Announcement on FSMS Legislative Involvement

June 15th, 2018

Dear Fellow Surveyors & Mappers,

Recently there have been some questions on how FSMS operates and handles our legislative duties, particularly how we determine and raise campaign contributions for candidates who will benefit our profession in Florida. As your current President and 29-year member of this Society, I would like to openly address these questions with the following:

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 requires associations to inform their members of the portion of their dues used for lobbying and political purposes. This is required for all Professional, Business or Trade Associations that operate as a 501(c)(6) Non-Profit organization, which is how FSMS operates.

Out of your dues payment, 22.5% is used by FSMS for lobbying purposes. Every FSMS member is made aware of this allotment when they pay their dues, as it is explicitly stated at the bottom of the membership renewal forms. This lobbying portion of your dues is not deductible by you as a business expense on either your personal or business tax returns.

One of the main purposes of FSMS, and of any 501(c)(6) Non-Profit organization, is to lobby. Through lobbying, we can look after our member's professional and business interests. Accordingly, our Mission statement is: "To promote, enhance and preserve the surveying and mapping profession through public awareness, education efforts, advocacy for the profession and legislative actions." This is exactly what we do for our members.

FSMS uses an outside government relations firm - Smith, Bryan & Myers - for legislative consulting, lobbying, and monitoring legislation that affects our profession. We pay Smith, Bryan, & Myers with the aforementioned 22.5% allotment from your dues. Let me be clear! Your dues are used to help pay the firm that handles our legislative affairs, but they are never used as a campaign contribution to a candidate running for office.

In regards to campaign contributions: FSMS can only contribute money raised through outside fundraisers hosted by members, and through direct contributions to the FSMPAC. These monies collected and subsequently donated are completely voluntary and completely non-partisan. All campaign contributions come from these voluntary efforts, and then Smith, Bryan, & Myers will recommend a candidate to support, which must be approved by the Board of Directors before a contribution is made. Again, I want to repeat: no dues money is used for campaign contributions!

FSMS will support candidates running for state offices who share our interests and support our profession. This, again, is an absolute non-partisan effort and has nothing to do with party affiliations. We do not get involved with national or local politics.

FSMS greatly respects our political system and strongly encourages its members to be involved with their respective parties and legislators on a personal level. Our legislative efforts as a Society are performed in the best interest of our profession and all of our businesses across Florida.


Bob Strayer, Jr.
FSMS President