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DeSantis signs two bills designed to bolster Florida homes against hurricanes

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(The Center Square) — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two new bills Wednesday intended to strengthen Florida homes against hurricanes and other severe weather events.

DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7028, which will add another $200 million in funding for the My Safe Florida Home Program which allows homes to be assessed after major storm events and assists in improving resilience in structures.

The second-term Republican governor also signed House Bill 1029, which is similar to SB 7028, but is currently a pilot program focused on condominiums.

“We recognize that we are in a tropical climate, we have different disturbances that can happen during hurricane season, and while we always hope for the best, we always prepare for the worst,” DeSantis said. “We wanna make sure that the folks throughout Florida have the tools that they need to be able to weather whatever storms may come their way.”

Almost $100 million has been invested into infrastructure projects in Florida’s rural areas, and $400 million has been distributed to help communities rebuild and strengthen their infrastructure after being hit by large storms, like Hurricane Ian in 2022.

“We’ve been very forward on that, we’ve also provided recond tax relief through the Homes Hardening Sales Tax holiday,” DeSantis said, adding that the sales tax holiday has saved Floridians half a billion dollars. “That suspended the sales tax on items such as impact resistant windows, doors, garage doors. That was approved in 2022 for a two-year period of time.”

The sales tax holiday lasts until the end of June, and DeSantis also noted another program that had been enacted in 2021, the Resilient Florida Grant Program. The program distributes grants to local communities to protect shorelines, waterways, reefs, and protect against the impacts of flooding, and storm surges.

“Over 300 grants statewide have been used to develop and update comprehensive assessments of existing needs in all 67 counties,” DeSantis said. “Over 350 local projects have assisted communities, protecting important infrastructure or assets such as emergency response facilities from the impacts of storm surge.”

Funding was appropriated for the replenishment of Florida’s beaches and dunes. DeSantis said that these are the first line of defense against large storms and has approved a further $50 million into maintaining and rebuilding beaches and dunes, part of a $550 million total that has been invested over the past five years.

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