Powerful love coming in insurance coverage session. Pols indicted. Extra silencing faculties

Aerial footage shows a partially submerged home on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Matlacha, Fla. Hurricane Ian washed away part of a bridge in Matlacha, Fla., making the road to Pine Island impassable.

Aerial footage reveals {a partially} submerged dwelling on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Matlacha, Fla. Hurricane Ian washed away a part of a bridge in Matlacha, Fla., making the street to Pine Island impassable.


It’s Monday, Dec. 12, and here’s a positive signal the election season is over: Florida legislators return to Tallahassee as we speak with a plan to make lots of people sad.

Late Friday, legislators launched a tough-love set of insurance coverage and lawsuit reforms that, if handed, will ship plaintiffs’ attorneys scrambling, many householders confused, and maybe go away insurers relieved. It would create extra hurdles for roofers and contractors in an effort to make it extra inconvenient for fraudsters. Will probably be tougher to sue an insurance coverage firm for failing to promptly pay a declare or for low-balling a fee. Folks caught with Residents Property Insurance coverage, the insurer of final resort, will see their payments rise as they are going to be on the hook for purchasing a flood insurance coverage coverage. And should you personal a second dwelling in Florida, your insurance coverage coverage goes to value extra.


Will or not it’s sufficient? Florida’s property insurance coverage market is in free fall. Florida householders pay property insurance coverage charges which can be thrice the nationwide common. The legislative plan to resolve the state’s property insurance coverage woes is to require insurers to reply to claims sooner, make householders file claims sooner, cut back the incentives to sue insurers and provide a taxpayer-funded $1 billion bailout program for firms.

The bundle of proposals does embrace some new client protections. However it might even be just a few years too late to instantly stanch the rising value of house owners insurance coverage that has made Florida insurance policies the costliest within the nation.

Following 2017’s Hurricane Irma, Higher Keys residents met with Residents Property Insurance coverage Corp. workers in Key Largo to file claims. Residents has as soon as once more surpassed 1 million insurance policies statewide as of Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. Miami Herald file photograph

Enriching the execs: One merchandise not on the listing of reforms is the insurance coverage business’s shell firm system. As a result of the hurricane-prone state is excessive danger, lawmakers and regulators tried to draw traders with a system that permits Florida-based insurance coverage firms to create shell firms to siphon greater than 30% of the premium revenues.

However how a lot of Florida’s double-digit charge hikes have gone into enriching government salaries? Data present that at the same time as earnings shrank, insurers awarded thousands and thousands of {dollars} in inventory dividends to firm officers and administrators, and gave company executives compensation packages of between $9 million and $27 million.

Former U.S. Rep. David Rivera. PEDRO PORTAL pportal@miamiherald.com

Rivera’s newest prices: Former Miami Congressman David Rivera was arrested final week on federal felony prices, together with failing to register as a international agent for Venezuela, stemming from his $50 million consulting contract with the nation’s oil firm that supposedly aimed to enhance its tarnished picture in america. Rivera and his former Miami-Dade political guide, Esther Nuhfer, have been indicted on prices of cash laundering, conspiring to commit offenses in opposition to america and failing to register as international brokers whereas working for Venezuela’s oil subsidiary, PDV USA.


Florida state Rep. Joe Harding listens throughout a Native Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee listening to in a legislative session on Jan. 13, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. Harding has been indicted on prices he defrauded a mortgage program provided by the federal authorities to assist small companies in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, officers stated Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

State rep accused of fraud: Rep. Joe Harding, an Ocala Republican who was the chief sponsor of the “Parental Rights in Schooling Act,” also called the “don’t say homosexual” legislation, was indicted final week on prices of cash laundering and wire fraud. A federal grand jury stated he falsely used two inactive companies to defraud the Small Enterprise Administration to acquire greater than $150,000 in COVID-related loans.

At some point after being indicted, Harding introduced his resignation from Florida’s Home of Representatives. He stated in a press release that he had repaid “each penny” of the mortgage.

