Volume 4, Number 18, May 4, 2007
The 2007 Legislative session, my first, drew to a close today. What a truly exciting time to have been in Tallahassee! Lawmakers and citizens should be proud of many of the changes made this session and the bi-partisan way issues were addressed. A few of this sessions’ legislative victories included: increasing protections for Florida’s military from deceptive insurance practices, adding additional insurance experts to the Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate and improving the state’s My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program to make it more efficient, and able to reach out to more Florida homeowners.
I am sorry to see that critical legislative changes to the KidCare program did not pass. We will continue to work for affordable health care for all Floridians.
The Legislature will return in June to
address legislation to grant property tax relief to homeowners, and I am
hopeful that the additional time will allow for a well-thought-out and
long-lasting proposal. I look forward to working with lawmakers during
special session between June 12-22 and continuing to safeguard Floridians’
FLORIDIANS MUST BE CAUTIOUS OF WILDFIRE CONDITIONS
On the eve of Arson Awareness Week, May 6-12, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as State Fire Marshal, is calling on Floridians to take precautions with their property and promising aggressive action against anyone found responsible for arson. Floridians should be aware that the current extra-dry conditions are serving as fuel for wildfires across the state.
“Our landscape is extremely dry and vulnerable to forest fires,” said CFO Sink. “I am urging Floridians to take precautions to protect their families and homes, take steps to ensure they are practicing fire safety and to immediately report suspected arson.”
Geography, fuel sources, and weather all influence the spread of wildfire, but statistics show that trimming and cleaning vegetation and properly storing flammable materials as far as possible from your home can profoundly improve your home’s chances of surviving a wildfire. CFO Sink is urging Floridians to take the following precautions if their home is threatened by wildfire:
CFO SINK HONORS DECORATED MILITARY
RESERVIST, STATE REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL SCIONTI
CFO ALEX SINK CONGRATULATES LEGISLATURE FOR IMPROVING MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME PROGRAM
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink applauded the Legislature’s passage of HB 7057, which makes improvements to the state’s My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program. CFO Sink leads the department administering the program, the Department of Financial Services, and has been working with legislative leadership to make the program more efficient for Florida homeowners.
“The measures passed today by the Legislature will allow the My Safe Florida Home program to serve more Floridians and to boost our efforts to educate homeowners about the importance of mitigation,” said CFO Sink. “As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, I look forward to increasing awareness about the financial and safety benefits available to Floridians who take steps to harden their homes.”
HB 7057 was sponsored by State Representatives Anthony Trey Traveisa (R-Tampa), Michael Grant (R-Port Charlotte), Robert “Rob” Schenck (R-Spring Hill) and James “Jim” Waldman (D-Coconut Creek) and now heads to Governor Charlie Crist for his signature. State Senator Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) sponsored SB 2596, the Senate companion.
After being streamlined to provide better service and expanded statewide, the MSFH program in April resumed offering eligible Floridians free wind inspections. More than 50,000 homeowners are on the program’s waiting list and these homeowners should expect to be served by the end of the summer. Any Floridians on the waiting list who have not heard from a participating wind inspection firm by June 30, 2007, should contact the MSFH program’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-513-MSFH (6734).
New applicants can apply over the MSFH program’s Web site at www.MySafeFloridaHome.com or over the program’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-513-MSFH (6734), but should not expect to receive a free wind inspection before August 2007, as the more than 50,000 pilot phase applicants have first priority. However, Floridians who are not interested in participating in the MSFH program and are willing to pay the $150 fee for a wind inspection, can visit the Web site to learn how they can contact one of the MSFH program’s 11 wind inspection firms directly.
To date, the MSFH program has awarded nearly $200,000 to 88 Florida homeowners who hardened their homes against hurricanes through the MSFH program. The homeowners, who received free wind inspections during the pilot phase of the program, are being reimbursed for half the cost of a variety of home improvements, including hurricane shutters, reinforced garage doors and roof enhancements. More than 5,100 Floridians are currently working on mitigation improvements through the MSFH program and will receive their matching grants once the work has been completed.
The MSFH program helps Floridians identify how they can strengthen their homes and reduces the overall potential for hurricane damage in our state. In addition to providing education about how to better mitigate Florida homes, the program offers eligible homeowners free wind inspections by trained wind inspectors. Homeowners who have received these inspections also have the opportunity to apply for a matching grant to make recommended improvements.
CFO SINK APPOINTS FINANCIAL LITERACY COUNCIL
CFO SINK APPLAUDS
FLORIDA LEGISLATURE FOR INCREASING
PROTECTIONS FOR FLORIDA’S MILITARY
FROM DECEPTIVE INSURANCE PRACTICES
CFO SINK ENCOURAGING LEGISLATURE TO RESOLVE IMPASSE ON
STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE, TALLAHASSEE FIRE DEPARTMENT
TO CONDUCT MOCK VEHICLE ARSON INVESTIGATION
“BE PREPARED” BOY SCOUTS HOLDING CAMPOREE AT THE FLORIDA
STATE FIRE COLLEGE
DFS HOSTS STATE WORKERS' COMPENSATION
SEMINAR IN JACKSONVILLE
Consumer Services Helpline (800) 342-2762
Consumer eViews www.MyFloridaCFO.com/PressOffice/Newsletter/