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Florida: 5 Things To Know For May 1

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

GOV. DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN PANHANDLE

Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in 26 counties in the Florida Panhandle and north Florida after storms left up to 20 inches of rain. One person was killed in Pensacola and there were reports of residents stranded in their homes.

LEGISLATURE PASSES INSURANCE CLAIMS BILL

Insurers could not use credit information to deny a claim or cancel a policy under a bill now headed to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott. The Florida House voted unanimously for a bill that would also create a “homeowner claims bill of rights” that requires insurers to spell out to homeowners what they can expect when they file a claim.

BILL CALLS FOR 1-YEAR PAUSE ON SCHOOL GRADES

Florida’s school grading system would be paused for a year under a bill now headed to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott. The Florida House on Wednesday voted 76-42 for the bill (SB 1642) that overhauls the state’s A-to-F school grading system. The legislation is backed by Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.

SPEED LIMIT BILL GOES TO FLORIDA GOV. SCOTT

Speed limits on Florida highways could be raised to 75 miles per hour under a bill that’s going to Gov. Rick Scott. The Florida House voted 58-56 on Wednesday to pass the bill, despite several lawmakers who said it would cause more deaths. That includes Democratic Rep. Irv Slosberg, whose daughter was killed in a car accident where speed was a factor.

FLORIDA BILL HIRING LAWYERS FOR FOSTER YOUTHS PASSES

Florida lawmakers have passed a bill requiring the state to provide attorneys to foster children with special needs. The Senate passed the bill (SB 972) Wednesday after unanimous support in the House last week. The bill recommends the state set aside $4.5 million to hire attorneys for roughly 1,400 foster youths. Some of the money will also fund expert witnesses.

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