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Florida Bar Advocacy Essentials

Florida Capitol

The Florida Bar’s legislative activities are addressed the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, as promulgated by the Supreme Court of Florida. The Florida Bar’s legislative program is further shaped by its own operational guidelines, in the 900 Series of the Standing Policies of the Board of Governors.

Legislation of Interest to the Legal Profession

Staff in the Office of the General Counsel posts bills that advance or involve an official Florida Bar legislative position, and bills being monitored but not presently addressed by any official Florida Bar legislative position.  If information is needed on bills of interest to any voluntary bar group, please email Joni Hooks with the bill number(s) and any additional information needed.

View Legislation of Interest

Master List of Legislative Positions

This master list of legislative  positions includes all Bar, committee, special committee, section and division positions for the 2022-2024 legislative biennium. All legislative positions expire at the conclusion of each legislative biennium.

Legislative positions of The Florida Bar and its committees are officially noticed in the Bar News edition immediately following approval by the Board of Governors. Under Rule 2-9.3(b)-(e) , Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, within 45 days of such notice, members may file a written objection to any of these positions that are funded by Bar membership fees. Objections are considered for a refund of that portion of mandatory fees applicable to any contested legislative position.

Section positions are advanced with the voluntary dues and separate resources of those groups — and in their name only.

2022-24 Legislative Positions, The Florida Bar

  1. Supports adequate funding of the state courts system and associated offices that perform court-related functions.
  2. Opposes amendments to the Florida Constitution that would alter the authority of the Supreme Court of Florida to regulate the admission of persons to the practice of law and the discipline of persons admitted.
  3. Opposes amendment of Article V, Section 2(a) of the Florida Constitution that would restrict the Supreme Court’s authority to adopt rules for practice and procedure in all courts; opposes any amendment of the Florida Constitution that would change the manner by which rules of the judicial qualifications commission, the rules of judicial nominating commissions, and rules for practice and procedure in all courts may be repealed by the legislature.
  4. Opposes Senate Bill 1336, an act relating to interest on trust accounts, creating Section 655.97, Florida Statutes. (Added 1/19/2024)

2022-2024 Legislative Positions by Voluntary Bar Groups

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Administrative Law Section

July 29, 2022

  1. Opposes any amendment to Chapter 120, Florida Statutes, or other legislation to deny, limit or restrict points of entry to administrative proceedings under Chapter 120, Florida Statutes, by substantially affected persons.
  2. Opposes exemptions or exceptions to the Administrative Procedure Act but supports requiring that any exemption or exception that is enacted be included within Chapter 120, Florida Statutes.
  3. Supports voluntary use of mediation to resolve matters in administrative proceedings under Chapter 120, Florida Statutes, and supports confidentiality of discussions in mediation; but opposes mandatory mediation and opposes imposition of involuntary penalties associated with mediation.
  4. Opposes amendments to Chapter 120, Florida Statutes, or other legislation that limit, restrict, or penalize full participation in the administrative process without compelling justification.
  5. Supports adequate funding of the Division of Administrative Hearings and other existing state administrative dispute resolution forums in order to ensure efficient resolution of administrative disputes.
  6. Opposes any amendment to Chapter 120, Florida Statutes, or other legislation, that undermines the rule-making requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.
  7. Supports uniformity of procedures in administrative proceedings under Chapter 120, Florida Statutes.
  8. Opposes legislation which undermines generally-accepted principles of Florida administrative law by altering the balance between the rights of citizens to participate in the administrative process and the responsibility of an agency to implement and enforce the agency’s statutory responsibilities.
  9. Opposes legislation which deviates from generally-accepted principles of Florida administrative law by hindering an agency from promulgating otherwise-authorized rules to interpret statutes within the agency’s area of responsibility or to efficiently administer its statutory responsibilities.
  10. Supports the use of technology to reduce costs and expedite administrative proceedings.
  11. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.
  12. Opposes term limits for administrative law judges
  13. Opposes legislation that impairs the independence, fairness, impartiality — or impairs the appearance of independence, fairness or impartiality — of administrative law judges, hearing officers, or others performing quasi-judicial functions. As used herein, the term “independence” means freedom to make decisions based on the facts and applicable law without outside control or influence in the decision-making process.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

  1. Supports removal of the provision of Section 44.103(3), F.S. that caps arbitrator compensation in certain arbitration proceedings at $1,500 per diem, unless the parties agree otherwise. (Added 3/1/2023)

Animal Law Section

July 29, 2022

  1. Supports the effective implementation of the Florida Constitution’s prohibition on greyhound and other dog races.
  2. Supports legislation that would increase the damages permitted in cases involving the death and injury of companion animals.
  3. Supports legislation and regulations that would prevent the hunting of bears in Florida.
  4. Supports proposed legislation that would prohibit the practice of pet leasing.
  5. Opposes proposed legislation that would preempt local animal ordinances that provide protection for animals that exceeds the protection available at the state level.
  6. Supports legislation that provides for the appointment of advocates for the interests of an animal in certain court proceedings.
  7. Supports legislation creating a public records exemption for certain identifying information for individuals that adopt animals from local government animal shelters.
  8. Supports: (1) increased funding to protect manatees and their habitat; (2) relisting manatees as an endangered species; (3) legislation and rule changes that offer additional protection to manatees and their habitat.
  9. Supports legislation on humane cosmetics testing. (Added 12/1/223)
  10. Supports legislation that requires adoption of dogs and cats when they are no longer used for research. (Added 12/1/2023)
  11. Supports legislation to create a statewide animal abuse registry. (Added 12/1/2023)

 

(Note: To the extent that federal or state agencies such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or the Florida Department of Environmental Protection request additional funding or create rules that implement the ideas we support above, the Animal Law Section is also seeking approval to support those agency requests for additional funding and to have the option in addition to lobbying the legislature to also lobby the agencies on any rules implementing additional protections that are drafted).

Appellate Practice Section

  1. Supports maintaining an independent judiciary in the appellate courts.
  2. Supports pay raises for appellate judges and support personnel consistent with the Supreme Court of Florida’s budget requests.
  3. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.

Business Law Section

1. Bankruptcy / Uniform Commercial Codes / Debtor-Creditor Issues

  1. Opposes any amendment to existing Florida law governing real property foreclosures unless those amendments carefully preserve and protect the property rights and due process rights of the holders of interests in or affecting Florida real property.
  2. Supports the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act in Florida, as promulgated by the National Conference on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), which would amend the current Chapter 727, Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act.
  3. Supports the Bankruptcy Venue Reform Act of 2021 or any similar subsequent legislation.
  4. Opposes amendments to Section 689.151, Fla. Stat. that would (1) permit an owner of personal property create a tenancy by the entireties by a direct transfer to the owner and the owner’s spouse, notwithstanding the absence of the required common law unities of time and title, and/or (2)change the presumptions to (a) require “clear and convincing” proof that TBE was not intended or created, and (b) create a “conclusive presumption” as to the “intent to create a tenancy by the entirety” when a spouse’s name is added to an ownership document.
  5. Supports changes to Chapter 222 F.S. that protect Florida residents from unintentionally assigning, pledging, or waiving rights to assets that are otherwise exempt from legal process.
  6. Supports the creation of §702.13 Florida Statutes, providing for notice to homeowner in mortgage foreclosure action of possibility of relief under U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
  7. Supports amendments to Chapters 55, 56 and 319 to (i) clarify the effect of a certificate of title on a judgment lien, and (ii) establish procedures for enforcement of a judgment lien against a motor vehicle, mobile home, or vessel.
  8. Supports legislation to amend Fla. Stat. Chapter 713.78 to clarify that (1) storage liens on motor vehicles and vessels can be foreclosed only under the procedures set out in Fla. Stat. 713.78 and 559.917; (2) the same procedures for a lender or owner of a vehicle or vessel to request an inspection related to a towing and storage liens is the same as set out in 713.585 for a repair lien are also applicable to towing and storage liens for vehicles and vessels under Fla. Stat. 713.78; (3) the same procedures for posting a bond regarding repairs on vehicles and vessels in 713.585 and 559.917 are also applicable to towing and storage liens for vehicles and vessels under Fla. Stat. 713.78.
  9. Supports (1) legislation to update and clarify Section 55.205, F.S., Effect of judgment lien, to explicitly cross-reference Section 319.27, F.S; (2) support amendments to Chapters 55, 56 and 319 F.S. to (i) clarify the effect of a certificate of title on a judgment lien, and (ii) establish procedures for enforcement of a judgment lien against a motor vehicle, mobile home, or vessel; (3) support legislation to expand the scope of the Florida Judgment lien on personal property to reach accounts and payment intangibles as defined in Ch . 679, F.S. only of a judgment debtor that is located in this state; and (4) support legislation that makes clear that the above judgment lien can be enforced only through judicial process and not through self-help or replevin without the express consent of the judgment debtor in a post-default record.
  10. Supports the original version of SB528 providing for an increase in the exemption for a debtor’s interest in a personal motor vehicle set forth in Fla. Stat. §222.25 that is applicable equally to all debtors including support to include a periodic upward adjustment akin to the automatic adjustment built into Bankruptcy Code Section 104 and (2) oppose any legislation providing for a higher exemption amount solely applicable to debtors in bankruptcy. (Revised 10/9/2023)
  11. Supports legislation to update and clarify Chapter 727, F.S., Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors, to (1) update the intent of the statute to provide a uniform procedure for the administration and orderly liquidation of insolvent estates; (2) amend the statute to better reflect practice realities with respect to (i) recording assignments outside Florida, (ii) scheduling case management conferences and requiring case status reports, (iii) turnover of assets, and (iv) rejecting unexpired leases; and (3) create a new provision to define an assignee’s personal liability and the process for asserting claims against the assignee or professionals employed by the estate. (Added 10/24/2022)
  12. Supports legislation that would add new subsections 605.12101 through 605.12803 to the existing Florida Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (Chapter 605) to implement rules for the creation of Protected Series in Florida limited liability companies, and to provide rules applicable to foreign series limited liability doing business in Florida. (Added 3/1/2023)

