FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two new pieces of legislation aimed at addressing the state’s property insurance woes and providing property tax relief to hurricane victims.
“I could not buy my executive power rebate (property taxes) and we needed the legislature to come in and so they have done that,” he said. “They have provided that permanent property tax relief for residential property that is been rendered uninhabitable due to these hurricanes.”
DeSantis added that piece of legislation would also see the state paying the difference to local governments dealing with storm recovery for any costs not covered by FEMA.
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“So this will free up local funds to undertake additional recovery and mitigation efforts,” the governor said.
DeSantis said legislation targeting the state’s property insurance market would create a more favorable market for insurance providers to do business.
“We took action to stabilize Florida’s long turbulent property insurance market and part of the problems that we’ve had in the state of Florida is we have 8% of property insurance claims, but we account for 80% of litigation costs in property insurance,” he said. “We have to create an environment where people want to come in and compete for your business. That’s the only way you’re going to ever have a stable situation.”
The law creates a $1 billion reinsurance fund, reduces litigation costs and forces some customers to leave a state-created insurer.
The governor was joined by Speaker of the House Paul Renner, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie for the signing in Fort Myers Beach.
DeSantis spoke from the Yucatan Beach Stand, a restaurant impacted by Hurricane Ian.
This comes one day after the governor signed a toll relief bill, giving back Florida commuters 50% of toll fees.
Following the signing, DeSantis also said that the legislature would be taking up a bill on the constitutional carry of guns during the normal legislative session. The change would allow legal firearm owners to conceal carry their guns without a carry permit.
“This was something that I’ve always supported,” he said. “The last few years, it was not necessarily a priority for the legislative leadership, but you know, we’ve been talking about it. (Renner) pledged publicly, and that’s moving forward, and it’d be something that will be done it in the regular session.”
According to the state, there are more than 2.6 million concealed carry permits issued in Florida — including 118,000 permits in Orange County alone.
Current Florida law requires a concealed carry permit issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing.
Last spring, Gov. DeSantis said he would sign constitutional carry into law before he leaves office, which would add Florida to the 25 states that already allow it.
“It will be something that will be done in the regular session, and that puts us in line now with the majority of the states who have done that,” he said. “And even states like Vermont and New Hampshire have been able to do that, so we will get that done.”
The new legislative session kicks off March 7.
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