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CFO Jimmy Patronis Highlights 2021 Legislative Victories for Floridians

4/30/2021

For Immediate Release: Friday, April 30, 2021
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842

CFO Jimmy Patronis Highlights 2021 Legislative Victories for Floridians
~ CFO Patronis applauds the passage of his top legislative priorities during the 2021 legislative session ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis released the following statement on the final day of the 2021 session on the passage of his top priorities including vital measures to protect Florida business and health care workers by passing COVID-19 liability protections, safeguarding Florida consumers, supporting firefighters and combating fraud. To view the CFO’s 2021 legislative successes, please click here.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Since day one, I’ve made it my priority to work alongside the Florida Legislature to pass vital measures to build a better, stronger Florida. During the first few weeks of session, lawmakers came together and fought for Florida businesses and health care workers and passed COVID-19 liability protections to ensure our economy can fully rebound from the pandemic. Now Floridians can continue to operate without the constant fear of open-ended liability. This year, I was also proud to champion vital consumer protections to combat rising insurance rates in Florida as well as curb the fraud epidemic facing our state. I have fought for these measures every year as your CFO to help ensure that bad actors do not come between consumers and their insurance claims so they can get back on their feet more quickly after a storm.
“This session we successfully fought for Florida’s firefighters and first responders to better protect them from cancer and the impacts of COVID-19. These heroes need all the support they can get from state leaders as they work to support our communities around the clock. There’s no doubt our first responders have risen to unprecedented challenges in the last year, and I cannot thank them enough for their tireless service to the State of Florida. I was also proud to stand with Governor Ron DeSantis as he signed House Bill 1 to protect Florida communities from violent protests, rioting and looting. Florida is a great state because we value the safety of our communities and the law enforcement professionals that sacrifice so much to protect us.
“The passage of our DFS Agency Bill bolsters the services provided by the Department, further empowers Florida consumers, protects victims of sexual harassment and safeguards Floridians from fraud and scams. As your CFO, I have worked every year to strengthen DFS’ fraud fighting capabilities and provide Florida’s firefighters with the tools and resources they need to keep themselves and our communities safe. Our agency bill bolsters the men and women in Florida’s fire service community in their battle against cancer, enhances our fight against fraudsters and bad actors and prevents sexual harassment victims from having their personal information exposed by the media.

“Thank you to all of our bill sponsors and legislators that backed these measures and went to bat for hard-working Floridians. As a former legislator myself, I know how difficult it can be to push good policy through to the finish line and you truly are heroes in my eyes.”
GET FLORIDA WORKING
Business Liability – CFO Jimmy Patronis supported legislation in the 2021 session to protect small businesses in Florida from frivolous litigation related to unfounded claims that someone contracted the coronavirus while in their business. This protection would shield business owners from Covid-19 lawsuits unless it can be proven that an owner didn’t take reasonable efforts to protect their employees/customers or were grossly negligent in creating exposure to COVID-19.
Health Care Liability Protections – CFO Jimmy Patronis supported legislation in the 2021 session to protect health care facilities including long-term care and assisted living facilities from frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19. For a year now, these health care heroes have been on the frontlines, battling the impacts of COVID-19 and fighting to protect Floridians all while working long hours and maintaining stringent health safety processes to protect our friends, loved ones, and our most vulnerable population – our seniors. They have fought through PPE shortages, and put their own lives on the line to protect our communities from this serious virus.
Thank you to Senator Jeffrey Brandes and Representative Lawrence McClure for your support.
Senate Bill 72 Signed into Law.
PROTECTING CONSUMERS

Disclosure of Foreign Ownership for State Vendors – CFO Jimmy Patronis supported legislation in the 2021 legislative session that safeguards public dollars. This proposal works to increase transparency and accountability of public grants and contracts, disclosure of foreign support for public entities, and protecting institutions of higher education. Among other provisions, all state agencies and political subdivisions are required to disclose all foreign donations and grants of $50,000 or more to the Department of Financial Services (DFS). DFS will provide transparency to this process by publishing disclosures on a public website and will also investigate allegations of violations of this law.

• Senate Bill 2010 (Senator Manny Diaz, Jr.)

• House Bill 7017 (Representative Erin Grall)

Protecting Insurance Policyholders – CFO Jimmy Patronis supported legislation in the 2021 legislative session to protect policyholders by making it a felony offense to assist in selling insurance without a license, expediting claims, empowering consumers with stronger public adjuster contract protections, and changing the Florida Insurance Code to ban insurance companies from having “Medicaid” or “Medicare” in their names.

• Senate Bill 1598 (Senator Joe Gruters) and Agency Package

• House Bill 717 (Representative Chuck Clemons) and Agency Package
Pushing Back Against Unsolicited Telemarketing - CFO Jimmy Patronis supported legislation in the 2021 legislative session to curb the epidemic of unsolicited telemarketing phone calls that plague the phone lines of Floridians on a daily basis. While some telemarketing tactics are legitimate, the practice is often associated with fraudulent activity, scams, and identity theft.

• Senate Bill 1120 (Senator Audrey Gibson)

• House Bill 1307 (Representative Mike Beltran)
 
FIGHTING FOR FIREFIGHTERS

Supporting Service to Communities – Allows certified volunteer firefighters to continue serving their communities while pursuing certification to become a career firefighter. Currently, if a volunteer firefighter enrolls in training to become a fulltime firefighter, they are barred from conducing any firefighting activity until their training is completed.
 
Fund Firefighter Cancer Coverage – Allows the State of Florida’s Risk Management Pool to provide cancer coverage to State of Florida firefighters. Currently, certain firefighters must have their out-of-pocket expenses covered for cancer treatment by their employers, but the state’s risk management pool isn’t allowed to cover the expenses. This will open up a huge sum of cash for covering cancer diagnoses, so state firefighters won’t get the run around because of associated costs.

• Senate Bill 1408 (Senator Danny Burgess)

• House Bill 1209 (Representative Elizabeth Fetterhoff)
 
Pandemic Protections – CFO Jimmy Patronis fought for resources to protect firefighters from infectious diseases. This will increase state funding for the Cancer Decontamination Grant Program, so even more local governments can partner with the State of Florida to buy lifesaving equipment that cleans equipment of cancer-causing substances and infectious diseases like COVID-19.
 
SUPPORTING LAW ENFORCEMENT

Standing with Law Enforcement and Supporting Safe Communities – During the 2021 Legislative Session, the CFO supported Governor DeSantis’ “Combatting Violence, Disorder Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act” and opposed cuts to the state budget that impact partnerships with local law enforcement. The CFO has also worked to oppose the anti-law enforcement culture that is being pushed throughout the nation and by certain elements of the Florida Legislature.
 
Thank you to Senator Danny Burgess and Representative Juan Fernandez-Barquin for your support.
House Bill 1 Signed into Law.
 
PROTECTING VICTIMS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Supporting Sexual Harassment Victims - CFO Jimmy Patronis supported legislation in the 2021 session that better protects victims of sexual harassment. The Legislation prohibits individuals working for entities covered by State Risk Management Trust Fund from engaging in retaliatory conduct against sexual harassment victims.

• Senate Bill 1408 (Senator Danny Burgess)

• House Bill 1209 (Representative Elizabeth Fetterhoff)
 
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About CFO Jimmy Patronis 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).