 

2. Business Entities / Securities / Financial Services

  1. Opposes legislation to impose income tax on limited liability companies and subchapter S corporations.
  2. Opposes legislation that would transfer the functions of the Division of Corporations in the Department of State to the Department of Revenue.
  3. Opposes “sunset” of the Division of Corporations of the Department of State.
  4. Opposes changes to Ch. 607, F.S. which addresses the filing of biennial reports by domestic and foreign corporations.
  5. Supports proposed legislation updating and modernizing the Florida Business Corporation Act, The Florida Revised Limited Liability Company Act and other for profit and not for profit business entity statutes.
  6. Supports the legislative proposals amending of Chapter 517, the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act
  7. Opposes legislation, including without limitation currently proposed legislation to amend Section 542.275, Florida Statutes, that directly or indirectly requires pre-closing notice and/or providing of information to the Office of the Florida Attorney General as to certain merger and acquisition transactions and/or requires post-closing filing of a notice and/or providing information to the Office of the Florida Attorney General without reasonable exemption for Florida’s Sunshine Laws.
  8. Supports legislation amending § 501.207(3) of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (“FDUTPA”). (Added 3/1/2023).
  9. Supports proposed legislation addressing changes and updates to Chapter 607, Florida Statutes, the Florida Business Corporations Act, primarily including the addition of provisions addressing ratification of defective corporate actions and over issuances of securities. (Added 10/9/2023)
  10. Supports proposed legislation updating and modernizing Chapter 517 of the Florida Statutes – The Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act. (Added 10/9/2023)

 

3. Business Litigation / Alternative Dispute Resolution

  1. Supports amending Florida Statute 542.335 relating to restrictive covenants in a manner to provide exemptions to employees receiving limited compensation and to provide the court additional discretion in those same cases to interpret restrictions in a manner consistent with traditional contract rules of construction.
  2. Supports changes to Ch. 48, F.S. and other statutory provisions addressing service of process to (1) simplify the methods of service of process on business entities to eliminate redundancies and inconsistencies, (2) clarify the statutory scheme to avoid confusion, (3) better elucidate the methods for effectuating service of process in foreign countries, and (4) modernize the methods and procedures for service of process on business entities, while ensuring compliance with fundamental notions of due process.
  3. Supports the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar position to create Section 49.072, F.S., establishing a process to serve unknown parties in possession of real property.
  4. Opposes codification of tortious interference claims that: (1) creates uncertainty in commercial transactions; (2) stifles competition; (3) imposes treble or punitive damages; (4) allows for one-sided attorney’s fees; and (5) is vague and ambiguous.

 

4. Intellectual Property / Computer Law

  1. Opposes changes that weaken contracts governed under current franchise laws and expand claims available under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
  2. Supports legislation that defines blockchain technology in such a manner as to encourage innovation in the blockchain space without tying any statutory definition to a specific implementation of the technology.
  3. Supports amending pending legislation relating to trade secret information to require Florida state agencies to inform potential bidders, vendors, service providers, contractors and/or others that may engage in business with state agencies that their submission of information to an agency may waive trade secret protection and to further require informed consent by potential bidders, vendors, service providers, contractors and/or others that may engage in business with the state agencies, in order to prevent inadvertent waiver of said trade secrets and potential litigation.
  4. Supports legislation relating to data privacy and protection, including cybersecurity, that strikes the appropriate balance between protecting personal information without placing undue restrictions on business development or unnecessarily stifling technological advancement in this state.

 

5. Judiciary / Administration of Justice

  1. Supports adequate funding of the state courts’ system, state attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices, and court-appointed counsel.
  2. Supports legislation consistent with the Supreme Court of Florida’s certification of need for additional judges.
  3. Supports adequate funding for civil legal assistance to indigent persons through the Florida Access to Civil Legal Assistance Act.
  4. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.

Criminal Law Section

July 29, 2022

  1. Supports a comprehensive review of Florida’s entire death penalty process by all branches of government.
  2. Supports increased funding for the needs of the criminal justice court system in the State of Florida.
  3. Opposes the proposed legislation (Senate Bill 1208 and House Bill 1037) which would severely limit the ability of defense lawyers to take depositions in many criminal cases. (Added 3/27/2023)

Elder Law Section

Elder Law Section

July 29, 2022

A. Long-term Care & Public Benefits

  1. Opposes legislation that would limit awards of attorney’s fees and costs in liability actions brought against nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
  2. Supports legislation that would increase staffing ratios, governmental oversight, and Medicaid reimbursement rates to improve the general quality of care for residents in any long-term care facility, and opposes legislation that would decrease staffing ratios, governmental oversight, and Medicaid reimbursement rates or otherwise decrease the general quality of care for residents in any long-term care facility.
  3. Opposes legislation that would eliminate or diminish the rights of residents of any long-term care facility.
  4. Supports legislation to provide residents of assisted living facilities a process for administrative hearings and administrative review of discharge decisions.
  5. Supports legislation that increases the personal needs allowance to qualified individuals residing in any long-term care, health care, and/or residential facility.
  6. Opposes legislation imposing filial responsibility for long term care of adults.
  7. Supports legislation recognizing the economic value of care provided to vulnerable adults by family members and friends.
  8. Supports legislation that would increase and enhance the rights of residents of any long-term care facility and that would restrict the use of over-burdensome and onerous provisions in admissions contracts used by long-term care facilities.
  9. Supports public access to long-term care insurance at reasonable and affordable costs with adequate and reasonable benefits.
  10. Supports adequate funding for programs that allow Florida’s seniors to age in place and opposes reduction or elimination of funding for programs that allow Florida’s seniors to age in place.
  11. Supports legislation that aligns state law with Veterans Administration Federal law with regard to the treatment of low-income pension with Aid and Attendance and opposes legislation that impoverishes spouses of veterans living in the community.

 

B. Age-Related Concerns

  1. Opposes legislation that would restrict or revoke driving privileges based solely upon aging factors.
  2. Supports the development and implementation of a public education program stressing the need for screenings for memory impairment and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders; and supports the mandate that the Department of Elder Affairs conduct, or provide support for, a study on the benefits of memory screenings and the scientific evidence on the techniques for memory screening.

 

C. Judiciary

  1. Opposes any legislation that would allow the clerks of court in any and/or all circuits to assess and collect audit fees or other fees in guardianship or probate cases that would be a percentage of the total amount or value of the respective guardianship or probate estate.
  2. Opposes any legislation that would decrease current court authority and control over guardianship or probate matters while increasing, correspondingly or otherwise, the clerk of court’s authority over these same matters.
  3. Supports adequate funding of the state courts system, the Office of Public and Professional Guardians, state attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices, and court-appointed counsel.
  4. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.

 

D. Guardianship & Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults

  1. Opposes the adoption of summary guardianship proceedings outside the protections of Chapter 744, Florida Statutes.
  2. Supports legislation that enhances and increases the protection of vulnerable individuals wherever they reside and opposes any legislation that erodes or decreases such protection.
  3. Supports adoption of a Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.
  4. Supports legislation designed to discourage or prevent abuse, neglect, or exploitation of individuals and to aid in recovery of damages to abused, exploited, or neglected individuals
  5. Supports legislation providing for injunctions by family or household members for protection of adults from exploitation and providing for asset protection
  6. Opposes any legislation that would permit expanding the collection of data in guardianship cases without proper safeguards to ensure the data collected is narrowly tailored to meet the purpose, to ensure the protection of the data collected, and to protect the identity of the vulnerable adults whose data is at issue.
  7. Opposes any comprehensive rewrite of Florida’s guardianship laws that does not include the substantial adoption of the Uniform Adult Guardianship Jurisdiction Act such that the state of Florida would not be considered an adoptee of the Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act. (Added 12/2/2022)

 

E. Estate Planning & Advance Care Directives

  1. Supports legislation that protects an individual’s rights relating to their health care decisions regardless of incapacity and opposes any legislation that erodes such rights.
  2. Supports legislation that provides for expanded access to health insurance for all of Florida’s citizens.
  3. Supports physician orders for life-sustaining treatment legislation that has sufficient and comprehensive safeguards to protect the public.

