Thursday, September 24, 2009

Senator Aronberg Calls on Lawmakers to Take Immediate Action to Help Defective Drywall Victims

From the Senate Dems:

Continuing his efforts to provide relief to homeowners devastated by the defective drywall crisis, State Senator Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres) on Thursday called upon Governor Charlie Crist to add the issue to any special session convened prior to the Legislature’s annual spring start date.

“Florida is at the epicenter of the defective drywall plague,” said Sen. Aronberg. “Florida’s families are being driven from their homes and the prices of homes are plunging even deeper into the ground.”

Since Sen. Aronberg first called for a task force to assess the issue in April, the State has investigated the causes of drywall deterioration and is currently synthesizing its data with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

But there has been no movement to convene a broad-based panel of experts as Senator Aronberg has recommended. And thus far, any action by the governor’s inter-agency group remains stalled pending the outcome of laboratory tests the state insists are needed prior to launching any meaningful remediation attempts.

“Understanding the science behind this issue is critical, but there is more to the solution than just test tubes and microscopes,” said Sen. Aronberg. “The Legislature has the ability to assist homeowners and businesses now.”

In anticipation of the special session being called, Sen. Aronberg is readying a bill to create a task force that would bring impacted parties and experts to the table to develop recommendations. That way, lawmakers can begin efforts to help afflicted residents immediately upon their return to Tallahassee for the 2010 legislative session.

“We need to hit the ground running. Floridians deserve a quick and uniform statewide approach that will reduce uncertainty and expensive and lengthy litigation.”

Under Senator Aronberg’s proposal, the task force would not only focus on critical issues such as remediation and prohibitions on the dangerous materials, but would also explore property tax and utility bill relief for homeowners caught in the middle of this crisis. The group would also work with lending institutions to encourage forbearance on mortgage payments.

“We cannot allow the credit of hard working Floridians to be destroyed through no fault of their own,” said Sen. Aronberg.

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