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Florida Starts Price Gouging Hotline Amid State Of Emergency

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBSMiami/AP) — With parts of Florida in a state of emergency due to severe weather and flooding, Attorney General Pam Bondi started a  price gouging hotline for people in counties affected.

Bondi announced the hotline would be in operation starting Friday for Dixie, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Taylor counties. Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in those five counties.

Related: Evacuations Ordered For Some In Tampa Area As Heavy Rain Continues

State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities needed as a direct result of a declared emergency. The list includes food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline lumber and equipment.

Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations committed in a single 24-hour period.

Anyone who suspects price gouging can report it to Bondi's office by calling 1-866-966-7226.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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