 

F. Probate & Trust Administration

  1. Opposes legislation that amends statutes relating to the presumptively reasonable compensation for attorneys for personal representatives and trustees in the Florida Probate Code and the Florida Trust Code unless the proposed legislation preserves the standards currently reflected in each of those codes.
  2. Opposes the expansion of creditors’ rights beyond the current statutory and common law rights available to creditors under Florida law.
  3. Supports legislation that protects, and opposes legislation that erodes, current statutory protections for all possible beneficiaries of estates and trusts for receiving annual, comprehensive, and understandable accountings and required notices by personal representatives and trustees.

ENTERTAINMENT, ARTS & SPORTS SECTION

July 29, 2022

  1. Supports full and complete state funding for the arts and the arts education programs in Florida, as well as the continued existence of the Corporations Trust Fund, and urges the Florida legislature to continue and increase the funding of these arts programs and organizations.
  2. Supports the passage of legislation which would provide increased corporate income tax, sales and use tax credits to qualified entertainment entities instead of reimbursements from appropriations.
  3. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.

Family Law Section

July 29, 2022

  1. Supports amendments to Florida’s domestic violence laws that would include amending §741.30(6)(a)(8), Florida Statutes, to authorize the court to enter relief to protect minor children of a domestic violence victim as well as the victim.
  2. Opposes legislation that would seek to remove from the courts in any way the establishment, modification or enforcement of family support, and/or that would seek to place consideration, effectuation or adjudication of these issues under the jurisdiction of the Department of Revenue or any other governmental or administrative body.
  3. Supports adequate funding for dependency courts and for all Chapter 39, F.S. proceedings relating to children.
  4. Supports the establishment and funding of programs to provide dependency mediation services in each judicial circuit.
  5. Opposes creation of an evidentiary privilege for parent-child communications.
  6. Supports amendment of §61.13(1), Florida Statutes, to clarify that a court may require either or both parents to carry life insurance or to otherwise secure child support obligations.
  7. Opposes removing or deleting the word “imminent” from §741.30(1)(a), Florida Statutes.
  8. Supports amending Chapter 61, Florida Statutes, by adding a new § 61.406, Florida Statutes, authorizing an award of reasonable fees and costs to a duly appointed guardian ad litem, and further authorizing the guardian to apply for and enforce such an award in his or her own name without the necessity of counsel.
  9. Supports amending § 742.045, Florida Statutes, allowing the award of appellate fees and costs in paternity matters, consistent with existing language of § 61.16, Florida Statute.
  10. Opposes any proposed legislation that disturbs the finality of judgments determining parentage of children without consideration or inclusion of a statute of repose, a best interests of child standard consistent with established public policy of the State, and the elements and burden of proof of fraud.
  11. Supports an amendment to §61.30 (1) (a), Florida Statutes (Child Support Guidelines; Retroactive Child Support), deleting the words ““or mediation agreement”” in the second to last sentence.
  12. Opposes any extension of administrative procedures for a determination of paternity outside of the constitutionally established judiciary branch of state government.
  13. Supports the amendment of §63.042, Florida Statutes, to permit a court to excuse the consent of an adoptive parent’s spouse when the court finds that an adoption is in the best interests of the child. The court, rather than the Department of Children & Families, should be vested with the authority to determine whether an adoptive parent’s disability should prohibit the person from adopting.
  14. Supports adequate funding of the state courts system, state attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices and court-appointed counsel.
  15. Supports amending Florida Statutes, Chapters 61 and 742, Florida Statutes, to make it clear that the court has the appropriate discretion and authority to, upon good cause shown by a party, modify temporary support orders on a retroactive basis, even in the absence of a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.
  16. Opposes legislation deleting the term “repeat violence” in F. S. 784.046 for purposes of protective injunctions.
  17. Supports the establishment of supervised visitation program standards.
  18. Supports an amendment to Florida Statutes 61.14 to include subparagraphs (1)(a)1, (2), (3) (a) and (b), as well as (4) to enable a court to temporarily reduce support under certain defined circumstances post-judgment.
  19. Supports the amendment to Florida Statutes section 61.30 (16) to adjust the child support statutory guidelines no less than every 3 years to ensure that Federal Poverty Guidelines are properly adjusted within those statutory guidelines.
  20. Supports amending §61.30(6) F.S. which would provide that when the parents combined income exceeds the child support guidelines schedule amounts that the percentages contained at the end of subparagraph (6) not be used as a basis for awarding child support beyond the reasonable needs of the parties’ children.
  21. Supports an amendment to §61.30 11 (d) F.S. which would codify current case law addressing the formula for calculating child support in split custody cases.
  22. Strongly opposes any amendment to 61.30 F.S. which would delegate the obligation to review and if appropriate, reconfigure the child support guidelines schedule in Florida Statutes, Chapter 61, to the Supreme Court of the State of Florida or the State of Florida, Department of Revenue.
  23. Opposes the incorporation of Family Team Conferencing as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism unless it incorporates the appropriate procedural safeguards.
  24. Supports the inclusion of the definition of “incarcerated parent” in Chapter 39, Florida Statutes.
  25. Supports the inclusion of limiting language in setting aside paternity based upon fraud or misrepresentation for child support termination purposes.
  26. Supports an amendment to Chapter 39 F. S. applying Florida’s Putative Father Registry to all termination of parental rights actions. An unmarried biological father’s consent is on required when he acts to protect his parental rights by legally establishing his rights or registering with Florida’s Putative Father Registry prior to the date the petition to terminate parental rights is filed with the court.
  27. Supports amendment to Chapter 39 F. S. which would clearly set forth the intent that application of the Florida Putative Father Registry would differ in Dependency/Shelter proceedings and Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings as the interests of the child were different in each proceeding.
  28. Supports an amendment to Chapter 39 F. S. which would provide juvenile judges with the authority to enter legally recordable paternity judgments, child support order and income deduction orders.
  29. Supports amendment to Chapter 39 F. S. that applying Florida’s Putative Father Registry to Dependency/Shelter proceeding by personally providing a father identified as a result of §39.503 F. S. inquiry with a disclosure on his paternal responsibility to register with Florida Putative Father Registry, support his child and legally establish his rights to the child. Such a father would have 30 days from personal receipt of the disclosure to assert his rights by registering with Florida’s Putative Father Registry.
  30. Supports legislation intended to clarify the nature of marital and non-marital assets in Florida Statutes Chapter 61 proceedings.
  31. Supports legislation allowing trial courts to temporarily reduce, suspend or abate child support in temporary circumstances necessitating a reduction of support.
  32. Opposes legislation removing the need for a father to be current in his support to seek disestablishment of paternity.
  33. Opposes legislation re attorney ad litem representation that seeks to regulate the profession, instruct and/or train lawyers on how they should represent their clients, and that allows another governmental branch agency to train lawyers.
  34. Opposes legislation that remedies barriers to remarriage through equitable distribution.
  35. Supports legislation designed to promote and implement a Unified Family Court.
  36. Supports legislation that expands the range of both civil and criminal sanctions imposed against those who violate existing injunctions for protection against domestic, repeat, sexual and dating violence.
  37. Supports amendments to F.S. §61.14 & 742.08 regarding the enforcement and accrual of interest on child support, alimony, and spousal support judgments.
  38. Supports amendments to F.S. §61.30 to streamline, simplify, and clarify the methodology of calculating child support.
  39. Supports amendments to F.S. §61.13001 streamlining the requirements and criteria governing relocation.
  40. Supports amendments to §61.075, F.S. to allow for the assessment of interest and award of security regarding delayed equitable distribution payments.
  41. Supports amendments to F.S. §61.08 (alimony statute) to recognize the court’s discretion to fashion alimony awards that are appropriate based upon the statutory factors including bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent alimony.
  42. Supports legislation to allow not-for-profit legal aid associations to certify guardians ad litem who have taken a uniform statewide training program for cases under F.S. Chapter 61 where there are no well-founded allegations of abuse, abandonment or neglect; to not require such legal aid associations to certify guardians ad litem; and to penalize for false statements or omissions on a guardian ad litem application. Opposes legislation allowing lay guardians ad litem without the foregoing safeguards.
  43. Supports legislation providing for notice to relatives of the existence of proceedings and investigations under Chapter 39 so long as the added burden of giving notice does not result in attorneys, investigators and others working for DCF having less time to work directly to protect children.
  44. Opposes legislation allowing one party to obtain assignment of a retired judge or justice with payment of the retired judge or justice by the prevailing party in a matter governed by the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure.
  45. Supports legislation allowing sheriffs to serve faxed copies of previously certified domestic violence injunctions.
  46. Opposes legislation granting immunity from suit to mental health professionals licensed under Chapter 491 who disclose confidential communications when they believe there is a clear and immediate probability of certain harm.
  47. Supports the expansion of actions which constitute violations of injunctions for protection to include coming into close proximity of the petitioner’s dwelling, vehicle, school or place of business; defacing or destroying petitioner’s vehicle or refusing to surrender firearms or ammunition after being ordered to do so by the court issuing the injunction.
  48. Supports legislation specifying that transfers of homestead property between husband and wife, whether incident to a dissolution of marriage or otherwise, are not to be considered a “change of ownership” for homestead exemption purposes.
  49. Opposes legislation regarding child support which creates a presumption that health insurance is affordable if it is 5% or less of a parent’s gross income.
  50. Supports mandatory and discretionary appointment of attorneys for children predicated on the understanding that funding for any attorney ad litem program does not jeopardize funding of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem program, that the administration of the program is not through the Statewide Guardian ad Litem program or any other executive branch agency, and that any funding of the program does not jeopardize other court programs.
