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House passes sweeping reforms to Department of Financial Services

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A bill making sweeping changes to the Department of Financial Services is heading to the Senate Thursday after passing the House floor 114 to 1.

In addition to rewriting a variety of regulations, HB 651, from Monticello Republican Rep. Halsey Beshears, also establishes or alters numerous DFS programs, reports LobbyTools.

Among the changes, the bill seeks to create a new grant program for volunteer fire departments as well as modifying firefighter licensure programs. Employees of state universities, special district, and water management districts would be able to participate in the Florida deferred compensation program.

Before passage, Beshears removed one requirement, a provision that would have allowed for the sale of commercial property insurance policies directly in surplus-lines markets without offering those policies in a more regulated “admitted carrier market.”

According to LobbyTools, the sole “no” vote came from Melbourne Beach Republican Rep. John Tobia.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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