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Weekly Legislative Update from March 4, 2016

Legal & Judicial

SB 912- Relating to Fraudulent Activities Associated with Payment Systems
On Thursday, March 3rd, SB 912, relating to Fraudulent Activities Associated with Payment Systems, by Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) was read for a third time on the Senate floor and passed by a vote of 39 yeas to 0 nays.

This bill addresses “skimming” at gas stations, specifically at gas pumps themselves, which has become a significant issue in the state of Florida. “Skimmers” are typically found on the gas pumps themselves, disguised as the usual everyday credit card reader. Unbeknownst to the customer, their credit card information is stolen.

During recent investigations, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) has found that skimmed payment information is being used as part of elaborate fraud schemes to purchase hundreds of gallons of gas that is pumped into unapproved, hidden gas tanks in vans, SUVs, and trucks. Such gas is then usually resold by the criminals to independent truck drivers at a fraction of its usual cost.

SB 912 addresses fraudulent activity occurring at fuel stations by:

  • Increasing from a third degree felony (maximum penalty of 5 years in state prison) to a second degree felony (maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison) for the unlawful conveyance of fuel;
  • Requiring a retail petroleum fuel measuring device to have affixed to or installed onto the measuring device at least one security measure described in the bill and authorizing the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, under certain circumstances, to prohibit further use of the measuring device until a security measure is installed, replaced, or repaired; 
  • Indicating that possession of counterfeit cards is unlawful (not specified in current law); and
  • Increasing the offense severity level ranking for unlawful conveyance of fuel and trafficking in or possession of counterfeit credit cards.

This bill will now go to the House floor for consideration.

AIF supports this legislation due to it cracking down on theft from Florida retailers while also protecting Florida's consumers.

SB 562- Relating to Consumer Debt Collection
On Friday, March 4th, SB 562, relating to Consumer Debt Collection, by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) was read for a third time on the Senate floor and passed by a vote of 21 yeas to 17 nays.

SB 562 seeks to better define the parameters by which an attorney representing a debit or debtor must notify a creditor of their representation in order for that creditor to properly direct communications concerning the dead.

During today's committee, through the amendment process, there was some confusion as to whether the bill's scope would be expanded. However, the amendments which were adopted, actually narrow the application of the bill to situations in which an attorney communicates the representation to the creditor.

SB 562 will now go to the House floor for consideration.

AIF supports legislation that eliminates a current scam against Florida’s employers while also protecting legitimate debt collection processes by companies.