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House version of PIP reform gets Scott endorsement

Gov. Rick Scott has long pushed for the Legislature to overhaul the state's no-fault auto insurance program, but until today he hadn't indicated which specific legislation he supports.

Scott is in favor of the House's proposal, a spokesman said, which would require people injured in auto accidents to be treated in an emergency room within 72 hours of the incident. House Bill 119 also caps attorneys fees and would no longer allow chiropractors or massage therapists to perform follow-up care.

The governor spoke during a news conference Wednesday afternoon that was hosted by a coalition of groups backing personal injury protection, or PIP, reform. Although there are several proposals between the House and the Senate attempting to do just that, several speakers and audience members made it clear that HB 119 is the legislation they are backing.

The governor's comments were less specific, though his staff later clarified his support. During the rally, he said concerned citizens should continue to push for PIP reform that eliminates scammers, reduces the influence of attorneys and ends fraud.

"This is the year," he said.

The Civl Justice Subcommitttee approved HB 119 along party lines Wednesday. The bill was also approved by the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee two weeks ago, but it has two more stops before it can reach the House floor.

Meanwhile, the Senate's proposal, backed by President Mike Haridopolos, has been assigned to committees but not yet slated for debate. Senate Bill 1860 does not cap attorneys fees but requires long-form accident reports and additional licensing of clinics to address fraud, as well as creates a statewide task force.

Posted by Tia Mitchell at 1:41:35 pm on January 25, 2012