The Florida Bar
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Legislative Standing Board Policy and Procedure


9.10 General

9.20 Action by Board of Governors
9.21 Action by Executive Committee or President
9.30 Legislation Committee
9.40 Procedure for Hiring Legislative Advisor and Consultants
9.50 Legislative and Political Activities of Sections
9.51 Procedure for Hiring Section Advisors
9.60 Legislative Activities of Divisions and Committees
9.70 Advice and Consultation with Governmental Officials or Others by Florida Bar Members



9.10 General

(a) Applicability
These policies and procedures, combined with the amicus curiae policy and procedures set forth elsewhere herein, are in furtherance of the board of governors' powers to establish, maintain, and supervise a program of The Florida Bar for providing information and advice to the courts and all other branches of government concerning current law and proposed or contemplated changes in the law.

(b) Authority
The Florida Bar shall not advocate a legislative or political issue unless it is determined by the board of governors that the matter is related to the purposes of The Florida Bar as set forth in the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and is otherwise consistent with applicable court decisions. Those authorities and these policies shall further govern the limits of and procedures regarding legislative or political involvement by bar committees, sections and divisions.
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9.20 Action by Board of Governors

(a) Procedure for Obtaining Board Approval

    (1) A request that the board of governors take action on a legislative or political issue shall be submitted to the executive director in the form and with the information specified in subdivision (c) of this policy at least 20 days before the beginning of any regular meeting of the board of governors.

    (2) The executive director shall circulate copies of all request for board action on a legislative or political issue to all members of the board of governors and to the legislation committee for review and action in accordance with these policies.

    (3) A request for board action on a legislative or political issue that is not submitted by the deadline will not be considered until the next succeeding meeting of the board of governors unless:

      (A) the request is presented in writing to the legislation committee at its meeting preceding the board of governors' meeting; and

      (B) sufficient copies of the request for each member of the board of governors are delivered to the executive director prior to the commencement of the board meeting; and

      (C) the board of governors by majority vote agrees to agenda the request.

    (4) The board of governors may be called upon to act on a request for action on a legislative or political issue either by:

      (A) a recommendation of the legislation committee made in the form of a motion by its chair or 1 of its members; or

      (B) motion of a member of the board of governors addressed to matters previously considered by the legislation committee.

    (5) Consideration of any request for action on a legislative or political issue by the board of governors shall be consistent with the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and otherwise proceed in the following order:

      (A) an affirmative vote by a 2/3 majority of those present that the proposed legislative or political action is within the scope of the authority of The Florida Bar under the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and applicable court decisions;

      (B) if the vote is affirmative, a second affirmative vote by 2/3 of those present that the specific legislative or political position is adopted.
(b) Appearances Before Board or Committees
The legislation committee, the board of governors, or the executive committee may allow any interested person to appear before it in support of or in opposition to any legislative or political action being considered, subject to reasonable limitations on available time.

(c) Requests for Bar Position
Requests that The Florida Bar take a position on a legislative or political issue shall be accompanied in all cases by a copy of the pertinent legislation or a detailed presentation of the political issue, together with the following information:

    (1) identification of, reference to, or copies of similar legislation or presentation being considered by the legislature or other body;

    (2) a statement concerning the known principal proponents and opponents of the legislative or political issue including, if possible, a brief statement of the reasons for opposition or support by the other interests;

    (3) a statement of the known position on the legislative or political issue taken by any division, section or committee of The Florida Bar that has considered the matter including the principal reasons for support of or opposition to the issue;

    (4) confirmation that notice of the proposed legislative or political action has been circulated to all divisions, sections and committees that may be interested in the issue, together with a statement identifying all such groups to which the notice has been submitted for comment, and reciting the comments received.
(d) Duration of Bar Positions; Notice to Board
A position with regard to a legislative or political issue, once adopted or recognized by the board of governors, shall remain a bar position for the full biennial legislative session during which the board adopted or recognized the position, unless reversed or rescinded. At its July meeting, the board shall be notified by the executive director of the bar's legislative and political positions.

(e) Form of Position
If formalized, a position on legislative or political issue shall indicate support of, opposition to, or a neutral position on the issue or shall reflect that nonpartisan technical assistance on the issue may be provided.

(f) Categories of Legislative Activity
The board of governors or the executive committee may provide for different categories designating the extent of The Florida Bar's activity in support of or in opposition to a legislative or political issue. Such categories may include the following:

    (1) Active support or opposition, which means The Florida Bar, through its agents, will actively support or oppose a legislative or political issue in appropriate public and governmental forums.

    (2) Approved or disapproved, which means The Florida Bar either approves or disapproves a legislative or political issue.
(g) Effect of Board Consideration
The fact that requested legislative or political action is not considered by the board of governors, or that legislation or a political issue did not receive the required 2/3 vote shall not be considered "action" by the board of governors. Failure to receive a necessary 2/3 vote to support legislation or a political issue shall not be considered as the adoption of a position to oppose the matter.

(h) Review of Past or Current Positions
Review of a past position may be requested by any member of the board of governors or the executive committee, and required upon a majority vote of those present. A current position on a legislative or political issue may be altered, amended or withdrawn by a 2/3 vote of the board of governors present at the meeting.

