Florida Bicycle Association Q & A
As you may be aware, the Florida Bicycle Association is facing a cut in funding by an amendment being attached to HB 801 and SB 7062 – specialty license plate bills. The amendment originated in the House and has been adopted without objection – this was before FBA knew the amendment existed.
We were notified that the corresponding amendment filed by Senator Brandes was going through Senate committees and had less than 24 hours to react to the first committee appearance. It passed, but there was a post-vote discussion that it needs research. Use this link and start around 19:55
The amendment next goes before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development. To date, the bill has not been scheduled to go before this committee.
The Senate members of this committee are:
Senator Latvala – Pinellas County/Clearwater – https://www.flsenate.gov/senators/s20
Senator Brandes – Pinellas County/St. Pete – https://www.flsenate.gov/senators/s22
Senator Clemens – Lake Worth – https://www.flsenate.gov/senators/s27
Senator Gibson – Jacksonville – https://www.flsenate.gov/senators/s9
Senator Detert – Venice – https://www.flsenate.gov/senators/s28
Senator Diaz de la Portilla – Miami – https://www.flsenate.gov/senators/s40
Senator Sachs – Delray – https://www.flsenate.gov/senators/s34
Senator Thompson – Orlando – https://www.flsenate.gov/senators/s12
Both FBA and Bike Florida were surprised by the filing of this bill. It is apparent that Representative Beshears, who originated the amendment in the House, is of the opinion that the Florida Bicycle Association is mishandling the Share the Road license plate proceeds. To this point, Rep Beshears believes the proceeds should be streamlined to one organization, Bike Florida, because Bike Florida is visibly doing things with the proceeds such as the Celebration of Cycling event and the recent $25,000 Share the Road Challenge Grant.
It’s hard to defend the work of our Association since 1997 in a 5 minute phone call, yet alone a 2 minute committee meeting appearance. It would be hard just to discuss the work FBA accomplished in 2015. We know we are doing good things and to that extent, we list our accomplishments and history on our website for anyone with internet access to read for themselves:
Numerous phone calls and emails have been received since last week and the posting of our ACTION ALERT. Membership received an update via email and will continue to receive updates in this manner. For those of you who are not members but support the cause, and we thank you for the support, here’s a little Q & A recently received and answered:
Q: How much did FBA receive from license plates last year?
Q: How is FBA mandated to use this money by the state?
A: As per Florida Statute 320.08058 Specialty license plates:
(30) SHARE THE ROAD LICENSE PLATES.—
(a) The department shall develop a Share the Road license plate as provided in this section. The word “Florida” must appear at the top of the plate, and the words “Share the Road” must appear at the bottom of the plate.
(b) The annual use fees shall be distributed to Bike Florida, Inc., up to 25 percent of which shall be used for marketing and promotion of the “Share the Road” concept and license plate. The remaining funds shall be divided equally between Bike Florida, Inc., and the Florida Bicycle Association, Inc., to be used for:
1. Education and awareness programs, for bicycle safety and motorist safety, with emphasis on sharing the roadway by all users.
2. Training, workshops, educational materials, and media events.
3. The promotion of safe bicycling.
Q: If FBA is mandated to use the money on education and/or bike safety, what amount of money last year was spent on bike education? Does FBA conduct any actual bike education or training seminars, on-bike education, etc?
A: It is difficult to pinpoint an exact dollar figure for bike education since FBA is delivering bicycle education outreach in everything it does, i.e. presentations, booths/exhibits at events, newsletter (hard copy and electronic version), membership e-blast updates, blog, social media, etc., resulting in executive director salary and travel expenses. FBA is not physically teaching a bicycle education class, i.e. LAB curriculum or CyclingSavvy, but is presenting FBA’s Complete Streets Savvy (CSS), a general, non-confrontational bicycle educational presentation. The purpose is to provide basic information with regards to the Florida Department of Transportation’s adoption of Complete Streets policy and how cyclists and motorists can share the road safely. FBA also presents the annual Florida Bicycle Best Practices workshop (formerly the Florida Bicycle Club Leadership workshop). FBA has done annual conferences, including five Florida ProBike ProWalk Florida events and three Florida Bike Summits in the past, but ultimately, participation numbers didn’t warrant repeat events.
Q: Does license plate money pay your salary? Is it allowed to pay for advocacy or lobbying? I think not, but want to make sure.
A: On average from year to year, license plate funds have covered 50- 75% of the executive director’s salary and benefits based on the amount of time spent on programs versus administration. NO FUNDS CAN BE SPENT ON lobbying. There is a fine line between educating versus advocating or lobbying.
Q: What do you think is the best argument?
A: Since the inception of the license plate in 1999 Bike Florida and FBA have complemented each other with a one-two punch in bicycle education outreach. Bike Florida with tours and events; FBA with education and advocacy. Both organizations have collaborated on events as well.
At a time when Florida continues to lead the nation in bicycle injuries and fatalities, FBA’s outreach safety education is more important than ever.
This system is working and the proof is that both are growing and fulfilling their mission and vision statements.
Bike Florida and Florida Bicycle Association need each other and the state of Florida needs them both.
Additional comments: FBA submits an annual affidavit, as does Bike Florida, detailing revenue and expenses. FBA has been audited one time and that was for the period of 2000-2002. Corrections were made accordingly. Minor adjustments were made in 2004 and 2005, but since that time, there have been no problems whatsoever in our affidavits. There are specific guidelines mandated by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles on how the funds can be specifically spent. Our 2014 Form 990 is available on our website.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and Advisory Board, thank you for your support of FBA. We continue with our Mission and Vision for Florida cycling.