  51. Supports the discretionary appointment of attorneys for children in the following situations: where the court has a concern that the child has a need for developmental disability, mental health or substance abuse services; and in any Chapter 39 proceedings when the Court deems it appropriate.
  52. Supports the mandatory appointment of attorneys for children in the following situations: in cases where the state is seeking to administer or administers psychotropic medications to a child subject to a Chapter 39 proceeding; where the child is the subject of a proceeding in which the state is seeking the commitment or placement of the child for longer than 72 hours to a secure residential treatment facility, including licensed care under chapters 39, 393, 394, and 397 of the Florida Statutes; to a child involved in a Chapter 39 proceeding at the age of 16 years; in any case where someone is asserting a psychotherapist-patient waiver on behalf of a child; or for a child who is the subject of an application for services pursuant to Chapter 393, Florida Statutes, where the application was denied and the matter proceeds to the administrative appellate level.
  53. Supports legislation that maintains current uniform laws that have been enacted in Florida that pertain to Marital & Family Law.
  54. Supports legislation regarding child abduction prevention.
  55. Supports legislation that will allow a duly licensed attorney acting as a guardian ad litem in Chapter 61 proceedings to also act as the attorney for the guardian ad litem.
  56. Supports legislation that requires the court to allow an adoption entity to intervene in dependency proceedings where the parent has executed a consent for adoption.
  57. Opposes legislation that requires only a best interests standard in allowing a third party to be delegated or awarded timesharing or visitation with a minor child.
  58. Supports legislation in F.S. chapter 39 proceedings that would facilitate the establishment of paternity to achieve permanency for children.
  59. Supports legislation removing subsection (14) from § 61.30 of the Florida Statutes.
  60. Supports legislation that would advance funding for the development of a uniform objective statewide program for certifying and training Guardian Ad Litems under F.S. Chapter 61 cases.
  61. Supports continued consideration of both marital and non-marital assets in determining need and ability to pay for alimony awards.
  62. Supports codification of existing case law that an award of life insurance to secure an award of alimony can only happen in exceptional circumstances after determining need and ability to pay.
  63. Opposes any proposed legislation that would allow modification or termination of existing awards of alimony based solely on legislative changes to 61.08.
  64. Supports amendment of chapter 88 to fix certain “glitches” created by the 2011 amendments of the statute which provided for adoption of the 2008 version of Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.
  65. Opposes any rule or proposed legislation which attempts to limit the Court’s discretion in limiting suit money in temporary matters.
  66. Supports the codification of existing case law providing that retroactivity as to modification or termination of alimony awards shall be discretionary with the trial court.
  67. Supports the amendment of F.S. §61.08, to allow the court to consider adultery in determining the amount of alimony based upon specific findings that the adultery caused a significant depletion in the marital assets or caused a significant reduction in income
  68. Opposes bifurcation of dissolution of marriage actions except with a reservation of jurisdiction in exceptional circumstances when it is clearly necessary for the best interests of the parties or their children.
  69. Supports the codification of existing case law relating to the modification or termination of alimony awards consistent with Pimm v. Pimm, 601 So.2d 534 (Fla. 1992).
  70. Opposes legislation that would change the definition of “abandonment” under Chapter 63, Florida Statutes.
  71. Opposes amendments to Chapter 63, Florida Statutes, relating to adoption proceedings which contradict or conflict with Chapters 39 and/or 742, Florida Statutes, relating to paternity proceedings.
  72. Opposes amendments to the definition of unmarried biological father under Chapter 63, Florida Statutes.
  73. Opposes amendments to Chapter 63, Florida Statutes relating to the date the birth mother identifies the putative father.
  74. Opposes any amendments to the definition of “parent” under Chapter 63, Florida Statutes.
  75. Opposes removing or eliminating any requirement that a party search the putative father registry.
  76. Opposes excepting “safe haven” adoptions from DCF investigation.
  77. Opposes any amendments eliminating or reducing DCF’s responsibility to investigate any possible abuse, abandonment or neglect of a child.
  78. Opposes removing the court’s discretion to order scientific testing.
  79. Opposes any amendments reducing a father’s opportunity to establish his legal rights to a child.
  80. Opposes any requirement which reduces an identified putative unmarried biological father’s right to due process under Chapter 63, Florida Statutes.
  81. Opposes legislation that would seek to limit, to remove or to prohibit a party’s right to contract where no violation of the public policy of this state exists.
  82. Supports legislation that provides more predictability and certainty to courts in making alimony determinations.
  83. Opposes legislation that would completely eliminate judicial discretion in making alimony determinations.
  84. Supports legislation that promotes the active and equal involvement of both parents in parenting issues so long as courts are provided with discretion to create specific timesharing schedules on a case-by-case basis and the court is required to make written findings pursuant to the best interest factors in the Florida statutes.
  85. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.
  86. Supports legislation which bases the percentage of the elective share upon the length of the decedent’s marriage to the surviving spouse, in a scale that provides a lower percentage for shorter-length marriages and a higher percentage for longer-length marriages.
  87. Opposes any legislation that permits the administrative establishment of a timesharing schedule or parenting plan.
  88. Supports legislation providing that the legal age to marry should be eighteen (18).
  89. Supports the right of a biological parent to pursue and, when appropriate, establish his or her parental rights when the biological parent has demonstrated or evinced a settled purpose to assume parental responsibilities and when doing so would be in the best interest of the child.
  90. Supports the concept that a child may legally have two mothers, two fathers or, when appropriate, more than two parents. The best interests of the child must be the foremost concern in determining such matters.
  91. Supports legislation that includes general magistrates, child support hearing officers, administrative general magistrates and administrative hearing officers within the Senior Management Service Class of the Florida Retirement System.
  92. Opposes any legislation that authorizes the temporary placement of a child in a non-relative unlicensed respite home unless a licensed child placing agency conducts a home study, trains the respite family and monitors the child’s placement under generally accepted methods implemented to protect the child’s best interests.
  93. Opposes any legislation that removes, impedes or interferes with the Court’s ability to enforce any child support obligation, and (B) Opposes any legislation that removes, impedes or interferes with the Court’s and/or an Administrative Agency’s ability to enforce an order requiring an individual to submit to genetic testing.
  94. Supports legislation to provide for gender neutrality in marital and family legislation.
  95. Opposes the constitutional revision that has been proposed by Proposal 22 to Article 1, Section 23 of the Florida Constitution (Right of Privacy), limiting that right only to privacy of information and disclosure.
  96. Opposes the constitutional revision relating to grandparent’s visitation rights that has been proposed by Proposal 64 to Article I, Section 23 of the Florida Constitution (Right of Privacy), that provides that this section shall not be construed to limit those rights.
  97. Supports legislation that codifies and clarifies a parent’s obligation to support an incapacitated or dependent-in-fact adult child.
  98. Supports establishing conditions for the transition of custody and the return of a child to a parent under Chapter 751 when necessary to prevent detriment to the child and provided the parents’ fundamental rights are protected.
  99. Supports legislation promoting judicial education on attachment and bonding between children and caregivers, stable placement for children and the impacts of trauma on child development; and establishing Early Childhood Court Programs for infants and toddlers in dependency matters.
  100. Supports legislation that imposes uniformity upon, clarifies and simplifies administrative child support procedures for the ease of litigants, attorneys, and judicial officers.
  101. Opposes any legislation that by application or implication restricts or otherwise hampers the applicability of the Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction to any family or case in Florida.
  102. Supports amendment to chapter 61.13 which considers evidence of domestic violence and/or imminent danger of domestic violence occurring as it relates to parental responsibility or a factor in timesharing. (Added 1/27/23)
  103. Supports amendments to Florida’s domestic violence statutes and to 61.13 that would include consideration of imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence. (Added 1/27/23)
  104. Supports legislation that affords unwed parents’ rights and responsibilities when they have signed an unchallenged voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or otherwise established paternity under the law. (Added 3/3/2023)
  105. Supports amendments to current legislation that increases security for General Magistrates, Child Support Hearing Officers and their Administrative Assistants, including but not limited to expanded confidentiality and criminalization of threats or harassment. (Added 12/1/2023)
  106. Opposes legislation that permits a parent to make non-emergency unilateral changes to court-ordered timesharing exchange locations unless the parenting plan provides for sole parental responsibility or ultimate decision-making authority to the parent wishing to change the location, or there is a finding of domestic violence or child abuse by or against the other parent. (Added 12/1/2023)
  107. Supports legislation that makes it easier for stalking, domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, and sexual violence petitioners to complete paperwork to file for an Injunction for Protection and to prove the existence of a Final Judgment of Injunction for Protection. (Added 1/24/2024)
  108. Opposes any legislation that would place an irrebuttable cap on fees charged by a professional providing services under Florida Adoption Act. (Added 1/30/2024)
  109. Opposes any legislation that limits a party’s ability to pay reasonable court costs and litigation costs. (Added 1/30/2024)
  110. Opposes any legislation that limits a birth or adoptive parent from retaining competent counsel to prosecute their constitutional or legal rights. (Added 1/30/2024)
  111. Opposes any legislation that limits any party’s ability to retain competent counsel to represent their legal interests. (Added 1/30/2024)
  112. Opposes any legislation that limits a legal parent’s access to the court. (Added 1/30/2024)
  113. Supports legislation that attempts to exclude and protect the personal information of judicial clerks, court clerks, other judicial court support personnel, and judicial and quasi-judicial officers from public exposure. (Added 1/30/2024)

