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FJA Legislative Update: Session Week 2

Message from the Legislative Team

Click below to hear Interim Executive Director Paul Jess share a short address to FJA members regarding the progress of our 2017 Legislative agenda. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCx056oJGg]

Week 2 of the Legislative Session was a very active one for the Florida Justice Association lobbying team. We successfully beat back last-minute amendments supported by powerful Fortune 500 companies that would have ended carrier-paid attorneys’ fees in workers’ compensation and would have loosened liability laws regarding robot cars on our roads.\

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Mandatory Bodily Injury Legislation Filed

Sen. Tom Lee of Tampa and Rep. Erin Grall of Vero Beach have filed legislation to have Florida join 48 other states that require motorists to carry bodily injury insurance. The bodily injury requirement would replace the mandate that forces drivers to carry $10,000 in PIP coverage, whether they need it or not.

Florida’s auto insurance laws – with coverage set at 1970s rates – have inadequate financial responsibility requirements. As a result, residents and businesses needlessly pay millions of dollars a year in higher taxes and higher insurance premiums. Drivers and taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab for the treatment and care of victims of negligent drivers who are either uninsured or, more commonly, underinsured.

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Robot Cars Amendment to Delivery Drones Bill Defeated

Remember the milkman who delivered dairy products to your door? Now, legislation passed by the Senate Transportation Committee would clear the way for robots to make home deliveries.

“These would be essentially sidewalk drones. They operate autonomously on sidewalks. They are able to cross roads. They understand when people are interacting with them,” Sen. Brandes explained to the committee members saying the technology would solve the “first mile, last mile problem” in transportation regarding how to deliver products to consumers without having to use a traditional delivery vehicle.

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Key Workers’ Compensation Reform Legislation Set for Committee Action

Following a workshop on the issue last week, the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee this week is expected to vote on workers’ compensation reform.

The Florida Justice Association supports responsible reforms to provide statutory and rate reforms that return workers’ compensation back to its stated purpose: To help injured workers get healthy and back on the job.  establishing a more equitable framework for the state’s workers’ compensation system and a competitive and transparent rate-making system.

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FJA member Kim Syfrett prepares before a committee meeting at the Florida Capitol.
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Consideration of Prejudgment Interest Legislation Begins

The Florida Senate Rules Committee on Thursday began its consideration of legislation to allow for prejudgment interest on non-economic damages in tort cases. The proposal is similar to laws already on the books in 38 other states.

The Committee accepted an amendment from Sen. Tom Lee, of Tampa, that provides discretion to judges on when to award prejudgment interest in cases.

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