(i) Publication of Legislative and Political Positions
The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar shall govern the official notice and publication of positions on legislative and political issues adopted on behalf of The Florida Bar.

(j) Objection to Legislative Positions of The Florida Bar
The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and applicable case law shall govern the procedures for member objections to legislative and political positions adopted on behalf of The Florida Bar.
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9.21 Action by Executive Committee or President

(a) Action by Executive Committee
The executive committee shall take no action on a legislative or political issue unless the executive committee shall determine by majority vote of those voting that:

    (1) the requested legislative or political action could not reasonably have been submitted for consideration by the board of governors in accordance with existing policies, or,

    (2) there has been a significant material change in circumstances since the last meeting of the board of governors making it necessary that legislative or political action be taken by The Florida Bar.
(b) Review of Matters Previously Considered by Board
When considering a legislative or political issue previously acted upon by the board of governors, the executive committee shall take no action inconsistent with previous action of the board of governors on the same issue unless there has been a significant material change in circumstances since the last meeting of the board of governors.

(c) Required Votes
In making recommendations or in acting on a legislative or political issue, the executive committee shall:

    (1) affirmatively establish by 2/3 majority vote of the committee that the proposed legislative or political action is within the scope of the authority of The Florida Bar as set forth in the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and applicable court decisions;

    (2) if the vote is affirmative, a second affirmative vote by 2/3 of those present that the specific legislative or political position is adopted.
(d) Action by President
During the time when the legislature is in session or if an emergency exists, and it is not feasible for the executive committee to act, then the president, upon consultation with the president-elect and the chair of the legislation committee (if possible under the circumstances), may act upon a pending request for action on a legislative or political issue.

(e) Report to Board
Any legislative or political action taken by the executive committee or president shall be reported to the board of governors at its next meeting.
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9.30 Legislation Committee

(a) Structure
The legislation committee shall be composed of 9 members, at least 5 of whom shall be members of the board of governors at the time of appointment. The chair shall be a member of the board of governors.

(b) Appointment; Terms
The president-elect shall appoint 3 members and shall name a chair-elect. The chair-elect shall become chair when the president-elect becomes president. Terms of all members shall be 3 years.

(c) Meetings
The legislation committee will meet for the purpose of developing its recommendations for the board of governors with regard to requests that the board adopt or recognize a legislative or political position submitted in accordance with applicable board policy.

(d) Report to Board
In each case involving proposed legislative or political action, the legislation committee shall make a recommendation to the board whether the proposed action is within the scope of the authority of The Florida Bar under the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and applicable court decisions, and whether any legislative or political position should be formally adopted or recognized by the board.

(e) Authority to Draft Legislative or Political Concepts
In addition to the above, the legislation committee shall also have the authority to draft and submit to the board of governors legislative or political concepts which may or should be the subject of legislation or other advocacy, and recommend positions with respect thereto.
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9.40 Procedure for Hiring Advisor and Consultants

(a) Counsel or Advisor
An advisor may be hired by The Florida Bar on a part-time as needed basis to advise the Bar on legislative or political matters and to represent the Bar in communicating the Bar's position to the committees and individual members of the legislature or to other governmental officials. The person employed may or may not be an attorney. If the person employed is an attorney, the person will be known as "legislative counsel."

(b) Term of Employment
The person employed will be employed for a 2-year period to coincide with the 2-year legislative session. The term shall commence July 1st and end June 30th 2 years later.

(c) Review of Performance
After the election of the president-elect designate, a committee will review the performance of the counsel or advisor and, when appropriate, review the terms and conditions of a contract and also consider any applicants for the position. The committee will be composed of the following:

    (1) the president (for the year following election of president-elect designate), who shall be the chair;

    (2) the president-elect (for the year following election of president-elect designate);

    (3) the executive director; and

    (4) the legislation committee.
(d) Recommendation of Employment
An affirmative vote of 6 of the above described committee must be received to recommend employment of a legislative advisor.

(e) Time of Recommendation
The committee shall make its recommendation to the board of governors not later than the September board meeting. The legislative counsel or advisor should be retained by The Florida Bar in time to attend and participate in the Florida legislature's organizational meetings held in November.

(f) Retention of Other Consultants and Experts
Consultants and expert witnesses may be retained for legislative and political matters upon recommendation of the legislation committee and approval of the board of governors. If the board of governors is unable to timely act on such recommendation, the executive committee may approve such retainers, provided that the cost thereof is within the previously approved budget for legislative and other political activities.
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9.50 Legislative Activities of Sections

(a) Authority
A section may be recognized by the board of governors as taking action on or advocating a position on a legislative or political issue only when all of the following criteria are met:

    (1) the issue involved is within the section's subject matter jurisdiction as described in the section's bylaws;

    (2) the issue is beyond the scope of permissible legislative or political activity of The Florida Bar, or the issue is within the permissible scope of legislative or political activity of The Florida Bar but the proposed section position is not inconsistent with an official position of the bar on that issue;

    (3) the issue is not one that carries the potential of deep philosophical or emotional division among a substantial segment of the membership of the bar.
(b) Notice of Bar Positions
The executive director shall give periodic notice to the sections of their recognized positions or activity and the official positions of The Florida Bar on legislative or other political issues.

