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District 13 Special Election: flood insurance rates

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HERNANDO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - The Senate has passed a bill Thursday to delay premium hikes for years on hundreds of thousands of homeowners who buy flood insurance from the federal government.

The 67-32 vote reflects widespread concern about changes enacted two years ago to shore up the program's finances. The changes are producing sky-high insurance rates that are unaffordable for many homeowners in flood-prone areas whose insurance has historically been subsidized by the government and other policyholders.

The bill was muscled through the Senate after angry constituents, the real estate and home builder lobbies inundated lawmakers with complaints.

Opponents of the bill say it unravels long-sought reforms of the flood insurance program, which has required numerous taxpayer bailouts and owes $24 billion to the Treasury Department as a result.

The premium hikes have been a topic of discussion in the Florida District 13 congressional race. 

David Jolly, the Republican nominee, sent out the following statement on the vote: 
"I applaud the Senate's action to delay the flood insurance crisis for Pinellas homeowners and ask the House to immediately pass this delay as well.  But delay is not enough - a bad law today is a bad law 4 years from now.  The time has come for comprehensive reform that homeowners can actually count on."

Alex Sink (D) also issued a statement, reading in part:  "The Senate bill is a good first step but we cannot continue to just kick the can down the road.  Pinellas residents deserve a long-term solution that holds FEMA accountable while providing for consumer affordability and increasing transparency."

CLICK THROUGH our slideshow to read each candidate's views on flood insurance.
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