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President’s Message: Legislative Session 2021

We are once again preparing for fierce battles in the Florida Legislature during the upcoming 2021 legislative session. As we head into the 2021 session we are facing new challenges to ensure citizens’ protections while also fighting for responsible reopening amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, we will continue to fight to bring Florida in line with the 48 other states who have a responsibility-based auto insurance requirement, we must simultaneously struggle against insurance companies and other corporate special interests who want to skirt their responsibilities to their policyholders.

There is no limit to the bad ideas corporate lobbyists bring to Tallahassee and that find their way into legislative bills and amendments.

Here’s what you can do to help.

Help Identify Citizen Members!

The participation of citizens has empowered the FJA, and established it as an even more powerful force of change. Our citizen members have the strength of the FJA coalition behind them as they fight to promote safety and protect their families. There is no greater political and legislative force than citizens standing together and advocating for change.

You can help by identifying clients who might make good Citizen Members!

We have been fighting this battle for justice for many years. They’ve been successful, so far. But it’s getting more and more difficult. We need help from people who benefit from the laws for which we’ve advocated. People like you, who know firsthand how uncaring insurance companies and big corporations can be, and who understand how our laws can work to give the power back to the people of Florida.

Join an FJA Legislative Committee

Even if you can’t come to Tallahassee to help at the Capitol or can’t afford to be a major contributor to EAGLE or FJ PAC, you can help by joining an FJA legislative committee. In today’s modern legal arena there are so many specialties and sub-specialties in tort, consumer, and personal injury law. FJA legislative staff does an excellent job of looking for potential problems for your clients in legislative bills and amendments, but FJA staff cannot know all that you know about your practice and the needs of your clients. That’s why we rely on FJA legislative committees to review bills and amendments, and also to draft our own bills and amendments. If you would like to serve on an FJA legislative committee, please contact FJA Deputy Legislative Director Lynn McCartney at lmccartney@ myfja.org or (850) 521-1030.

The following is a list of current FJA legislative committees:

  • Auto Insurance
  • Autonomous Vehicles and Machinery
  • Cigarette Litigation
  • Construction Litigation
  • Consumer Law
  • General Insurance
  • Human Trafficking
  • Insurance Bad Faith
  • Limitations in Medical Damages
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home
  • Opiates
  • Property Insurance and Assignment of Benefits • Proposal for Settlement Revision
  • Rules and Statutes on Evidence and Procedure • Sovereign Immunity/Claims Bill Reform
  • Workers’ Compensation

Become an EAGLE® Member and Contribute to the Florida Justice PAC®

Our legislative program, including our legislative staff and contract lobbyists, is funded primarily through the EAGLE program. EAGLE members invest in the FJA above and beyond that of regular dues-paying members. EAGLE members are recognized by other FJA members as being the leaders of our profession. Please contact your local FJA EAGLE regional staff person to learn more about the benefits of EAGLE membership.

  • Southeast Florida – Rob Paulk (561) 376-3330
  • Tampa Bay and West Florida – Margie Peavler (813) 956-3153
  • Central and Northeast Florida – Elisha Charpentier (407) 496-1045
  • North Central Florida – Lydia Claire Brooks (850) 544-7382 • Northwest Florida – Lizzy Shane (850) 293-7358

Our FJA political program, including our political staff and consultants, is dependent on your investment in the Florida Justice PAC. The Florida Justice PAC not only provides political contributions to justice-friendly political candidates, but also funds the research, polling and field work that help guide the political decisions of the FJA. Having justice-friendly politicians in the Florida Legislature is critical to our success. The best way to facilitate the election of those candidates is by making political contributions directly to their campaigns or by your investment in the Florida Justice PAC. Please contact your FJA EAGLE regional staff person to learn more about the FJ PAC Pledge Bank program.

So please join us as we fight in Tallahassee and throughout Florida to keep your clients’ access to the courts and right to jury trial. Thank you for all you do for your clients and all Floridians; and thank you for being a member of the Florida Justice Association.

This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of the FJA Journal.

Eric Romano

Eric Romano is the FJA 2020-2021 president. Mr. Romano is a Florida board-certified criminal trial lawyer and partner at Romano Law Group, Eric Romano has been effectively representing clients in civil and criminal matters, including personal injury and wrongful death, criminal defense and commercial litigation, for 15 years. During his career, he has gone to verdict in more than 100 criminal and civil trials.

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