Government Lawyer Section

October 24, 2022

  1. Supports language in the Legislative Appropriations Act to permit the payment of government attorneys’ Florida Bar membership fees and continuing legal education costs from funds within budget entities, and further supports amendment to general law to authorize all Florida government agencies to pay their government attorneys’ Florida Bar membership fees and continuing education costs.
  2. Supports amendment to §119.071, Florida Statutes, to exempt from disclosure under the public records law, the home addresses and telephone numbers of all current and former government agency employees.
  3. Supports full legislative funding of the Prosecutor/Public Defender Training Program.
  4. Oppose all efforts to reduce the salaries and currently authorized benefits, including any change to the Florida Retirement System that would result in reduced benefits, for government lawyers.

Health Law Section

July 29, 2022

  1. Supports confidentiality of Professional Resource Network and Intervention Project for Nurses records and opposes legislation that imposes financial burdens on health care licensees who elect or are required to participate in those programs.
  2. Supports with respect to §456.0635, Florida Statues providing discretion to the practitioners’ licensing board and when there is no board, to the Department of Health, regarding eligibility for initial licensure and license renewal to assure that the practitioner has due process of law in obtaining or maintaining a Florida professional healthcare license.
  3. With respect to §456.072, Florida Statutes;
    1. Supports providing health care licensing practice boards with discretion regarding the imposition of costs against any party;
    2. Supports permitting assessment of costs on an individual basis and providing a mechanism for determining such costs but excluding “attorneys’ fees” from costs, as is the case in matters of civil litigation; and,
    3. Opposes imposing financial burdens on health care licensees: who are subjected to the unilateral assessment of costs, rather than those limited to a non-prevailing party; or who are subjected to mandatory disciplinary fines incapable of discretionary adjustment by an agency.
  4. With respect to Chapter 120, Florida Statutes, or other legislation impacting Chapter 120, Florida Statutes:
    1. Opposes undermining the rule-making requirements by allowing statements of agency policy without formal rule-making;
    2. Opposes restricting points of entry by substantially affected persons;
    3. Opposes exemptions or exceptions but otherwise supports a requirement that any exemption or exception be expressly provided for within Chapter 120;
    4. Opposes amendments that limit, restrict, or penalize full participation in the administrative process, in the absence of compelling justification or non-anecdotal evidence which demonstrates that the existing provisions of law are not adequately protecting the administrative due process rights of all participants;
    5. Supports voluntary use of mediation to resolve matters and the confidentiality of discussions in mediation;
    6. Opposes mandatory mediation and imposition of involuntary penalties associated with mediation; and,
    7. Supports uniformity of procedures and supports modification of such procedures only through amendment of or exceptions to the Uniform Rules of Procedure.

International Law Section

July 29, 2022

  1. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.

Out of State Division

October 24, 2022

  1. Supports amendment to §§733.302 and/or 733.304, Florida Statutes, to expand the class of nonresidents who may be appointed to serve as a personal representative of a Florida domestic probate estate to include nonresident Florida Bar members.
  2. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.

Public Interest Law Section

July 29, 2022

  1. Supports legislation recognizing the state’s legal obligation to provide medical, mental health and developmental services to all children in state custody who need such services.
  2. Supports adequate funding for mandated programs under the state’s Families in Need of Services and Children in Need of Services legislation pursuant to Chapter 984, Florida Statutes.
  3. Supports legislation prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation.
  4. Opposes any legislation that would eliminate, impair, or change the Interest on Trust Accounts (IOTA) Program.
  5. Supports legislation to clarify that children in shelter or foster care be accorded the protections of § 39.4085, Florida Statutes.
  6. Supports legislation to extend child health insurance coverage, including special health care needs, dental care, vision care, presumptive eligibility and continuous eligibility, to all children who are eligible for coverage under KidCare.
  7. Supports legislation to allow relatives with custody of a child pursuant to any court order to receive financial assistance under the Relative Caregiver Program.
  8. Supports a legislative prohibition against executing an intellectually disabled person.
  9. Supports legislation providing for court-appointed attorneys for children who are subject to abuse and neglect proceedings, to advocate for the children’s interests in legal proceedings affecting their placement and needed services.
  10. Resolves to call upon the state of Florida to not carry out the death penalty until Florida implements policies and procedures that are consistent with the following policies intended to:
    1. ensure that death penalty cases are administered fairly and impartially, in accordance with due process, and
    2. minimize the risk that innocent persons may be executed through:
      1. Implementing the American Bar Association’s “Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Counsel in Death Penalty Cases” (adopted February 1999) and ABA policies intended to encourage competency of counsel in capital cases (adopted February 1979, February 1988, February 1990, and August 1996);
      2. Preserving, enhancing, and streamlining state and federal courts’ authority and responsibility to exercise independent judgment on the merits of constitutional claims in state post-conviction and federal habeas corpus proceedings; and
      3. Striving to eliminate discrimination in capital sentencing on the basis of the race of either the victim or the defendant.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that in adopting this recommendation, apart from the policies enunciated above, the Public Interest Law Section of The Florida Bar take no position on the death penalty, other than that relating to offenders who are intellectually disabled or under the age of 18 at the time of the offenses.
  1. Opposes the expansion of the use of detention for purposes other than in response to charges for alleged acts of delinquency of a child.
  2. Supports legislation that would allow children, convicted and sentenced in criminal court, to serve their sentences under the jurisdiction of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
  3. Consistent with the final report of the Special Committee on the Legal Needs of Children, supports legislation giving the public access to information to properly scrutinize the Department of Children and Family Services’ and the Department of Juvenile Justices’ performance of its statutory duties to protect children from harm while protecting the confidentiality of the individual children and families involved.
  4. Consistent with the final report of the Special Committee on the Legal Needs of Children, supports legislation to provide for procedures to ensure that psychotropic medications are administered to children in the custodial care of the Department of Children and Families or in the juvenile justice system only when medically necessary and appropriate, rather than to control behavior of children who simply need mental health counseling or non-medication services.
  5. Consistent with the final report of the Special Committee on the Legal Needs of Children supports the following principles concerning school discipline: schools should have strong policies against gun possession and be safe places for students to learn and develop; in cases involving alleged student misbehavior, school officials should exercise sound discretion that is consistent with principles of due process and considers the individual student and the particular circumstances of misconduct; and alternatives to expulsion or referral for prosecution should be developed that will improve student behavior and school climate without making schools dangerous.
  6. Opposes, in principle, “zero tolerance” policies that have a discriminatory effect, or mandate either expulsion or referral of students to juvenile or criminal court, without regard to the circumstances or nature of the offense or the student’s history.
  7. Supports modification of the statutory provisions of the Road to Independence Act to enhance and expand the transition program to provide an option for continuation of foster care to youth ages 18 through 23, and to provide reasonable accommodations for youth with disabilities.
  8. Supports legislation stating that persons with any disabilities should not be deprived of any right guaranteed by law and should be free from any discrimination because of such disability.
  9. Supports the repeal or amendment of 775.0837 F. S. Habitual Misdemeanor offenders to the extent that it affects Florida’s homeless population.
  10. Supports legislation to reduce the use, by the state and private providers, of physical restraints on minors.
  11. Supports legislation that prohibits the use of tasers on minors.
  12. Supports legislation to facilitate unaccompanied, abused, neglected, or abandoned immigrant minor’s ability to access services including juvenile visas.
  13. Supports legislation to require that a child have a meaningful opportunity to consult with an attorney before waiving his/her right to counsel in a delinquency proceeding.
  14. Supports legislation to assure that state funding, resources and policies are directed to provide adequate housing for extremely low income persons, including persons with special needs.
  15. Opposes the indiscriminate use of chains and shackles by the Department of Juvenile Justice or others in transporting children.
  16. Consistent with the final Report of the Special Committee on the Legal Needs of Children, the Public Interest law Section supports legislation to restore judicial authority to determine the appropriateness of whether a child should be prosecuted in adult court.
  17. Supports a foreclosure process that adequately protects homeowners’ and tenants’ rights and ensures access to due process.
  18. Supports legislation that regulates the debt collection industry to ensure that consumers are not unfairly taken advantage of and are dealt with truthfully in providing any debt relief services.
  19. Supports a clarifying amendment to Florida’s garnishment statute, F.S. §222.11, and any related sections to assure adequate protection to the family’s income in the garnishment process, by eliminating ambiguity in the definition of terms, including “head of household,” and clarifying time periods.
  20. Supports legislation requiring unanimous jury verdicts in death penalty sentencing.
  21. Supports federal and state legislation and regulations to strengthen privacy protections for personally identifiable information in the Homeless Management Information System.
  22. Supports legislation adding homeless status, mental or physical disability, or advanced age of the victim to the Hate Crimes Reporting Act (F.S. §877.19) to require reporting on all protected classes under the Hate Crimes Law (F.S. §775.085).
  23. Supports implementation of a death penalty moratorium in Florida pending action in response to the Board of Governor’s legislative position supporting a comprehensive review of Florida’s entire death penalty process by all branches of government, which ideally would place emphasis upon a range of concerns identified in credible research like the findings and recommendations of the American Bar Association’s Florida Death Penalty Assessment Team Report (2006) that bear upon the fairness, accuracy and impartiality of the administration thereof.
  24. Supports legislation to reduce barriers to reentry and community reintegration faced by people with arrest and conviction records.
  25. Supports legislation to reduce barriers to employment for people with arrest and conviction records.
  26. Supports legislation to reduce barriers to securing housing for people with arrest and conviction records.
  27. Supports the restoration of individuals’ civil rights to vote, eligibility to serve on a jury and hold public office upon completion of sentence for all applicable Florida felony convictions of record.
  28. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.
  29. Supports legislation to promote and enhance the quality and expertise of attorneys in juvenile cases.
  30. Opposes any legislation that would increase the cost to consumers for any non-commercial loans or cause a reduction in consumer protections for non-commercial loans.
  31. Supports legislation limiting and/or restricting the Baker Acts of Minor Children.
  32. Opposes any legislation to permit the addition of scheduled fees paid by tenants in lieu of security deposits in residential landlord tenant relationships where the tenant is not protected from subrogation claims. (Added 10/24/2022)

Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section

July 29, 2022

1. Probate, Trust & Guardianship / Estate Planning

  1. Opposes the expansion of classes that are to serve as agents under a power of attorney beyond the current class of individuals and financial institutions with trust powers.
  2. Supports legislation to provide for alienation of plan benefits under the Florida Retirement System (§121.131 and §121.091 Florida Statutes) Municipal Police Pensions (§185.25 Florida Statutes) and Firefighter Pensions (§175.241 Florida Statutes) in a dissolution proceeding and authorizing such alienation of benefits in a dissolution of marriage under §61.076 Florida Statutes.
  3. Supports legislation to (1) change the titles of §222.11 Florida Statutes to clearly reflect that this statute applies to earnings and is not limited to “wages” (2) provide an expanded definition of “earnings” because the term “wages” is not the exclusive method of compensation and (3) add deferred compensation to the exemption statute.
  4. Supports enactment of new Section 689.151 to the Florida Statutes to: (1) permit an owner of personal property to create a tenancy by the entireties by a direct transfer to the owner and owner’s spouse, or a joint tenancy with right of survivorship by a direct transfer to the owner and another person or persons, without requiring an intermediate transfer through a strawman, (2) permit joint tenants to hold unequal shares or interests in personal property in a joint tenancy with right of survivorship while retaining the right of survivorship, (3) and facilitate proving the existence of tenancies by the entireties and joint tenancies with right of survivorship in personal property by codifying and clarifying existing common law evidentiary presumptions.
  5. Supports legislation to amend Fla. Stat. Sec 198.41 to render Chapter 198 (which imposes the Florida estate tax) ineffective for as long as there is no federal state death tax credit or no federal generation-skipping transfer tax credit allowable under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. (Added 10/24/2022)
  6. Supports proposed legislation which would amend Section 117.201, Florida Statutes, to create a definition of “witness” (when used as a noun) for purposes of remote online notarization and witnessing of electronic documents. (Added 12/2/2022)

 

2. Probate, Trust & Guardianship / Guardianship & Advance Directives

  1. Supports legislation to amend the Baker Act to include a provision under which a guardian may request that the court grant the guardian the authority to involuntarily hospitalize a ward pursuant to the Baker Act.
  2. Opposes the adoption of summary guardianship proceedings outside the protections of Chapter 744, Florida Statutes.
  3. Opposes amendments to F.S. §393.12 that would (i) remove the existing requirement that a guardian advocate for a developmentally disabled adult must be represented by an attorney if the guardian advocate is delegated authority to manage property, (ii) remove the existing requirement that the petition to appoint a guardian advocate must disclose the identity of the proposed guardian advocate, and (iii) expand the list of individuals entitled to receive notice of the guardian advocate proceedings.
  4. Supports clarification of the definition of “income” for calculating Veterans guardianship fees, including an amendment to §744.604, Fla. Stat.
  5. Supports amendments to the Florida Guardianship Law to protect the interest of incapacitated persons, especially minor wards, by making settlements on their behalf confidential.
  6. Opposes the expansion of chapter 709 to include the authority of a parent to assign the custody and control of a minor child through a power of attorney unless proper procedural safeguards are included to assure the proper care and welfare of the minor children.
  7. Supports creation of new statutory procedures for the service of examining committee reports and deadlines for the service and filing of objections to such reports in incapacity proceedings, including revision to s. 744.331, F.S.
  8. Supports proposed legislation to recognize Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) under Florida law with appropriate protections to prevent violations of due process for the benefit of the citizens of Florida and the protection of medical professionals and emergency responders who withhold or withdraw treatment based upon POLST, including the amendment of ss. 395.1041, 400.142, 400.487, 400.605, 400.6095, 401.35, 401.45, 429.255, 429.73, 765.205, 456.072, and the creation of s. 401.46, F.S.; and opposes efforts to adopt POLST (Physician Ordered Life Sustaining Treatment) in Florida without appropriate procedural safeguards to protect the wishes of patients and prior advance directives made by the patient.
  9. Opposes amendment to the Florida Constitution, including Commission Proposal 30, which would prevent removal of rights of a person based upon mental disability or mental incapacity unless appropriate safeguards to protect existing guardianship and mental health statutes and which would allow the legislature to establish laws which are intended to protect the welfare of the person and which comply with due process.
  10. Supports amendment to Florida Statues §744.3701 to clarify exiting law on the standard for the court’s ordering the production of confidential documents in guardianship proceedings and the parties who have the right to access confidential documents without court order.
  11. Supports amendment to Florida Statutes, including Florida Statutes § 744.331, amending the current statutory procedure for dismissal of a petition to determine incapacity to require a unanimous finding by the examining committee that a person is not incapacitated and creating a new statutory procedure which would allow for the presentation of additional evidence before a petition to determine incapacity is dismissed in the event that there is a unanimous finding of the examining committee that a person is not incapacitated.
  12. Supports amendment to Florida Statutes, including Florida Statutes § 744.1097, to specifically address venue for the appointment of a guardian in minor guardianships proceedings.
  13. Opposes Florida’s adoption of the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (including the Florida Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act) unless the act is substantially revised to provide for better due process protections for incapacitated individuals more consistent with Florida’s laws and rewritten with vocabulary consistent with Florida’s guardianship laws.
  14. Supports a revision to Florida’s Guardianship Law through the proposed Florida Guardianship Code to modernize Florida’s current guardianship laws in order to increase the protections for incapacitated individuals in Florida, to reduce the cost and expense associated with guardianship proceedings, to increase review and oversight of private and professional guardians, and to install procedural components to allow for remote proceedings in light of the recent pandemic. (Added 12/2/2022)
  15. Supports legislation that provides for the continued rights of a ward to receive visitors and communicate with others when such contact would not be potentially harmful to the ward and oppose legislation that would:
    1. allow for jury trials in proceedings initiated under Chapter 744,
    2. allow for trials in proceedings related to contesting the validity of wills or revocable trusts prior to the death of the testator/settlor, except as otherwise provided by law,
    3. require the re-evaluation of wards without the filing of a suggestion of capacity or the exercise of the court’s discretion,
    4. require a guardianship proceeding to be transferred to a new judge after the establishment of a guardianship without a substantive basis, or
    5. provide for a blanket requirement that any and all family members of the ward related by blood, marriage or adoption have access to guardianship inventories, accountings, or other financial information of the ward. (Added 12/1/2023)