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Demonstrators protest contained in the Florida State Capitol, Monday, March 7, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida Home Republicans superior a invoice, dubbed by opponents because the “don’t say homosexual” invoice, to forbid discussions of sexual orientation and gender id in faculties, rejecting criticism from Democrats who stated the proposal demonizes LGBTQ individuals. Wilfredo Lee AP

Similar intercourse silencing: Faculty districts across the state may also be taught this week whether or not Florida’s Board of Schooling thinks they’re sufficiently finishing up the state’s Parental Rights in Schooling legislation. Though supporters defended the invoice and chastised the “don’t say homosexual” label, saying the invoice wasn’t supposed to out LGBTQ college students or harass transgender children, the Florida Division of Schooling has put 10 districts on discover suggesting their insurance policies “might not comport” with the brand new legislation.

Broward County Faculty Board superintendent Vickie L. Cartwright speaks throughout a gathering on the Kathleen C. Wright Administration Middle on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MATIAS J. OCNER mocner@miamiherald.com

Broward superintendent learns destiny this week: A conflicted Broward Faculty Board will resolve this week whether or not to maneuver ahead with firing Superintendent Vickie Cartwright or to rescind her termination. The assembly on Tuesday is the primary because the swearing-in ceremony of three new elected board members on Nov. 22. There are anticipated to be dueling motions: on one facet, Jeff Holness, the consultant for District 5 who simply joined the board after profitable his runoff election on Nov. 8, seems to need to maintain Cartwright whereas Chair Lori Alhadeff desires her eliminated.

A Florida Division of Schooling work group is creating coaching that college librarians and media specialists might be required to endure earlier than July 2023. Dreamstime TNS

Opening or closing minds? A state Division of Schooling work group is crafting coaching that every one school-library staff should use in deciding on books and different supplies. However tensions have simmered as a result of some members of the panel don’t consider its suggestions go far sufficient.

The group, which incorporates mother and father and faculty media specialists, was fashioned to hold out a part of a brand new legislation that requires faculty boards to undertake procedures that present for the “common elimination or discontinuance” of books from media facilities primarily based on elements equivalent to alignment with state tutorial requirements. Members of the conservative group Mothers for Liberty, nevertheless, say they need librarians to restrict what children are uncovered to, even suggesting they shouldn’t present supplies about how one can register to vote.

State freeway security chief Terry Rhodes – Florida Division of Freeway Security and Motor Autos

DeSantis group exits: As Gov. Ron DeSantis strikes right into a second time period as governor, two extra state company heads are stepping down from their posts. DeSantis introduced in a collection of tweets that Division of Financial Alternative Govt Director Dane Eagle and Florida Freeway Security and Motor Autos Govt Director Terry Rhodes are resigning from their jobs this month and in February, respectively. Company for Well being Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller introduced her resignation final month.

Ignoring Trump: Bloomberg reported that at a closed-door occasion for his marketing campaign donors in Miami on Sunday night time, DeSantis provided up a predictable evaluation of his victory, ignored his potential 2024 rival for president, Donald Trump, and thanked his donors.

Particular person of the Yr: Earlier than Time journal introduced its 2022 Particular person of the Yr was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, it launched a listing of 9 different contenders. They included Iranian protesters; Rep. Liz Cheney and Chinese language chief Xi Jinping; the U.S. Supreme Court docket; Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen; gun security advocates; MacKenzie Scott, the philanthropist and ex-wife of Jeff Bezos; Elon Musk; and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The annual title acknowledges the individual, group or concept that had the most important world affect, optimistic or adverse, in the course of the previous 12 months.

Fox Information media critic Howard Kurtz, who had steered Zelenskyy deserved the popularity however not DeSantis: “Let’s pause for a second, as a result of is DeSantis actually a front-runner in 2024?’’ Kurtz wrote. “Sure, he gained a near-landslide in Florida and has shrewdly made himself right into a nationwide determine, but it surely’s additionally attainable he gained’t run. Unlikely, however attainable.”

One other elections fraud case dies: A Miami choose has tossed out one other voter fraud case introduced by DeSantis’ elections police, the third case to collapse because the governor introduced the arrests. Circuit Choose Laura Anne Stuzin reached the identical conclusion as one other Miami choose did in a distinct voter’s case, saying that statewide prosecutors didn’t have the power to carry prices in opposition to Ronald Lee Miller.

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A U.S. Air Power Hercules C-130 airplane sits on the runway at Homestead Air Reserve. MARSHA HALPER MIAMI HERALD FILE

Invoice grounds Homestead airport: A protection funding invoice that handed the U.S. Home final week has a bonus for Miami-Dade environmental teams preventing a county push to carry civilian air service to Homestead Air Reserve Base. Laws backed by Miami Republicans, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Carlos Gimenez bans the bottom from approving agreements for personal air operators by way of the autumn of 2026. Assuming the language passes the U.S. Senate this week, the laws places a freeze on an issue that had environmental teams warning Homestead might change into a brand new cargo air hub round delicate marshlands and coastal Biscayne Bay.

