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Claims Bills Await Gov’s Signature

March 21st, 2012 by flanews

Ten claims bills offering relief to Florida families injured by government carelessness await the governor’s signature. Governor Rick Scott is reviewing the bills. As Whitney Ray tells us, Scott wants to develop criteria to compensate people for their losses that’s fair to both the victim and taxpayers.

Governor Rick Scott has been in office through two legislative sessions, but this is the first year a claims bill has crossed his desk. He quickly signed the first one he received. A million dollars for an innocent man jailed for murder.

“My life was gone. I can’t do anything but look forward. I’m blessed and lucky to be here,” said William Dillon.

Last year the legislature failed to pass any legislation to compensate people injured by government neglect. This year lawmakers passed 11 bills worth more than 40 million dollars. Scott wants to take more time with the remaining bills.

Including 15 million dollars for Aaron Edwards, who was injured at birth and 10 million dollars for a man paralyzed by a speeding sheriff’s deputy. New to the process, Scott is trying to develop a plan to be fair to the victims and taxpayers.

“I think it’s fair that people should expect me to be consistent, to figure out what should the standard be,” said Scott.

Anxiously awaiting to see how the governor will act on the relief legislation are the parents of a murdered FSU students. Rachel Hoffman was killed during a botched drug sting conducted by Tallahassee police in 2008. State lawmakers approved a bill to pay her parents 2.4 million dollars.

“Rachel was very kind and loving and didn’t deserve to die,” said Rachel’s Father Irv Hoffamn.

A judge already awarded the family the money, which will be paid by the City of Tallahassee, but state law requires legislative approval for any settlement over 200-thousand dollars. In a claims case a judge sets the award and then the legislature can change the amount, but the governor can only sign or veto the bill. He has no authority to alter the amount.

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