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Crist signs bill freezing Citizens insurance rates

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published June 12, 2007


TALLAHASSEE

A bill extending a rate freeze for customers of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and factoring in national profits when setting premiums for other insurance companies became law Monday with Gov. Charlie Crist's signature.

It also would prevent national property insurance companies from setting up Florida-only subsidiaries. Crist says that lets them seek higher rates by claiming they are losing money here even though making a profit nationally. It won't, though, affect companies that already have such subsidiaries.

PORT ST. LUCIE

Toddler dies after being in hot car

A 22-month-old girl died after being found in her parents' car under the hot sun, a sheriff's official said.

The girl's mother found her in a car parked outside her home at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, St. Lucie County sheriff's spokesman Robert Vega said. The girl's mother called authorities and rushed her into the shower to try to cool her down, Vega said.

"It appears she went in the vehicle without her parents' knowing, " Vega said.

Her parents, Rudy and Cherina Joseph, told authorities they were painting in the garage while their four children - ages 7, 6, 5 and 22 months - played outside.

OZELLO

Body found near gulf after distress call

Rescuers responding to a distress call found the body of a 39-year-old Gainesville man floating in a remote area of bayous and bays near the Gulf of Mexico.

Jesus Manuel Mezquita had told authorities his boat ran aground, possibly on an oyster bar near the tiny coastal community of Ozello, about 6 p.m. Sunday, Citrus County sheriff's officials said.

Search teams found Mezquita's boat and life vest about two hours later.

A Coast Guard helicopter then found Mezquita's body.