3. Probate, Trust & Guardianship / Probate

  1. Opposes any efforts to enact a statutory will.
  2. Opposes amendment to §733.302, F. S., to expand the class of non-residents which may serve as personal representative because of a concern that any addition to the class may subject the entire statute to a renewed constitutional challenge.
  3. Supports clarification of a person’s rights to direct disposition of his or her remains, providing guidance to courts and family members, especially when disputes arise, and absent specific directions, clarifying who is authorized to decide the place and manner of the disposition of a decedent’s remains, including an amendment replacing F.S. § 732.804.
  4. Supports proposed legislation allowing a testator to deposit their original will with the clerk’s office for safekeeping during their lifetime, and for other custodians to deposit original wills with the clerk for safekeeping when the testator cannot be located.
  5. Opposes legislation, including 2019 Florida Senate Bill 548 and House Bill 409, that would permit remote notarization or remote witnessing of all estate and incapacity planning instruments and related spousal waivers (including electronic wills, powers of attorney, living wills, advance directives, and trust instruments having testamentary aspects), unless such legislation is amended:
    1. to safeguard the citizens of Florida from fraud and exploitation;
    2. to include protections to ensure the integrity, security, and authenticity of a remotely notarized or remotely witnessed instrument; and
    3. to require witnesses be physically present when such documents are executed or other procedures to protect the citizens of Florida, particularly vulnerable adults and the elderly who may have diminished mental capacity or be susceptible to fraud, undue influence, coercion, or duress.
  6. Opposes proposed legislation that would allow banks or other financial institutions in Florida to distribute funds from any account in the name of the decedent (with no pay-on-death or survivor designation) in the absence of an appropriate probate proceeding or other court proceeding, unless safeguards are put in place to protect the rights and interests of persons rightfully entitled to the proceeds, the constitutional rights of the decedent to direct the disposition of his or her property, and the rights of creditors to recover debts through a probate proceeding.
  7. Supports proposed legislation amending Section 733.610, Florida Statues, by expanding the categories of entities and persons related to the personal representative for purposes of determining whether the personal representative, or someone sufficiently related to the personal representative for conflict purposes, hold a substantial beneficial or ownership interest that could create a conflict of interest when engaging in a sale, encumbrance, or other transaction.
  8. Supports proposed legislation relating to electronic wills and to the testamentary aspects of electronic revocable trusts, that retains the requirement that two subscribing witnesses sign in the physical presence of the testator and provides for protections to ensure the integrity, security, and authenticity of an electronically signed will or trust.
  9. Opposes amendments to the personal representative and trustee attorney fee compensation statutes contained in the Florida Probate Code and the Florida Trust Code unless the amendments preserve the policies currently reflected in each of those codes.
  10. Supports legislation clarifying existing Florida law by statutorily exempting title disputes arising under the Florida Uniform Disposition of Community Property Rights at Death Act (“Act”) from Florida’s probate creditor claims procedure; creating a new dispute resolution mechanism and 2-year statute of repose specifically designed for title disputes arising under the Act, and making narrowly focused modifications to the Act and other related provisions of the Florida Probate Code to reduce the risk of unintended forfeitures of the property rights the Act is intended to preserve. (Added 9/8/2023)

 

4. Probate, Trust & Guardianship / Trust

  1. Opposes legislation abrogating a trustee’s duties of loyalty and duties of full and fair disclosure in connection with affiliated investments by a corporate trustee.
  2. Supports proposed amendments to F.S. Chapter 736, which provide much needed clarification and guidance regarding the applicability of constitutional devise restrictions and exemption from creditors’ claims provisions, as well as the timing and method of passage of title to homestead real property, when that homestead real property is devised through a revocable trust at the time of a settlor’s death, including amendment to F.S. §736.0103, , the creation of F.S. §736.0508, and the creation of F.S. §736.08115.
  3. Supports proposed legislation which would amend s. 736.0708(1), F.S., to provide that when multiple trustees serve together as cotrustees, each cotrustee is entitled to reasonable compensation and that the aggregate compensation charged by all the trustees may be greater than reasonable compensation for a single trustee.
  4. Supports proposed amendments to ss. 736.08135(3) and 736.1008(3), F.S., to clarify the duty of a Trustee to account to the qualified beneficiaries of a trust and the form and content of a trust accounting prepared on or after July 1, 2017, and to clarify that the period for which qualified beneficiaries can seek trust accountings.
  5. Supports proposed legislation to update Florida’s Uniform Principal and Income Act, which generally follows the new Uniform Fiduciary Income and Principal Act, in order to achieve greater consistency among state laws, but including certain modifications that reflect Florida public policy choices. (Added 7/28/2023)

 

5. Probate, Trust & Guardianship / Miscellaneous

  1. Opposes the amendment of Ch. 726, F.S., by replacing the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act with the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (the “UVTA”) unless changes are made to protect the rights of Florida citizens to engage in certain sound and legitimate business, estate, and tax planning techniques and transactions which are currently permitted under Florida law; which do not hinder, delay or defraud creditors; and which do not enhance or diminish the utilization of self-settled spendthrift trusts or single-member limited liability companies by Florida citizens.
  2. Supports proposed legislation protecting Florida Residents from unintentionally assigning, pledging or waiving rights to assets that otherwise are exempt from legal process under Chapter 222 of the Florida Statutes by implementing clearly defined requirements for waiving the protection of such exemptions.

 

6. Real Property / Condominiums and Planned Developments

  1. Supports amendments to Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, Condominiums, and Chapter 719 Florida Statutes, Cooperatives, to require that engineers, architects and other design professionals and manufacturers warrant the fitness of the work they perform on condominiums or cooperatives.
  2. Opposes amendments to Chapter 720, F.S., that would require both pre-suit mediation and pre-suit arbitration before filing a civil action over homeowners’ association disputes.
  3. Supports legislation providing for electrical elements to three-year warranty, extend subcontractor and supplier warranties to the contractor and to clarify start date for five-year warranty deadline set forth in F.S. §718.203(1)(e).
  4. Supports clarification of Ch 718, F.S.: to confirm that certain operational provisions do not apply to nonresidential condominium associations; to define “nonresidential condominiums;” to clarify that the Division’s arbitration program only pertains to residential condominiums; to provide an effective date.
  5. Supports legislation to remove the requirement that statutory late fees must be set forth in a condominium or homeowners’ association declaration or bylaws in order for those charges to be imposed, to allow for the collection of such fees by all condominium and homeowner associations, including amendments to F.S. §§718.116 & 718.3085.
  6. Supports legislation to differentiate the administration of nonresidential condominiums from residential condominiums and to eliminate for nonresidential condominium associations certain provisions not appropriate in a commercial setting, including amendments to F.S. Ch. 718.
  7. Opposes legislation that changes the definition of the practice of law to exclude from the definition a community association manager’s interpretation of documents or statutes that govern a community association, determination of title to real property, or completion of documents that require interpretation of statutes or the documents that govern a community association, including opposition to SB1466, SB1496, HB7037 and CS/HB7039 (2014).
  8. Supports amending Florida Condominium law pertaining to the termination of condominiums to protect unit owners and provide certainty and predictability to the process.
  9. Opposes creation of criminal penalties for violations of statutes pertaining to condominium association official records and condominium association elections, as well as any change to create criminal penalties for any violation of the Florida Condominium Act for which a criminal penalty does not already exist, including changes to §718.111(12) F.S., and creation of new statutory provisions within Ch. 718 F.S., or otherwise.
  10. Supports replacing mandatory presuit arbitration with the Division of Condominiums for certain disputes between a condominium association and unit owner with mandatory presuit private mediation, including a change to Fla. Stat. 34.01, 718.013, 718.112, 718.117, 718.1255, 718.303, 720.303, 720.306 and 720.311.
  11. Opposes continuing to allow fines in excess of $1,000 in homeowner associations to become liens for non-monetary damages against the parcel that can be foreclosed, including a change to Fla. Stat. 720.305(2).
  12. Supports legislation to clarify that a condominium association has the right to represent its unit owner members in a class action defense, including when an association challenges ad valorem assessments on behalf of its unit owner members to the value adjustment board, and the property appraiser subsequently appeals the VAB’s decision to increase owners’ taxes. In such instance, the association may represent its unit owner members as a group pursuant to F.R.C.P. 1.221 and Florida Statutes §718.111(3).
  13. Supports legislation amending Section 718.113 and Section 718.115 to clarify and enhance the ability of condominium associations and condominium unit owners to use hurricane shutters and other types of hurricane protection to protect condominium property, association property and the personal property of unit owners, and reduce insurance costs for condominium associations and unit owners.
  14. Supports legislation resolving technical inconsistencies and errors within Chapters 718 and 720, Florida Statutes, that have arisen due to multiple revisions of the Chapters and to provide additional clarification as to how Chapters 718 and 720 are to be applied.

 

7. Real Property / Contracts and Disclosures

  1. Opposes legislation requiring multiple disclosures by sellers of real property, creating contract rescission rights for buyers and seller liability for damages.
  2. Opposes legislation requiring parties to record notices, warnings or reports regarding the physical condition of land or improvements in the public records regarding the title to real property.

 

8. Real Property / Corporations and LLCs

  1. Opposes legislation requiring a Florida corporation or limited liability company to publish notice of its proposed sale of assets other than in regular course of business, or to publish notice of dissolution, including changes to F.S. §607.1202 and §608.4262.

