The Section has a well-recognized legislative program, which largely focuses on the development of legislation concerning real property, probate and trust law. A Section legislative or political position may be in the form of opposition to or support of a particular matter and may be expressed as a general concept or statement of policy, or a comprehensive legislative proposal. Because the Section’s effective legislative program has earned a high degree of respect and a reputation for expertise and credibility among members of the Legislature, legislative staff and legislative consultants, the Section is frequently called upon to provide them with technical assistance.
The Section’s legislative program is coordinated internally by its committee chairs, the directors of its two substantive Divisions (Real Property Law and Probate and Trust Law), and its Legislation Committee, which also acts as the Section’s liaison for legislative matters with its outside legislative consultants, the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar, legislative and administrative bodies, and other groups having an interest in the Section’s legislative initiatives. The adoption of a proposed legislative position by the Section requires a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Council (or the Executive Committee when time constraints require that action be taken prior to the next Executive Council meeting). The proposed legislative position then goes to the Board of Governors for review to determine whether it should prohibit the Section from advocating the position. The Section’s legislative consultants then recruit House and Senate sponsors for the Section’s initiatives and shepherd them through the legislative process, including coordination with legislative staff and bill drafting, attending legislative committee meetings, and dealing with amendments and a wide range of issues raised by other interests and legislators.
The Section’s legislative consultants typically review more than 2000 bills in each legislative session and identify and track the 200 or so that appear to be of particular interest to the Section. Leading up to and during each legislative session, the legislative consultants and approximately twenty Section leaders also participate in weekly telephone conferences. The Section had more than twenty initiatives in more than ten bills before the Florida Legislature in this past session.