Markenzy Lapointe, a prosecutor, is a Marine Corps veteran.

Miami’s new U.S. legal professional: Markenzy Lapointe was confirmed by the U.S. Senate final week because the U.S. legal professional for South Florida, making him the primary Haitian-American lawyer to serve within the area’s strongest federal legislation enforcement place. Lapointe, a former U.S. Marine and ex-federal prosecutor who was raised in Haiti and Miami, was nominated in September by President Joe Biden to fill the place, which is answerable for directing about 250 prosecutors in a district extending from Key West to Fort Pierce.

Biden desires Cuban prisoners launched: Biden issued a press release Friday calling on the Cuban authorities to launch a whole bunch of political prisoners detained final 12 months throughout a uncommon surge in protests throughout the nation. The Biden administration performed a complete evaluation of Cuba coverage after the protests befell. Coverage suggestions from that evaluation, together with permitting funding in personal Cuban companies and easing restrictions on remittances, are anticipated to be carried out by way of the tip of the 12 months.

Scholar mortgage confusion: Tens of millions of debtors have been wrongly knowledgeable that their scholar mortgage aid was accredited in an e-mail mishap, federal officers say. Between Nov. 22-23, 9 million scholar mortgage aid candidates obtained an e-mail with the topic line “Your Scholar Mortgage Debt Aid Software Has Been Accredited,” however that was incorrect, Insider reported. As an alternative, the candidates have been speculated to obtain an e-mail with the topic “Replace on Scholar Mortgage Debt Aid” informing them solely that their utility for forgiveness had been obtained.

U.S. District Choose Aileen M. Cannon

Court docket slams Florida choose in Trump case: In a scathing ruling, a federal appellate courtroom in Atlanta discovered U.S. District Choose Aileen Cannon had no authority to nominate an unbiased skilled to evaluation paperwork seized from former President Donald Trump. A 3-judge panel, all Republican appointees like Cannon, reversed her determination to call a “particular grasp” as a result of she had no authority to take action and successfully killed the case as authorized consultants think about a possible attraction unlikely to succeed.

donald trump golf
Donald Trump tees off at his Doral resort, in 2015. The resort has been closed by the coronavirus pandemic. CARL JUSTE MIAMI HERALD FILE 2015

Doral dishes Trump tax break: Doral metropolis commissioners held an emergency assembly final week to adjust to former President Donald Trump’s December deadline to simply accept his present of surrendering growth rights at his resort’s premiere golf course. The unanimous vote to approve Trump’s provide of a conservation easement for the 184-acre Blue Monster course was hailed by metropolis leaders as a historic win for open area in a municipality quick on parks. It additionally arms Trump a possible tax break whereas he continues to revenue from the profitable 18-hole course, referring to a sizzling matter for the 2024 presidential candidate days after a New York jury discovered his household enterprise responsible of tax fraud.

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Former state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, solutions questions from reporters in Could 2017 on the Capitol in Tallahassee. Scott Keeler Tampa Bay Instances

Latvala’s $four million retirement fund: What does a former state senator who has resigned in shame do with $four million in unused political committee funds? He spends it, near dwelling. Among the many makes use of Jack Latvala discovered: spending $2 million on 27 political committees, together with 9 that then employed his and his son’s marketing campaign providers agency, paying Chris Latvala’s agency $250,000 in month-to-month charges. And donating $565,000 to his son’s political committee.

Thanks for studying. Miami Herald Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Ellen Klas curates the Politics and Coverage within the Sunshine State e-newsletter. We admire our readers, and you probably have any concepts or recommendations, please drop me a observe at meklas@miamiherald.com.

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This story was initially printed December 12, 2022 2:08 AM.

Mary Ellen Klas is the state Capitol bureau chief for the Miami Herald, the place she covers authorities and politics and focuses on investigative and accountability reporting. In 2018-19, Mary Ellen was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard College. Please assist our work with a digital subscription. Join Mary Ellen’s e-newsletter Politics and Coverage within the Sunshine State. You’ll be able to attain her at meklas@miamiherald.com and on Twitter @MaryEllenKlas.
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