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Engineered Life Safety System (ELSS) Lobbying Initiative

 For the 2018 Legislative Session, Becker & Poliakoff’s Community Association Leadership Lobby’s (CALL) will once again tackle the thorny issue of older Florida high-rises that have previously opted out of sprinkler systems still being required to retrofit with an Engineered Life Safety System (ELSS). If your community would like to be part of this effort, we urge you to join this year’s initiative.

As you probably know, in 2017 we approached the ELSS conundrum with the brilliant strategy mapped out by our lead lobbyist, former state senator and Becker & Poliakoff shareholder, Ellyn Bogdanoff. We successfully passed HB 653 – a bill that would have saved associations millions of dollars by not requiring them to retrofit older high rises with an ELSS – only to receive a crushing blow when Governor Scott vetoed our bill.

Our story doesn’t end there though. The main lesson we’ve learned since CALL’s creation is that private residential communities have much more power than they know in terms of shaping positive legislation and fending off harmful bills. To that end, Ellyn Bogdanoff will lead a new strategy this year to pass meaningful legislation which successfully addresses the ELSS issue. If you live in an older high-rise which does not have sprinklers installed throughout or an ELSS, you will want to be educated and involved on this topic.

Ellyn has been in close contact with Senator Passidomo, our Senate sponsor, who has expressed concerns with the potential cost of installation and is willing to do something about it. Ellyn also believes that Representative Moraitis, our House sponsor, will support the effort given the right approach. After analyzing the politics and speaking with many of our CALL members, Ellyn will spearhead the effort by asking for yet another extension to retrofit, clarification on what components constitute an ELSS to create a uniform standard throughout Florida and the pursuit of language that does not allow sprinklers to be included as a mandatory component of an ELSS. Arguably, the Fire Marshalls have exceeded their statutory authority when they require fire sprinklers because Florida Law allows associations to opt out of sprinklers.  We know they have broad authority, but we need to challenge their right to violate Florida statute.

All lobby participants will receive regular updates from Ellyn starting in January and have access to Ellyn throughout the process. We strongly encourage you to become involved in the legislative process that shapes your communities. For more information please contact us at bplobby@bplegal.com.


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