Issues of Interest

HURRICANES The Office of Insurance Regulation estimated insured losses from Hurricane Irma are over $6.55 billion, with almost 866,000 claims as of December 18th. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it would send $616 million from its community development block grant-disaster recovery program help. Governor Scott sent a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan on November 15th urging Congress to provide Florida with the funding and support of a disaster relief package for Florida agriculture, particularly the citrus industry; work for the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee project; and the federal share of Florida’s cost to provide critical services to Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria.

The Florida Department of Education estimates almost 10,000 students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enrolled in Florida public schools since Hurricanes Irma and Maria. A particular challenge is that many of the students do not speak English as a primary language.

The December 15th deadline for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act was extended to December 31st and various tax filings and payment deadlines that were originally due in September and October were extended to January 31, 2018. More details may be found here.

REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA In October, the Florida Elections Commission levied an $110,000 fine on the RPOF after the party turned in a campaign finance report 11 days late. The party appealed the decision saying it was an oversight and asked the Commission to waive the fine, which they did.