Update: The program is now closed to new applicants, according to its website. Read Mahsa’s latest story.
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Monday was the start of a special legislative session in the Florida Capitol. Up for discussion was support for Israel, school vouchers and disaster relief.
Lawmakers are not directly touching on the property insurance crisis, but they are promising some relief. 8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi is taking a closer look at the legislation.
In recent years, we have seen multiple special sessions on property insurance. Each time, premiums have not gone down.
Now, state leaders say some Floridians could qualify for a $1,000 discount, but it will cost you.
Just days after Hamas’ surprise attack and in the midst of his presidential campaign, Gov. Ron DeSantis urged lawmakers to return to the Capitol.
“As we stand with Israel, we sanction Iran,” DeSantis said on Oct. 10.
On Monday, the Florida House and Senate kicked off the special legislative session with 94 year-old Holocaust survivor, David Shaecter.
“Not a day goes by without me reliving the horrors of my childhood,” said Mr. Shaecter. “I urge you all to stand with me and view the world from my eyes.”
Lawmakers formally expressed their support for Israel. They are blacklisting Florida companies with ties to Iran and setting aside $35 million to bolster security at Jewish schools, centers and synagogues.
In the wake of Hurricane Idalia, we heard emotional testimony from dairy and clam farmers in Cedar Key.
Joseph Cannon is the Vice Chair of the Cedar Key Aquaculture Association. He’s been a clam farmer for 25 years.
“We are at an 89 to 91% loss, devastation to the industry, that’s scary,” said Mr. Cannon.
Rod Land, a dairy farmer, also addressed lawmakers.
“Cows cannot take that kind of weather and produce milk,” said Mr. Land.
Senate Bill 2-C and House Bill 1-C propose increasing disaster funding and decreasing property and sales taxes.
But what about your property insurance bill? When is that going down?
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, appeared before the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy.
“The average participant in the My Safe Florida Home program is seeing their premium drop by $1,000 a year,” said Mr. Patronis.
State leaders are promising you a $1,000 savings. But only after you’ve shelled out more than $1,000 bucks to harden your home against storms.
It’s called the “My Safe Florida Home Program.”
If you qualify, you’ll get a free home inspection and the state will help foot the bill to upgrade your roof, doors and windows.
“It’s less of a risk, less likely we’ll be paying a claim,” said Mr. Patronis.
The program has been widely popular. Lawmakers are allocating an additional $176.2 million to address a backlog in applications.
“I think we get a lot of people complaining that we’re not doing enough but this is actually working,” said State Sen. Linda Stewart, a Democrat from Orlando.
The CFO’s office tells 8 On Your Side that more than 21,000 grants have been approved.
Right now, nearly 18,000 applications are waiting for approval but money has run out, that’s why the CFO supports increasing funding.
If you’d like to apply for the My Safe Florida Home program, visit its website.
Investigator Mahsa Saeidi will be tracking what happens with this bill on Thursday.
If you have a tip for Mahsa, email MSaeidi@WFLA.com