Volume 2 Number 17
April 25, 2005



So many Floridians are struggling with the recent tragedies involving sex offenders here in Florida, including the tragic abduction and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in Homosassa.  Citizens should know that their elected leaders are standing up for Florida's children.

I want to thank Senator Nancy Argenziano and Representative Charles Dean for their leadership in championing the Jessica Lunsford Act, which tightens penalties for sex offenders who prey on children.

This act would require 25-year minimum prison terms for people convicted of certain sex crimes against children and lifetime tracking by global positioning satellites once they've served their terms. Sex offenders currently back in the community who violate the conditions of their probation would have to go back to jail or be monitored by GPS. The bill also requires sex offenders to report to authorities in person twice a year.

The bill also improves Megan's Law, which requires sex offenders to list their home addresses in a public database. The new Florida measure will allow law enforcement to track an offender's every move.

Each year the Legislature takes action on several issues to improve the lives of Florida's 17 million residents, but I cannot think of any more important issue than the safeguarding of Florida's children. Despite the facts that our law enforcement personnel are second to none, and our laws dealing with sex offenders were some of the toughest in the nation, Senator Argenziano and Representative Dean recognized that our state could do more and got it done.  

As both a Cabinet member and the father of a six-year-old son, thank you, Senator Argenziano and Representative Dean, for your quick action on behalf of Florida's children.


Gadsden, Florida's fifth county, was formed in 1823. It once ran from Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Suwannee River to the Apalachicola River. Quincy, the county seat, was incorporated in 1828. The courthouse, above, was built in 1912.



CFO Gallagher presents "Cash in on your Money Smarts"  plaques to Andrew O'Bar, left, and Nathan Maxwell, right, of Stanton College Preparatory School in Jacksonville, Region.


CFO Gallagher presents the first place award in Region 3 to Katie Reynolds of H.B. Plant High School.



Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced the names of three students who were the top picks in Region 2 in the essay contest aimed at encouraging financial education among middle and high school students.  Gallagher presented checks to two of the students at their school in Jacksonville.

The contest, “Cash in on Your Money Smarts,” asked students, ages 14 to 18, to submit at least a 750-word essay on why they considered themselves money smart and offered students a chance at more than $7,500 in prizes statewide.  First, second and third place prizes will be awarded to teens in given geographic regions, for a total of 15 winners statewide.  Nearly 600 students participated this year.

“This essay contest was a great way to encourage Florida’s young people to show off their financial knowledge and writing skills, and reward them for it,” Gallagher said.  “Learning these valuable skills now will pave the way for a lifetime of financial success.”

Kimberly Thomas receives her third place check for Region 4 at William R. Boone High School in Orlando.


CFO Gallagher and Robert Buesing of H.B. Plant High School in Tampa with his third place plaque for Region 3.


Viatical and Life Settlements



Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher applauded lawmakers for approving legislation to better protect consumers from fraudulent viatical companies. The legislation, House Bill 1437, was unanimously approved by the House Commerce Committee. The bill would define viatical settlements as “securities” and place regulatory authority over this industry with the Office of Financial Regulation. 

Viatical settlement providers match those who want to sell their life insurance policies at a discount to investors willing to buy the rights to those policies.
“The House Commerce Committee has done the right thing in approving this measure,” said Gallagher.  “Far too many Floridians have lost their life savings for this measure to fail. I am pleased by the vote today and I encourage the full House and Senate to follow the lead of their colleagues, and approve this common sense legislation on behalf of all Floridians.”  CONTINUED




A baby left alone in a Starke home while the grandmother went next-door to make a phone call died after a grease fire in the kitchen spread throughout the home.

Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene and determined the fire started on the stovetop. The fire will be ruled accidental.
“This is a tragic example of how important it is to never leave a stove unattended – never,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher.  “My sympathy and prayers go out to the family.”
At approximately 5 p.m. Thursday, Bradford County firefighters responded to a reported trailer fire at 5230 N.W. 177th Ave. in Starke. Upon arrival, they found the home heavily involved in fire and was told that a child was still inside. Efforts to save the child were unsuccessful.  CONTINUED


Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Issues Subpoenas 

Florida Insurance Regulation Commissioner Kevin McCarty issued investigative subpoenas last week requesting information related to finite reinsurance activities in the insurance industry. 

Finite reinsurance is a form of reinsurance that through the use of various provisions limits the amount of risk, if any, actually being transferred from the ceding insurance company to the reinsurance company.  The improper use of finite reinsurance can hinder the ability of insurance regulators and the public to ascertain and assess the true financial condition of an insurer. 

Commissioner McCarty addressed the action as a clarification of financial questions that have arisen related to reinsurance transactions. Commissioner McCarty stated “consumers and regulators must be secure in the knowledge of an insurance company’s solvency.”    CONTINUED