 

9. Real Property / Courts

  1. Oppose the creation of “pilot” court divisions without funding, evaluation criteria, rules of procedure, and competency criteria for magistrates without consideration for current alternate dispute resolution processes.
  2. Supports procedures to preserve due process by providing courts with authority to appoint attorney, administrator and guardian ad litems to serve on behalf of known persons, or unknown persons, having claims by, though, under or against a person who is deceased or whose status is unknown, and confirming the sufficiency of prior proceedings in which ad litems have been appointed, including amendment of F.S. §49.021.
  3. Supports proposed legislation to amend section 28.223, Florida Statutes, governing Clerks of the Circuit Courts, to ensure the availability of necessary information about deceased individuals contained in the land records maintained by the Clerks so that proper heirs can be identified in the chain of title and protect the public interest of certainty in the ownership of real property. (Added 10/9/2023)

 

10. Real Property / Foreclosures and Judicial Sales

  1. Oppose legislation which would require a foreclosing creditor to notify the debtor that filing a bankruptcy petition before the foreclosure sale may permit the debtor to retain the property and reorganize the indebtedness.
  2. Opposes any amendment to existing Florida law governing real property foreclosures unless those amendments carefully preserve and protect the property rights and due process rights of the holders of interests in or affecting Florida real property.
  3. Supports legislation that will expand the finality of foreclosure judgments provided by §702.036 Fla. Stat. (2021) to include liens other than mortgage foreclosures, such as community association liens and construction liens. (Added 10/24/2022)

 

11. Real Property / Liens and Encumbrances

  1. Opposes efforts to create a lien on real property for work that does not add value to the property, and would permit liens against the property of a person other than the party owing a debt.
  2. Supports amendment to F.S. §695.01 and ch 162 to reduce problems regarding hidden liens by: (i) requiring all governmental liens (other than taxes, special assessments and those for utility services) to be recorded in the official records and to state their priority; (ii) clarifying the priority of liens asserted by local governments; and (iii) expanding the homestead determination mechanisms of F.S. §222.01 to apply to other types of liens.
  3. Supports amendments: to s. 95.11(2) and (5), F.S., as to the statute of limitations for actions on payment bonds; to s. 713.08(3) (the statutory form for a claim of lien) to include the separate statement required by F.S. 713.08(1)(c); to s. s. 713.13, F.S. to delete the requirement that the notice of commencement be verified and to clarify the timing of the expiration date of the notice of commencement; to s. 713.18, F.S. as to electronic confirmation of delivery through the U.S. Postal Service.
  4. Supports amendment of: F.S. §713.10(2)(b) to provide that a blanket notice recorded by a landlord remains valid and the landlord’s property interest will not be liable for liens arising from tenant improvements even if the leases contain different versions of the lien prohibition language or no lien prohibition language at all, under certain circumstances; and F.S. §713.10(3) to require inclusion of specific language in any claim of lien premised on a landlord’s failure to comply so as to provide record notice of the basis of such a claim by a lienor, and to provide that any lien will not take effect as to third parties without notice until 30 days after the recording of the claim of lien.
  5. Opposes selective increase of recording expense to only construction claims of lien, adding additional filing requirements, and concluding that filing a lien beyond the statutory 90-day period is an act of fraud, including opposing amendments to F.S. §§28.24 & 713.08.
  6. Supports the passage of an amendment to existing s. 713.132(3), F.S. to allow termination of a notice of commencement, provided for under s. 713.135, F.S., at any time whether or not construction has ceased as required under existing law.
  7. Supports proposed legislation to: (1) clarify that the interest of a lessor is not subject to improvements made by the lessee of a mobile home lot in s. 713.10, F.S.; and (2) eliminate ambiguity regarding whether the expiration date on a notice of commencement may be less than one year from the date of recording, including an amendment to s.713.13, F.S.
  8. Supports legislative changes to construction lien law in the state of Florida, including changes to Fla. Stat. Ch. 255 and 713.

 

12. Real Property / Miscellaneous

  1. Opposes abolishment of causes of action for architect, engineer, surveyor and mapper professional negligence and other professional breaches of duty.
  2. Opposes legislation authorizing the use of security deposit replacement products (aka fees in lieu of security deposits) unless such legislation includes consumer protection provisions that safeguard tenants from predatory practices. (Added 10/24/2022)
  3. Supports proposed amendments to 1.01, Florida Statues, eliminating ambiguities throughout the Florida statutes where service of process or notice is required to be served by “registered mail,” and/or “certified mail return receipt requested.” The proposal will allow litigants and attorneys greater leeway in the selection of the method of delivery of process and notice through the United States Postal Services and alternative delivery services which also provide electronic confirmation of delivery, i,e. UPS, DHS, FedEx. (Added 10/9/23)

 

13. Real Property / Property Rights

  1. Opposes any legislation limiting property owners’ rights or limiting attorneys’ fees in condemnation proceedings.
  2. Opposes legislation expanding the definition of sovereign beaches, public beaches or beach access rights over privately owned property without due process of law or compensation for taking of private property rights.
  3. Supports legislation to provide a statutory definition for Ejectment actions, provide for jurisdiction in the circuit courts for such actions, eliminate any ambiguity over whether pre-suit notice is required in such actions, and update the language in the existing Ejectment statute.
  4. Supports proposed legislation expanding applicability of §697.07 (Assignment of Rents) and §702.10 (Order to Make Payments During Foreclosure) to third parties who acquire properties subject to a mortgage.
  5. Supports proposed legislation addressing Section 704.09, Florida Statutes, creating easement, servitudes, and other matters affecting real property owned by the same owner. (Added 10/9/2023)

 

14. Real Property / Recording

  1. Opposes legislation that impairs the integrity of the recording system in the State of Florida.

 

15. Real Property / Title Insurance

  1. Opposes any portion of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Title Insurers Model Act and Title Insurance Agent Model Act that may adversely affect Florida attorneys’ ability to participate in real estate closing and the issuance of title insurance.
  2. Opposes adoption of a “file and use” system for the determination of title insurance rates in the State of Florida, supplanting a promulgated rate system in which the state regulatory agency determines rates based on actuarial analysis of statutorily determined criteria.
  3. Opposes elimination of the requirement that title insurance agencies deposit securities having a value of $35,000 or a bond in that amount for the benefit of any title insurer damaged by an agency’s violation of its contract with the insurer.

Tax Section

July 29, 2022

  1. Supports amendments to the taxpayer bill of rights to require the Department of Revenue, when auditing taxpayers, to look for both overpayments and underpayments and specifically require that the Department advise taxpayers of any overpayments and explain the taxpayer’s rights to recover the same by offset, refund or otherwise.
  2. Supports amendments to the taxpayer bill of rights and appropriate refund statutes to allow purchasers to apply for and receive sales tax refunds directly from the Department. The Department would be required to look solely to the dealer, as its collection agent, for verification of remittance of taxes to the State.
  3. Supports legislation to provide for accrual of interest from receipt of refund application with proviso that no interest is payable if the refund is paid within 90 days of filing of the refund application. Legislation also conforms handling of the other refund applications to current law governing corporate income tax overpayments, and changes interest rate payable on refunds paid by Department without audit and later determined to have been paid in error.
  4. Supports legislation to simplify the venue statue for taxpayer actions to permit the filing of an action either in Leon County or in any other county in the state where the taxpayer is a resident or has an office, store or other fixed business location.
  5. Supports amendments to the taxpayers’ bill of rights to require that the Department of Revenue maintain an index of judicial decisions and maintain this index in a form which taxpayers can utilize.
  6. Supports legislation to allow taxpayers to submit evidence of the exempt status of a sale in litigation under Chapter 72 or Chapter 120, Florida Statutes, even if that evidence was not previously submitted to the Department of Revenue during audit or any informal protest proceeding.
  7. Supports legislation granting Department of Revenue authority to promulgate administrative rules regarding bond waiver rulemaking authority.
  8. Opposes adoption of the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act in Florida.
  9. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.

Trial Lawyers Section

July 29, 2022

  1. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.
  2. Supports efforts of the Trial Lawyers Section to lobby the legislature for additional finding for its Teacher’s Law Symposium. (Added 3/1/2023)
  3. Opposes that portion of Senate Bill 248 that seeks to include requirements of a probable cause finding by an administrative agency as a condition of recovery of damages. The provision would apply to disciplinary proceedings as set forth in section456.073(4) against a health care practitioner licensed by the Florida Department of Health and would amend section 768.21 to state that absent a finding of probable cause no such damages could be recovered. (Added 12/1/2023)

Workers' Compensation Section

July 29, 2022

  1. Supports any changes in the current workers’ compensation law that would: ensure the independence of the judges of compensation claims’ ability to discharge the duties of their office in the adjudicatory process, including a reappointment process that promotes and ensures the independence of the judiciary; and ensure the right of injured workers to have their cases reviewed by an Article V court.
  2. Supports any legislation that would streamline and make more efficient the administration of justice in the workers’ compensation system.
  3. Supports any legislation that would further enforce the insurance coverage requirements of the Workers’ Compensation Act.
  4. Supports the elimination of exemptions to workers’ compensation coverage within the construction industry.
  5. Supports legislation which promotes access to courts, due process and the ability of employer/carriers, self-insureds and employees to obtain legal representation in the handling of workers’ compensation claims.
  6. Supports legislation which would ensure the independence of the Consumer Advocate within the office of the Chief Financial Officer.
  7. Opposes legislation restricting the payment of attorney’s fees – either to the attorney of the injured worker or to the attorney for the employer/carrier/self-insured.
  8. Supports an increase in the salaries of Judges of Compensation Claims.
  9. Opposes any legislation that abolishes the statewide nominating commission for judges of compensation claims.