Legislative Update
by Chip LaMarca

The 2024 Legislative Session is in full swing, and Team 100 is in Tallahassee to represent South Florida’s essential issues for this year. Some of the issues that we have discussed include The Yacht and Ship Brokers Act, The Department of Financial Services Agency Bill, as well as the My Safe Florida Home Program. As the main sponsor of the My Safe Florida Home Program, I am happy to see that it has been used by many Floridians. This legislative session is our opportunity to further improve opportunities and impact for our communities in South Florida.

As part of the My Safe Florida Home Program, this session we have focused on the importance of consumer protection in contractual liability and service agreements. Regarding contractual liability, if a service agreement is canceled, sales representatives and insurance agents must refund the unearned premium to the consumer, along with the pro-rata commission. Additionally, with support from the Department of Financial Services, we will be responsible for contracting authorized wind certification entities for hurricane mitigation inspections. These entities, which are publicly recorded, will enable eligible homes to access grants for specified improvements related to opening protection, exterior doors, roof connections, roof-deck attachments, and secondary water resistance barriers.

For the 2024-2025 fiscal year, we are proposing $100 million to be appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Financial Services to provide grants related to the implementation of mitigation grants, under the My Safe Florida Home Program. Furthermore, hurricane mitigation grants will be used by homeowners to make improvements to their property recommended by an inspection that will increase resistance to hurricane damage. These grants offer a two-to-one match of up to $10,000 to property owners making the investment into hardening their homes.

With attention to the coastal community of South Florida, and specifically our marine industries, one of this year’s main legislative priorities for me is HB 95 – Yacht and Ship Brokers Act. With an economic impact of over $24 billion that supports the boating capital of the world, this bill will improve the marine economic industry and the lives of all Floridians who enjoy our coastal scenery. HB 95 makes it easier for a person to obtain a license through education and sales. Moreover, the bill also updates the definition of a yacht to match federal standards, and also allows out-of-state brokers to work in our industry.

In this Legislative Session, I am proud to sponsor the Department of Financial Services agency bill again. This bill is important to Floridians because it will enhance the My Safe Florida Home Program, as well as many other consumer protection issues. It is gratifying to work on legislation with CFO Jimmy Patronis and his team to help protect the lives of all Floridians.

As always, it is an honor to serve you as your State Representative.