Jimmy Patronis outlines 2022 ‘Born Free’ legislative agenda

by | Jan 12, 2022


With the 2022 Legislative Session underway, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis outlined his 2022 legislative agenda, which includes securing $10 million in funding for Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces (US&R), providing tax relief so Floridians can protect their homes and lower their insurance premiums, and continuing efforts aimed at protecting consumers.

“Florida’s strength is based on a love of freedom. We’ve got over 800 people a day flocking to our state because we have worked hard in Tallahassee to protect freedoms; not squash them. We’ve got blue lock-down states working hard to crush their economies, undermine law enforcement and fire firefighters over not taking the jab, while allowing big corporate businesses – with zero loyalty to our country – to treat Americans with complete indifference. We’ve also got an Administration on the federal level unlawfully using rules to try and turn the Sunshine State into a California or New York. We’re not having ANY of it, Patronis said. If you’re from Florida, or you’ve just arrived, as far as I’m concerned you were Born Free. It’s a blessing from our Creator, it’s something we cannot take for granted, and it’s something we’ll fight to protect in the 2022 Legislative Session.”

Patronis, who also doubles as the State Fire Marshal, highlighted his agenda on Wednesday — officially titled the 2022 “Born Free” legislative priorities — and dubbed the upcoming 60-day legislative session “The Year of the US&R” following Herculean efforts undertaken by various task forces during the Champlain Towers Condo Collapse in Surfside.

At the top of his to-do list, Patronis emphasized securing additional funding to support Florida’s US&R Task Forces, which are deployed to aid Southwest Florida communities that have been impacted by a natural or man-made disaster. The units played a monumental role in assisting with rescue operations following the collapse of Champlain Towers South, a 12-story beachfront condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside.

The CFO noted in a press release that funds include $3.9 million for eight US&R task forces and 40 Light Technical Rescue Teams. The funds would also provide for specialized equipment, training and exercises. The remaining $5.8 million would be invested for tractors, cargo trailers, trucks, forklifts, and utility vehicles to support life-saving US&R missions.

“This year, I aim to support our Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces as they support us through disasters like the Surfside Condo Collapse. These heroes cannot go another year without additional funding for the resources and equipment to further protect our communities,” Patronis said.

Aside from bolstering US&R task forces, the CFO’s agenda places the crosshairs on bad actors as he continues his mission to safeguard Floridians from scams. The CFO said he aims to put an end to negative option billing, a controversial business practice that creates undue hurdles on consumers who use their credit card for a subscription service they may not know they signed up for, while simultaneously cracking down on telemarketing calls which open the door to fraud. Additionally, he is also making efforts to crack down on fraud by increasing penalties on unlicensed public adjusters who break the law.

Patronis’ vision also revisits an annual battle in the Sunshine State, highlighting the importance of relieving crippling tax burdens placed on Florida homeowners and businesses. In particular, Patronis is pushing his Home Hardening Initiative proposal which seeks to provide vital tax exemption for retrofit improvements that benefits both homeowners and businesses. Patronis stated the innovative sales tax exemption will allow homeowners and businesses to harden structures against storms with retrofit improvements while keeping more money in their pockets from tax savings.

The CFO added that he will also take the fight to big tech oligarchies by protecting consumers and giving them the ability to opt-out of having their personal data harvested and sold by tech firms like Facebook and Google.

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