DeSantis says no to vehicle exemption

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a measure Friday that would have increased the value of vehicles protected from legal claims in bankruptcy proceedings.

Lawmakers passed the measure (HB 265) during the legislative session that ended in March, but it was the third bill DeSantis has vetoed. It proposed increasing the exemption of debtors’ interests in motor vehicles from $1,000 to $5,000.

In a veto letter to Secretary of State Cord Byrd, DeSantis wrote the measure could incentivize people to seek bankruptcy protection.

“Although it may be time to consider increasing the outdated exemption amount, this increase should apply to all persons who can claim Florida exemptions, whether in or out of bankruptcy, so that people are not incentivized to file for bankruptcy, which has long-lasting, negative consequences for a person’s credit history,” DeSantis wrote.

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State law allows people seeking bankruptcy protection to exempt homesteaded property, regardless of value, from the claims of creditors. They also can seek protections on up to $1,000 in personal property, as well as the protection on the value of vehicles.

The personal property protection grows by $4,000 if the people do not get homestead protection. Lawmakers passed the bill without opposition. DeSantis also announced late Friday that he had signed eight bills from the session.

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