Only 2 Fla. Lawmakers to Oppose Insurance Bill Out as Chairmen

January 25, 2007

The only Florida lawmakers to vote against a massive proposal to lower property insurance rates in Florida have relinquished chairmanships of two House committees.

Reps. Don Brown of DeFuniak Springs and Dennis Ross of Lakeland — both Republicans — were the chief architects of a bill passed last May that tried to shore up the insurance market by making it more palatable for insurers to sell policies in the state. However, property insurance rates continued to skyrocket.

The Legislature took a different approach when it met in special session this month. Rather than counting on the market to build up cash to pay claims in the event of future storms, members this time decided to count more on government and made more state backup coverage available to try to lower premiums.

Brown and Ross were the only two “no” votes against the plan passed Monday.

“In principle, I could not flip-flop from where I was last year,” Ross said.

Ross declined to say whether he was forced to resign as chairman of the Safety and Security Council for refusing to go along with the Legislature’s new direction, saying only that his move “speaks for itself.”

Brown didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

Brown resigned as chairman of the House Jobs and
Entrepreneurship Council, a mega-committee that oversees several
House committees, including the Insurance Committee.

He will continue to influence insurance issues, however. After his resignation, he was appointed chairman of the Insurance Committee and vice chairman of the Jobs and Entrepreneurship Council by House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Coral Gables.

The Safety and Security Council oversees several committees that are mostly involved with legal issues. Ross remains the council’s vice chairman.

Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, was named to head the Jobs and Entrepreneurship Council and Rep. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, becomes chairman of the Safety and Security Council.

Topics Legislation

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