TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 3, 2015) – The R Street Institute today congratulated Florida Gov. Rick Scott for signing H.B. 715, legislation that clarifies provisions of a key coastal preservation law initially proposed by R Street.

Sponsored by Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, the measure improves the 2013 law to restrict new policies Citizens Property Insurance Corp. can write in Florida’s riskiest and most environmentally sensitive coastal areas.

The bill stipulates that any structure built within a federally designated coastal wetland or seaward of the Coastal Construction Line after July 1, 2015 is not eligible for coverage under Citizens. Existing structures are exempt from this prohibition, unless their total square footage is subsequently increased by more than 25 percent

“We thank Rep. Raschein and Sen. Benacquisto for sponsoring this good piece of legislation, and commend Gov. Scott for signing it into law,” R Street Florida Director Christian Cámara said. “By doing so, Florida taxpayers never again will be forced to subsidize property insurance for new beachfront condos, vacation homes and other development along the state’s riskiest and most environmentally sensitive coastal areas. Those who choose to develop in these hazardous places despite the obvious risks should bear the full cost of doing so, not taxpayers.”

This concept, initially proposed by R Street in a January 2013 study titled “Coastal preservation through Citizens reform,” encourages smarter and more resilient development and prospectively reduces the amount of risk carried by Citizens, which will reduce the likelihood or severity of post-hurricane taxes to cover the state-run insurer’s future losses.

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