At a whopping 318 pages, the Florida Deregulation bill is now HB 5005 which number indicates that this is an “implementing bill”. Implementing bills are essentially instructions on how budget guidelines will be met. By moving this proposal to the budget side of the process, the rules change from those that govern “substantive policy” legislation.
After Senate and House members meet to hash out the budget items, they deliver identical pieces of legislation to their respective bodies. This includes the overall budget and the implementing bills which make the statutory changes needed to achieve the budget policies. An implementing bill does not need to go through the Senate committee process. If Senate and House members agree to the bill during the appropriations conference, HB 5005 will go directly to the Senate floor for a vote by the full Senate. This bill could become law effective July 1, 2011, without ever having had a substantive hearing in even a single Senate Committee!
What does all this mean? HB 5005 just got a LOT easier to pass this Session.
The Community Advocacy Network (CAN), of which I serve as Executive Director and fellow blogger Charlotte Greenbarg, serves as one of our Broward County Advisory Council members, has been leading a massive grassroots campaign to stop this bill from negatively impacting the more than 55,000 community associations in our State and the millions of Floridians who call those communities home.
What don’t we like about HB 5005?
• Community association provisions do not belong in HB 5005.
• Unlike other affected industries in this bill, community associations are NOT for-profit businesses; they are not-for-profit organizations.
• The regulations in the community association industry differ significantly from regulations in for-profit industries. Not-for-profit regulations are not barriers to competition. The sole purpose of these regulations is to protect Floridians living in these communities, many of whom are seniors.
• Community association regulations ensure transparency, accountability and fairness when dealing with people’s homes and money.
• Removing critical consumer protections will simply leave homeowners more vulnerable to fraud and on the hook for expensive legal costs.
• Despite assertions to the contrary, these provisions WILL have a fiscal impact on the State. The net effect of Florida’s arbitration program for condominiums is a reduction in costs to the Judiciary. Years ago, judges pushed to have the Division handle these cases via arbitration because their dockets were filled with “condo commando” disputes which have since been handled less expensively by the Division.
To contact your Florida legislators now about HB 5005, go to http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find and type in your zip code to find the name, phone number and email of your State Senator. You’ll also see your local House District number, click through on “State House” and find your Representative, click on his or her name and contact him or her about HB 5005. If you haven’t already made your opinion known on this attempt to deregulate associations, what are you waiting for?
For more information about what CAN is doing to fight this bill, please visit our website at www.canfl.com or contact my Legislative Assistant, Kristen Pesicek, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This work by Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Generic License.