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DeSantis Vetoes Proposed Changes To Auto Insurance Requirements

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NJ Tech Teacher
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Traffic in Miami, Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has refused to enact the state Legislature's proposed changes to car insurance.

On Tuesday night, DeSantis used his veto pen for a second time following this year's legislative session, rejecting four bills. Among them was SB 54, which would’ve done away with a long-standing requirement for all drivers to purchase $10,000 in personal injury protection. Instead, the measure would’ve required motorists to purchase up to $25,000 worth of death or bodily injury liability coverage.

In DeSantis' veto statement, he wrote the system "has flaws," but that the measure failed to address those issues. DeSantis also noted the bill "may have unintended consequences that would negatively impact both the market and consumers."

The measure passed with a large majority in both chambers. The Senate vote was 37-3. And the House approved it by 100-16.

Lawmakers in favor explained, during session, that the system needs updating.

"The question is: Are the current coverage levels sufficient?" said Sen. Danny Burgess (R-Zephryhills) during session. "We know that they are not and that this is what this bill seeks to address."

The changes wouldn't have applied to motorcyclists, who aren't required to purchase insurance.

The state’s current model is known as a “no-fault” system. It was developed in the 1960s and established in 1979. It allows for automatic medical coverage of the injured following a crash.

Among a dozen “no-fault” states, Florida is the only one that doesn't require drivers to purchase bodily injury coverage, according to the bill's analysis.

Now that the governor's vetoed the measure — it will head back to the Senate. The legislature could override the veto with a 2/3 majority vote in both chambers.

DeSantis also vetoed proposed changes to civics education and bills that would've allowed minors who've been arrested to have their records sealed and expunged following completion of a diversion program.

The governor previously vetoed a bill that would've put $1 billion in federal pandemic relief aid into the state's rainy-day fund for future disasters and emergencies. The federal government requires states to spend that money.

Altogether, DeSantis vetoed five of the 275 bills that passed in the legislature.

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.