HB 9 – Relating to Damages
On Wednesday, January 29, HB 9 by Representative Tom Leek (R-Daytona Beach) was heard by the House Civil Justice Subcommittee and was reported favorable with 10 yeas and 4 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
A tort is a civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. The purpose of tort law is to fairly compensate a person harmed by another person's wrongful acts, whether intentional or negligent. In a negligence action in Florida, the compensation a plaintiff recovers is reduced to the extent the plaintiff or a third party contributed to the injury.
A healthy tort liability system benefits society, as a whole by compensating injured parties fairly, resolving disputes, and discouraging undesirable behavior. A flawed tort system generates exorbitant damages and unpredictability, causing:
- Increased economic costs and increased risks of doing business;
- Higher insurance premiums;
- Increased healthcare costs and declining availability of medical services; and
- Deterrence of economic development and job creation activities.
The bill modifies the damages recoverable in certain tort actions by requiring a jury to consider an estimated value of medical services based on an independent database reporting medical costs charged and paid. This ensures the jury does not rely solely on the amount billed by the provider of medical or health care services to determine damages.
HB 9 will now move to the House Commerce Committee.
AIF supports legislation that creates transparency and ensures accuracy in damages, thereby reducing the cost of insurance premiums for Florida businesses.
HB 7037 – Relating to Constitutional Amendments Proposed by Initiative
On Wednesday, January 29, HB 7037 by the House Judiciary Committee was heard by the House Appropriations Committee and was reported favorable with 20 yeas and 10 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.
The Florida Constitution is the charter of the liberties of Floridians. It may be amended only if the voters approve an amendment originating from the Legislature, the Constitution Revision Commission, the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, a constitutional convention, or a citizen initiative.
The bill modifies several aspects of the citizen initiative process to increase transparency, strengthen the integrity of the ballot, and reduce costs for the supervisors of elections. Specifically, the bill changes the deadline for gathering signatures, the Fiscal Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC) analysis process, the ballot language requirements, and the requirements for supervisors of elections.
HB 7037 will now move to the House State Affairs Committee.
AIF supports the measures contained in this bill to prevent interest groups’ circumvention of the legislature in revising Florida’s constitution.