A Florida bill that aims to further limit injury and insurance litigation and attorney fees passed a state Senate committee Tuesday after heavy debate – but with few amendments at the opening day of the state’s 2023 legislative session.
Senate Bill 236, the companion to House Bill 837, a wide-ranging tort-reform bill, was approved by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee by a vote of 8-3, along party lines. The bill’s sponsor stressed that measure has received considerable input from all sides and is still evolving.
“We have seen in different media outlets… that this bill was signed, sealed, delivered and rubber-stamped,” said Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Palm Coast. “None of that is true.”
He added that he and other Senate leaders have met with stakeholders on both sides of the aisle, and are still in negotiations with House leaders on several key provisions, “as recently as 30 minutes ago.”
Hutson offered one amendment to the bill, which was approved by the committee, that changes the impact from retrospective to prospective on lawsuits stemming from negligence by property owners to take adequate security measures to prevent violence. Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach, argued that the bill’s original language could have affected civil settlements for families of students killed in the Parkland high school shooting in 2018.