One of the most apt descriptions of politics theorizes that it’s really all about who gets what, when, and how. With the 2010 elections having delivered Republicans supermajorities—veto proof power—in both of Florida’s Legislative chambers, along with new Republican Governor Rick Scott, the 2011 legislative session was seen by some watchers as the first of many opportunities for Florida’s uber-empowered legislative and executive branches to rubber-stamp each other’s ideas.
Much of the recently concluded legislative session was driven by the thorny problem of a nearly $4 billion budget deficit. As it turns out, not all the decision-makers were in agreement on what, when and how to trim the budget. In the end, in-fighting among the many major players served to narrow the focus on reforms; specifically in the areas of Medicaid, state pensions and education, among other hot-button voter issues.
The net result, according to Donna DiMaggio Berger, Esq., executive director of the Florida Statewide Community Advocacy Network (CANFL), and the managing partner at the Fort Lauderdale-area law firm of Katzman, Garfinkel & Berger, specializing in the representation of community associations, was “a more subdued legislative session compared to previous years” in terms of actual activity impacting associations and homeowners.
In 2010’s session, the Florida legislature passed Senate Bill 1196 (SB1196), which Berger characterized as having made substantive changes to the regulation and operation of condo associations, especially in granting associations additional tools with which to deal with non-paying owners—suspension of use rights, ability to collect tenant rents and evict tenants who fail to comply. Berger added that the 2011 session, which saw the passage of House Bill 1195 (HB 1195), was “more about sharpening those tools as opposed to creating new or more powerful tools.”
This particular bill addressed some lingering issues created by SB1196 in a few key areas, including clarification of the following: