Lobbyist and special interest campaigns are perceived as what is wrong with politics. However, without them effective legislation would fall through the cracks. The intricacies of the community association housing model are not common knowledge and laws can be passed that inadvertently harm these communities.  Organizations and nonprofits like CAI must employ lobbyists and advocacy campaigns to ensure our voices are heard by the people who make the laws and policies that govern us.

CAI’s state legislative action committees (LAC) resolve issues by educating lawmakers on the operations of community associations. Even lawmakers who live in community associations might not understand the amount of volunteer hours their neighbors put into managing the communities shared amenities, preparing fiscally responsible budgets, and planning events to foster community spirit. Many residents are unaware of the processes outlined in the governing documents to resolve issues within the community despite the fact that they signed off on them when they move into the community.

We continually work on growing relationships with legislators to avert problems and provide high-quality information regarding community associations. But sometimes, groups that do not respect the community associations housing model convince lawmakers to do the opposite. Bad legislation causes our LACs to go into overdrive, fighting to protect the rights of community associations like yours, and that means going head-to-head with powerful and well-funded special interest groups. We use the small advocacy fee included in your CAI membership is to support your state LAC.

However, the cost of all our necessary lobbying efforts and advocacy campaigns to fight bad legislation is not covered by the advocacy fee, so many LACs fundraise to support these vital efforts. This cost is rising as groups that would strip associations of their ability to self-govern or impose burdensome regulations are pushing lawmakers to introduce legislation that is harmful to us.

As associations begin working on their 2020 budgets, we hope your community considers including your CAI state LAC in your planning and designate an annual investment in support of our advocacy efforts to make sure your voice is heard by state legislators.  If each household in your community contributes $1, your association can make a big difference.

Click here for a template that your community association board can use to draft a resolution for yearly contributions.

Dawn Bauman, CAE

Dawn Bauman, CAE

Senior Vice President, Government & Public Affairs

Executive Director, Foundation for Community Association Research

Full Bio

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