Live from Florida’s Capital Buildings in Tallahassee

by Alan B. Garfinkel, Esq.

CAN along with groups representing community association interests continued its efforts this week in Tallahassee to impede the runaway train that is Senate Bill 736 (SB 736). Special thanks to extraordinary efforts by the (CEOMC) Chief Executive Officers of Management Companies; the (SCCA) Space Coast Communities Association; and (CAI’s FLA) the Community Association Institute’s Florida Legislative Alliance. 

Our previous CAN Alerts specified in detail what the proposed law is and specifically describes how it unfairly taxes folks that own property in community associations. To be clear, your assessments will increase if  SB 736 is passed and signed into law. Please  click here to review previous CAN Alerts for details on why  SB 736 will unfairly cause a special hidden tax just to community association property owners. 

CAN continued meeting with our elected Representatives and State Senators in Tallahassee assigned to the Regulated Industries Committee and members of their staffs. CAN was consistently informed that legislative offices are being inundated with your email messages and telephone calls against SB 736. Your messages are being received and beginning to cause very real impact against this poorly drafted proposed law. SB 736 was placed on this 2015 Legislative Session fast track by its Bill sponsors and Senate leadership expecting no opposition with high financial reward for the Senators supporting  SB 736. We must continue to inform our elected representatives, who work for us, at our pleasure, that it is not a win win; it’s a lose lose for all of us owning property in community associations, living in community associations or dedicating our lives to the interests of the approximately 60,000 Not-For-Profit Florida Community Associations and the millions of Floridians affected.

Our CAN Team met with Senator Braynon and Senator Bean, pleaded and explained why CAN remains passionately against SB 736. CAN also spoke with Senator Richter, Senator Diaz de la Portilla, Senator Bradley, and Senator Abruzzo staffers in Tallahassee. 

During the Senate Regulated Industries Committee meeting, broadcast live from our CAN website at www.CANFL.com, CAN and those in opposition to SB 736 coordinated efforts and testified to the devastating affects SB 736 will have if passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor on community associations and individual owners like you and me. 

We made a definite impact on the Senators on the Committee, including the Bill sponsor who stated in the Hearing that it was never her intention to have “community associations lose their ability to collect what is due to them if the time-frame isn’t met or if there is a mistake with the actual Estoppel certificate.” On Tuesday, Senator Diaz de la Portilla, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee stated that SB 736 would NOT be placed on the Agenda of the Judiciary Committee until all of the issues where fixed. (This great news was short lived).

Senator Stargel then promised at the hearing to work with those representing community associations to fix issues in SB 736  before the next Committee stop. Unfortunately, SB 736 passed the Regulated Industries Committee by a vote of 9 to 2. 

We thank Senators Abruzzo and Sachs for voting AGAINST this awful proposed law.

Promises, promises. Late yesterday afternoon, the Senate leadership placed SB 736 on the Agenda and SB 736 will indeed be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee this Tuesday April 7, 2015 at 4:00 pm. 

We need to ensure community associations receive justice in the Senate Judiciary Committee. We need your help again. Below is a listing of all the Senators in the Senate Judiciary Committee along with a brief email for you to send or edit. We also made it even easier for you to send to EVERY ONE of the State Senate Judiciary Committee Members by clicking here with just one (1) button.

 

Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (Committee Chair) 

Phone: 850-487-5040

Email: portilla.miguel@flsenate.gov

 

Senator Jeremy Ring (Vice Chair)

Phone: 850-487-5029

Email: ring.jeremy@flsenate.gov

 

Senate Aaron Bean

Phone: 850- 487-5004

Email: bean.aaron@flsenate.gov

 

Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto

Phone: 850-487-5030

Email: benacquisto.lizbeth@flsenate.gov

 

Senator Jeff Brandes

Phone: 850-487-5022

Email: brandes.jeff@flsenate.gov

 

Senator Arthenia Joyner

Phone: 850-487-5019

Email: joyner.arthenia@flsenate.gov

 

Senator David Simmons

Phone: 850-487-5010

Email: simmons.david@flsenate.gov

 

Senator Wilton Simpson

Phone: 850-487-5018

Email: simpson.wilton@flsenate.gov

 

Senator Darren Soto

Phone: 850-487-5014

Email: soto.darren@flsenate.gov

 

Senator Kelli Stargel (Sponsor of SB 736)

Phone: 850-487-5015

Email: stargel.kelli@flsenate.gov

Please, we need your help. If you know this will harm the community you live in or serve. Please contact your Senator today and send the CAN ALERT to every friend, neighbor and community leader you know and ask them for their help as well.

 
PROPOSED LAWS AFFECTING COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 
A Look at What Happened in Week 5 
and Next Week’s Bills 
 

 
SB 414 -  Service Animals sponsored by Senator Thad Altman (R-Cape Canaveral); Passed in Senate Commerce and Tourism 4-0. The bill will be in the Senate Community Affairs Committee on April 7th at 1:30 pm.
 
SB 926 Underwater Pool Lighting Safety sponsored by Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood); passed in theSenate Health Policy Committee  8-0.
 
SB 736 - Residential Properties sponsored by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland); passed in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee 9-2. The bill will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 7th at 4:00 pm.
 
SB 418  - Construction Defect Claims  sponsored by Senator Garrett Richter (R-Naples); passed in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee 11-0. The bill will heard in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on April 7th at 1:30 pm.
 
SB 796 - Financial Reporting sponsored by Senator Greg Evers (R-Pensacola);passed in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee 10-0. The bill will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 7th at 4:00 pm. 
 
HB 791  - Residential Properties sponsored by Representative George Moraitis (R-Ft. Lauderdale); was not considered in the House Finance and Tax Committee
 
SB 932 -  Timeshares sponsored by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland); passed in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee 8-1.
 
Thank you for your continued support and keep those emails and calls coming! If you have any questions about these bills or the attacks on community living, please email or call me.