(c) Notice of Section Proposals
Sections shall advise The Florida Bar of proposed legislative or political activity by providing written notification to the executive director. The proposal shall be circulated to all divisions, sections and committees that may be interested in the issue, and such written notification shall identify all such groups to which the proposal has been submitted for comment, and reciting the comments received. When a decision is needed within 60 days, the notice shall include an explanation of the need for an expedited decision, and shall request a specific deadline for a decision by the bar as to the criteria in subdivision (a).

(d) Deadline for Bar Response
When an expedited decision is not requested, review of proposed section legislative or political activity shall be by the legislation committee and the board of governors. Unless said review is completed and a written notice of decision received by the section within 60 days of the executive director's receipt of the section's notice pursuant to subdivision (c), the section may advocate a position or take any proposed action unless advised otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction. When an expedited decision is requested, review may be by the executive committee. When the legislature is in session or an emergency exists, and the executive committee is unable to act, review may be by the president in consultation with the president-elect and the chair of the legislation committee, if possible.

(e) Prohibition from Advancing Section Position
Upon review of a section's proposed legislative or political activity, the bar may prohibit the section from acting or advancing a position only when it finds that the position fails to meet the criteria of subdivision (a).

(f) Prompt Notice Required
Whenever the review of a section's proposed legislative or political activity pursuant to subdivision (d) is completed in less than 60 days, the bar shall immediately give written notice to the section of the decision.

(g) Review of Executive Committee or President's Action
When a decision that a section's proposed legislative or political activity does not meet the criteria of subdivision (a) is made by other than the board of governors pursuant to subdivision (d), the section shall have the right to have the decision reviewed by the board of governors at the meeting immediately following the date of the notice to the section required in subdivision (f). (h) Procedures Required. Sections engaging in legislative or political activities must adopt a procedure for determining legislative or political positions, submit the procedure to the board of governors and receive the board's approval. Section legislative procedures must include but are not limited to:

    (1) establishment of a legislation committee composed of not less than 3, with such members appointed for staggered terms;

    (2) a 2/3 vote of the members of the section's executive council present, finding the proposed legislative or political activity to be within the scope of subdivision (a), and a majority vote of those members present approving the position.
(i) Coordination with Florida Bar
In furtherance of a section's obligation to clearly distinguish its legislative and political activity from that of The Florida Bar, section have a continuing duty to coordinate their legislative and political activity with the bar and to advise of any section representatives who might make direct personal contact with governmental officials in furtherance of any section position or activity on a legislative or political issue.
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9.51 Procedure for Hiring Section Advisors

(a) Bar Approval Required
No section of The Florida Bar may retain a legislative or political advisor without the consent of the board of governors.

(b) Request for Approval; Contents
A section desiring to retain a legislative or political advisor shall submit to the board of governors a request for approval containing the following information:

    (1) the name and address of the proposed advisor;

    (2) the proposed contractual terms for the advisor's contract;

    (3) statement of showing the need for hiring the advisor;

    (4) a list of the clients, the advisor, and members of the advisor's firm represent as legislative advisors at the time the board of governors considers the proposed contract;

    (5) an agreement that subsequent legislative or political clients will be disclosed to The Florida Bar at least 5 days prior to the advisor or any member of the advisor's firm beginning representation of the subsequent client and that any subsequent conflicts will be disclosed immediately;

    (6) a provision that the contract may be terminated by The Florida Bar if it decides that the section advisor or a member of the advisor's firm does not act within the best interests of The Florida Bar; and

    (7) an agreement that the advisor will work on Florida Bar legislative or political matters if the executive director believes such participation is necessary and in the best interests of the membership of The Florida Bar. If this action occurs, the cost of the advisor's time will be assessed against the section, unless this use creates a shortage or hardship upon the section. In that event The Florida Bar may reimburse the section for the appropriate amount of legislative expense.

(c) Review of Requests and Report to Board
The legislation committee and the executive director shall review proposed contracts for a section's legislative or political advisor and make recommendations to the board of governors with respect thereto.

(d) Notice to Executive Director
A section's advisor shall agree to communicate all significant legislative or political developments to the executive director of The Florida Bar.

(e) Budget Limit on Section Lobbying
No section shall budget or expend for legislative activities more than the amount budgeted or received as voluntary dues from section members.
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9.60 Legislative and Political Activities of Divisions and Committees

Divisions and committees of The Florida Bar may advance a legislative or political position only if the issue is within the scope of permissible activity of The Florida Bar, is within the area of subject matter interest of the division or committee, and is authorized by the board of governors.



9.70 Advice and Consultation with Governmental Officials or Others by Florida Bar Members

Nothing herein shall precludelawyers from presenting their individual personal views to theFlorida Legislature, the United States Congress, or any otherperson or body on any legislative or political matter.

[Revised: 10-24-2011]