14 Mar PIP Bill Passes in Florida Senate 22-17
In a last-ditch effort, the Florida Legislature gave Gov. Rick Scott one of his top priorities of the 2012 legislative session Friday night and changed the state’s no-fault auto insurance law.
The House was the first to take up the compromise bill on personal injury protection, which drivers are required to buy in Florida, and passed it on a party-line 80-34 vote.
Then the Senate started debating about 8 p.m. and at 9:25 p.m. voted 22-17 to pass the deal hammered out Thursday and Friday by lawmakers and industry lobbyists.
As insurance lobbyists watched from the Senate’s public gallery, Sen. Dennis Jones, a chiropractor, immediately tore into it, saying he was the only senator who has treated PIP patients.
“This is a very, very punitive bill,” Jones, R-Seminole, said of the compromise, which caps PIP payments for chiropractic treatment at $2,500. “You might have lower premiums because no treatment, no payment.”
But Senate Banking and Insurance Committee Chairman Garrett Richter, R-Naples, said, “We’ve got runaway attorney’s fees. We’ve got staged accidents…We have to eliminate fraud. We cannot be light on this,” he said.” This bill, this bill is the best effort that I’ve seen since this debate began.”