LOCATION: Room 221, Senate Office Building
SINK ANNOUNCES DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink Wednesday announced
the appointment of Michael Carlson as her Director of Legislative Affairs,
effective February 8, 2007.
“I’m pleased to announce that Mr. Carlson has agreed to
lead our Legislative Affairs team,” said CFO Sink. “His legal experience
and knowledge of state government will be an asset to the Department of
Financial Services and the people of Florida.”
As Director of Legislative Affairs, Mr. Carlson will
promote the passage of legislative issues on behalf of the Chief Financial
Officer; effectively lobby the Legislature on issues pertaining to the
department; and provide assistance to legislators, their staff and
constituents on a number of financial and insurance-related issues.
Mr. Carlson joins the Department of Financial Services
from the House of Representatives, where he was the Staff Director for the
House Committee on Insurance. Mr. Carlson has also served as Staff
Director of the Economic Development, Trade and Banking Committee and as
Committee Attorney for the Committees on Education and Judiciary. He is a
graduate of Florida State University’s College of Law.
CFO ALEX SINK
OFFICE OF CABINET AFFAIRS
CABINET MET TUESDAY, JANUARY 30
Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink presented two
resolutions -- one in appreciation of retiring state employee Hamilton
“Buck” Oven, and one to help spread the word about the Earned Income Tax
Credit available to low-income workers through the IRS.
Read the Resolutions.
Buck was formally recognized for his many years of
service to the citizens of Florida. One of Buck’s many outstanding
accomplishments during his career was his personal effort to ensure the
certification of more than 25,000 megawatts of electrical generation,
representing more than 45 percent of Florida’s energy generation capacity.
He also administered the certification of more than eleven percent of
Florida’s electric transmission line capacity through the Power Plant Siting
Act. Members of Buck’s family looked on as he was recognized.
One of the CFO’s roles as a Cabinet Officer is to serve
as agency head of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. At
the January 30, 2007 Cabinet Meeting, the CFO voted on a variety of items
that ranged from approving the appointment of doctors to the DHSMV Medical
Advisory Board to adopting rules governing the suspension of driver licenses
for those convicted of DUI and the implementation of breath alcohol ignition
interlock devices, which are installed on vehicles for those convicted of
multiple DUI offenses.
CAPE CORAL HOMEOWNER FACES
A Cape Coral man is facing felony charges stemming from the suspicion that
he set his home on fire. The arrest, following an investigation by the State
Fire Marshal’s Office, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigation, found the man
had already cashed a $5,000 advance check from his homeowners insurance
policy at the time of the arrest.
“Arson is more than a financial crime, it is a violent crime that kills and
injures innocent citizens and firefighters every year,” said State Fire
Marshal Alex Sink, who also is Florida’s chief financial officer. “We will
take action against anyone we believe may have committed such a crime.”
Homeowner Carlos R Veloz-Lao told arson detectives that on December 9, 2006,
he was alone and cooking at his NE 20th Court home when a friend dropped by
and he went out to talk for about 30 minutes. It was after that, he told
detectives, that he saw the house on fire. Veloz-Lao could only provide the
first name of the friend and said he had no contact information.