CLEARWATER, Florida (AP) - Two Tampa Bay-area legislators are proposing a bill to give Florida's homeowners relief from rising flood insurance premiums.

State Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Larry Ahern said Tuesday that the bill would allow private insurance companies to offer flood insurance policies to Florida homeowners.

The two Pinellas County legislators made the announcement during a news conference at the Pinellas Association of Realtors.

Last year, Congress passed legislation to put the national flood insurance program on sounder financial footing. The implementation of the law has sparked a chorus of complaints from people fearing spikes in premiums and plummeting home values.

Florida, and Pinellas County in particular, are heavily affected by the rate hikes because there's a significant number of homeowners living in homes located in low-lying areas.

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