Members of the Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee today voted 8-0 for a bill that would update the state’s annuity sales laws.

The bill, S.B. 2082, would define churning as a third-degree felony; make cases of churning that involve consumers ages 65 and older or consumers who suffer from mental incapacity second-degree felonies; and classify the practice of insurance agents submitting policy-related documents bearing fraudulent signatures to insurers as a third-degree felony.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Michael Bennett, R-Bradenton, Fla., also would require agents to warn consumers about any surrender charges that might result from proposed annuity transactions and to document why they believe that the annuity products they are recommending are suitable for the purchasers.

The bill still must get through the Florida Senate General Government Appropriations Committee before it can go to the Senate floor, officials say.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink put out a statement welcoming the banking committee vote on the bill.

“We need to deter and punish those who commit financially devastating crimes on Florida’s seniors,” Sink says in the statement.