TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis wants to make navigating insurance claims more consumer friendly, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wants to fight hunger and Attorney General Ashley Moody wants better protections for seniors who are exploited.
While Florida’s three independently elected Cabinet members can’t sponsor or vote on bills, they hold important leadership roles in state government and each is working with lawmakers to pass legislation.
The Associated Press interviewed each of the Cabinet members to discuss their 2021 legislative priorities:
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER JIMMY PATRONIS
One of Patronis’s top priorities reflects an issue supported by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican legislative leaders: Passing a bill to shield businesses from lawsuits related to COVID-19.
“COVID-19 lawsuits are going to happen and people are going to have this sue and settle environment,” said Patronis, whose family owns a restaurant. “Do right by your employees and your costumers. Safety measures should be easy to understand. I just want to put people ahead of lawyers’ profits.
He’s also pushing for a law that would require companies to let consumers opt out of having their personal information sold to other companies. He said he was inspired by a California law that went into affect last year in that state. Nevada has a similar law.
“I said I want this in Florida. I want to protect people’s rights on their information so Big Tech can’t harvest it,” Patronis said. ”If California and Nevada can do it, by God, Florida can do it.”
He’s also working with lawmakers on a bill that would make several changes to insurance laws in an effort to protect consumers from fraud and a bevy of fees. Among other things, it would give 10 calendar days to cancel a claims adjuster contract without penalty, instead of the