FMO Newsletter March 2020 Print

    President's Report

    Greetings Everyone,

    My apologies for the tardiness in getting this to you.  We have been monitoring the back and forth battle between the House and Senate on HB 1339.  Nancy explains the situation in her article. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who wrote, emailed and called the Legislators considering our bill.  With your assistance and Nancy’s tenacity we got a bill we could live with and a very different one than was proposed. 

    During almost the entire month of January, Director Jesse James and I shuttled back and forth to Tallahassee where we both had the opportunity to see Nancy operate in her element.  It is clear the respect and recognition she has among Legislators and probably more importantly their staffs. FMO is fortunate to have such a professional.  We also owe a great deal of gratitude to Senator Hooper.  He brought the two sides together as he promised on day one.  Believe me if it were not for his commitment the original bill SB 818 would have gone through.  If you were watching the first committee when Jesse and I testified against the bill it still passed 10 to 0.  We now await the Governor’s signature and the law will become effective July 1st.

    As some of you may have heard there is this virus going around.  Seriously we have taken steps to protect our residents by canceling all in-person meetings and gatherings.  We will work closely with FMHA to take any additional actions necessary.  I know some of you raised question about closing the clubhouse while keeping the Golf Courses and restaurants open.  That will change by the time you read this and we are exploring ways to have access to some clubhouse amenities such as the library and computer terminals.

    We must continue to follow CDC and Florida Official’s recommendations.  Any facilities open would be for limited time and limited persons.  Most of our generation has never experienced anything like this but our WWII survivors went through much tougher restrictions and rationing. There will be an end to this and we will look back in amazement on how we got through it.

    You may keep up to date on the following websites:

    https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

    https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

    Take care and be safe,

    Jerry Durham

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    Executive Director update

    The certified HOA Board training is now in full swing.  Four have been completed.  The fifth one is coming up on Saturday, February 8 at Village Green Woodland in Vero Beach.  So far, the evaluation forms filled out by the attendees have been very positive.  The list of scheduled classes was included in the January/February FMO Magazine.  Since this issue went out to our members more classes have been added.  This list along with the registration form is available on the FMO website or please call me at the FMO Office and I will email this information to you.  One is scheduled for February 27 and four more are scheduled for March. 

    The new membership contest has brought in 300 plus new members.  It seems a lot of people want the free golf cart.  Increasing FMO membership is certainly important.  However, maintaining our existing members is just as important.  The non-renewals need to be followed up on a regular basis.  Everyone’s effort and hard work trying to increase our membership is greatly appreciated.  Thank you to all.

    Jane Clapp

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    Legislative Briefs - Nancy Black Stewart

    Regular Session 2020 comes to a close…

    The 2020 Regular Session was scheduled to adjourn at midnight on Friday, March 13.  As you may remember, the Florida Constitution requires that the Legislature accomplish one task during Session:  create and pass a state budget.  Another Constitutional requirement is that the finished budget must be available for review by legislators for 72 hours before a vote is taken.  The Legislature negotiated most provisions of a budget, but not in time for the 72 hour clock, so Session was extended until midnight March 20, with the budget bills as the only legislation available for consideration.  (All other legislation “died” on March 13.)

    FMO had a great Session…thanks to you and all your hard work.  I knew when the FMHA bill was introduced in November we needed to batten down the hatches.  On that day we shifted our focus and energy from supporting the FMO draft legislation to opposing the terrible provisions of their bill.  The FMO draft legislation was dedicated to many good ideas for homeowners brought forward by many of you. 

    You were very effective in your work as you followed the suggested strategy and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  As time marched on and your voices were heard, the two bills that emerged were SB 998 and HB 1339, each of which also had changes to affordable housing laws.  Your FMO leadership spent 3 weeks in Tallahassee walking the halls with me and refining our message of opposition to the unacceptable provisions of these bills. 

    Negotiations ensued between FMO and FMHA as a result of your efforts.  In 46 sessions, I have never, ever, seen a bill become law that was not an act of compromise.  We had no choice.  The day before Session started, 15 Senators in two different Committees voted against us.  They had heard your concerns, and they raised questions of the bill sponsors, but we didn’t have them completely on our side. 

    The final version of 1339 will be signed by the presiding officers and sent to the Governor at some point (there are no timeframes for this).  Over the 60 days of Session, 1339 was amended with 16 amendments, creating 7 different versions of the bill (the 7th version was not amended and it became the 8th and final version).  Here is the enrolled (final) version: 

       http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/1339/BillText/er/PDF

    • Do we love the final bill? No.
    • Can we live with the final bill? Yes.
    • Did we get our position on some things we wanted? Yes.

    So…our next steps.  Two things I need your help with again.  Talk to your local elected officials as well as your legislators.  Tell them your story and the issues you are concerned about.  After March 20 legislators will be home in their districts.  Many will be gearing up for re-election campaigns.  If it is a better idea to meet with them by appointment in their legislative offices rather than in your park settings, then go do that.  They need to understand more about you.  This is the time for in-depth discussions.  By the time they are in Tallahassee, a standard meeting is only 10 minutes!  The second matter for your attention is building our base.  The membership drive is growing our numbers…so good job again!  Keep up the good work!  Numbers matter…I’m asked all the time.  A squeakier wheel gets more grease!

    Respectfully submitted,
    Nancy Stewart
    FMO Legislative Counsel                                                                          

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    Did you know?

    Fifty four years ago, while many of our current park residents were fighting in Vietnam or pioneering our race to the moon, the Supreme Court of Florida affirmed the right of cities and counties to tax mobile homes as real property. A hue & cry was heard across the state and on Nov 2, 1965 Amendment 5 to the Florida Constitution was passed. The Florida Constitution, Article VII, Section 1(b) states:  “Motor vehicles, boats, airplanes, trailers, trailer coaches and mobile homes, as defined by law, shall be subject to a license tax for their operation in the amounts and for the purposes prescribed by law, but shall not be subject to ad valorem taxes”

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