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Small business wants special session to take up workers’ compensation reform

in 2017 by

Proponents of a workers’ compensation fix would want the matter debated during next week’s special session of the Legislature. The National Federation of Independent Business was the first to issue a public call to that end. Florida director Bill Herrle released a letter to Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders, arguing, “Florida’s economic growth cannot wait until 2018.” The House and Senate debated, but could not agree, on how to prevent repeat of the 14.5 percent increase in workers’ compensation…

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New House workers’ comp amendments go tougher on attorney fees

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The House Commerce Committee will take up a workers’ compromise amendment package Thursday that takes a more aggressive approach to attorney fees than did previous versions of the legislation. The amendments to HB 7085 retain language allowing deviations from the statutory attorney fee schedule that link trial lawyer’s compensation to benefits secured through claims litigation. But it shrinks the maximum hourly fee from $250 in the existing language to $150. Such awards would be tied to customary fees charged by defense…

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AIF, Florida Chamber, other business groups join forces to oppose Senate tax proposal

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A bevy of business groups have joined forces in opposition to a Senate proposal to lower the tax commercial rents by eliminating a tax credit benefiting another industry. Eight of the state’s leading business organizations — including Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Florida United Business Association — sent a letter to Sen. Anitere Flores on Wednesday urging here to “support lowering the sales tax currently charged on all…

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AIF workers’ comp fix would make employees pay their own attorney fees

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Associated Industries of Florida released its fix for rising workers’ compensation rates Tuesday. The lobby’s proposed legislation would make injured employees responsible for their own attorney fees. The draft bill stipulates that “a claimant is responsible for payment of her or his own attorney fees” for litigation arising from a claim. “A judge of compensation claims may not award attorney fees payable by any carrier or employer,” the draft says. Compensation judges would have power to approve such fee agreements “as consistent…

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Capitol Reax: Tax cuts, certificates of need, whiskey and Wheaties, fracking

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Gov. Rick Scott proposed $618 million in tax cuts this week, which included four back to school holidays and reducing the commercial lease tax. “Governor Scott’s ‘Fighting for Florida’s Future’ tax package includes a number of cuts which will significantly support Florida’s retailers, including a reduction in the business rent tax, cutting the business tax and including an expanded back-to-school sales tax holiday among others. FRF is excited about what the Governor’s tax cut package will mean for growing Sunshine…

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Endorsement watch: National Right to Life, Sierra Club, Florida Retail Federation and others issue endorsements

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With just a few weeks until the election, organizations across the state are rolling out endorsements for state and federal candidates. — Neal Dunn has earned the support of the National Right to Life. The organization endorsed Dunn, a medical doctor, in his campaign for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District. “This endorsement reflects your commitment to strengthening a culture of life throughout the nation and in the U.S. Congress,” said David N. O’Steen, executive director, and Karen A. Cross, political director of…

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Bill Herrle: Worker’s comp hike hurts small biz

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NFIB/Florida Executive Director Bill Herrle on Wednesday criticized workers’ compensation insurers for pushing through a 14.5 percent rate increase this month. Herrle called the increase “massive” and said it would “undoubtedly hurt small businesses by threatening their ability to keep their doors open and employ Floridians.” The National Federation of Independent Business calls itself “the nation’s leading small-business advocacy group,” according to its website. State regulators approved a 14.5 percent increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums. The new rates, however, are lower than ones initially proposed by…

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