"The problem is not that we disagree, but that our disagreements have become so callous, emotional and inconsiderate," wrote Michael Wear in his book "Reclaiming Hope." Wear used to work for President Obama on faith-based and neighborhood partnerships.
I was reading through "Reclaiming Hope" just hours after a memorial Mass for Michael Potemra, my colleague at National Review, the other day. He was an excellent editor, but Mike didn't agree with every word the magazine published.
None of us do, truth be told, but he'd be in that boat more often than most of us -- and he'd at least be funny about it.
The same day of Mike's memorial Mass, Melania Trump wore that jacket on the plane to visit migrant children who had been separated from their parents. "I really don't care, do u?" the jacket read. To me, it seemed pretty clear what it was about from the get-go.
Wasn't there obsessive coverage recently about her having "gone missing" from the public eye after surgery? I've done enough radio and read enough emails and comments in recent days -- or years -- to know that people are fed up.
They don't trust the media. Sometimes there's no trust of neighbors, and certainly not of strangers. Many are grateful to have a president who says what he is thinking to whoever will listen. I'm convinced the whole business with the jacket will get her husband's party more votes in the midterm elections.
That's where we are in America today. No Trump started the fire. As Wear put it, "Donald Trump is responsible for his actions, but the table was set for his election by what we deemed acceptable in our politics -- and in ourselves. ... The polarization of our politics and our communities is a defining feature of modern American life. Our inability to understand and empathize with our neighbors is straining our society to its breaking point."
Wear goes on: "Our politics is now predicated on making those who disagree with us beneath our notice. This is to the benefit of those who run for office and of the interest groups structured to ignore alternative viewpoints. But it is not at all to our collective benefit. We the people cannot allow our neighbors to become invisible, for doing so makes living together peaceably and fruitfully nearly impossible."
Charles Krauthammer died the same day as the memorial Mass for Mike. I only knew him a little, compared to many friends who worked with him day in, day out on Fox News and elsewhere. But he taught me about things fundamental to Christianity, frankly -- like the Beatitudes, in both personal deeds and in some of the questions he asked.
We've become a nation of pundits, watching and pouncing. But perhaps Charles Krauthammer and Mike Potemra died recently for a reason. Both of them had some sense of awe about them. A sense of stewardship and service, too.
In his final column, Charles wrote: "I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation's destiny." In his book, he talks about how our political questions are always at the service of the higher ones.
Wear cites C.S. Lewis: "A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion. However, if either comes to regard it as the natural food of his mind -- if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else -- then what was undertaken for the sake of health has become itself a new and deadly disease."
Having Mike around National Review definitely kept us from the "new disease" of taking ourselves too seriously, even when handling some of the most important issues of the day. He took these things seriously, but in balance.
And because his views could be unique, as he was, he set a challenge before us, one that Wear raises in his book: "On the issue of our day, we must not only ask ourselves whether our position is correct, but also raise to the surface the question of why our neighbors are not quite convinced as well."
It may have something to do with the way we made them feel during the course of a Facebook debate. It may have something to do with whether or not they have seen us as people of the Beatitudes. It may have something to do with whether humanity seems as important to us as politics, and whether they can tell humanity is the "why" of our politics.
A better politics requires us being better. Good men come and go, daily, who remind us it's possible, even among a nation of pundits.
Kathryn Jean Lopez
Following direction from Gov. Rick Scott and an emergency order issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) on June 21 began implementing an array of new actions, in addition to current efforts already underway, to lower levels in Lake Okeechobee and move water into the Everglades Water Conservation Areas. These measures, which would have been slowed by typical agency approval processes, will move forward on an expedited basis to help reduce the severity of and need for regulatory releases that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is making from the lake to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.
South Florida's annual wet season got off to an intense start with 300 percent of normal rainfall across the region in May 2018, a record for the month. Locally, Martin and St. Lucie counties alone received 450 percent of the historical average for the month, with more than 16 inches of rain. This rainfall inundated the Water Conservation Areas and caused Lake Okeechobee to rise more than a foot. As a result, the USACE began making releases from the lake to the northern estuaries on June 1 for public safety.
New measures enabled by the emergency order include:
1) Moving water out of the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area in Palm Beach County into the C-18 Canal to create additional capacity to move water south.
2) Installing temporary pumps near the S-39 Structure to move additional water out of Water Conservation Area 2 to the Hillsboro Canal on the Palm Beach-Broward county line, creating capacity in the conservation area.
3) Installing temporary pumps at the S-151 Structure to move an additional 200 cfs of water out of Water Conservation Area 3A in Miami-Dade County.
4) Operating the S-152 Structure to move 400 cfs out of Water Conservation Area 3A.
5) Installing temporary pumps at several locations in Broward and Miami-Dade counties that will move water from the conservation areas into the L-29, L-28 and C-4 canals.
All of these emergency measures, coupled with actions SFWMD already had underway, help create capacity in the Water Conser- vation Areas to take water south from Lake Okeechobee. These ongoing actions include:
1) Using the S-5A Pump Station in Palm Beach County to move 400 cubic feet per second (cfs) out of the L-8 Canal to prevent water from gravity flowing back into Lake Okeechobee.
2) Moving water to tide through every available structure, including the Hillsboro, North New River and Miami canals.
3) Using the S-34 Structure to move 200 cfs out of Water Conservation Area 2A into the North New River in Broward County.
4) Fully utilizing the A-1 Flow Equalization Basin and L-8 Flow Equalization Basin, both components of Gov. Scott's Restoration Strategies Plan, to store water.
5) Storing water on public lands through the Dispersed Water Management program.
6) Working with private landowners to store water on their properties.
Restoration Projects to Benefit the Northern Estuaries.
Over the long term, the District is working with its federal partners at the Corps to make steady progress on several ecosystem restoration projects throughout the agency's 16-county region. Now under construction or being planned, these projects will collectively reduce harmful lake releases to the northern estuaries and capture local stormwater runoff – both of which are responsible for excess freshwater flows to the estuaries.
Caloosahatchee River (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir
Indian River Lagoon - South: C‑44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area
Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir Project
Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project
Central Everglades Planning Project
Kissimmee River Restoration
Lake Hicpochee Hydrologic Improvements
For More info:
The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) is sponsoring an event to break the Guiness World Records title for the Largest human image of a seashell on June 21 at Fort Myers Beach.
National Seashell Day, which also happens to be the first day of summer, takes the celebration to the sand at The Outrigger Beach Resort on Fort Myers Beach. The VCB is inviting the community to join The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel in this record-setting adventure.
The current title for the Largest human image of a seashell is currently held by Shell and Turcas Petrol A.Ş. and was achieved in October 2017 with 855 participants. This was the result of a team-building event with owners of Shell gas stations all over Turkey.
As the seashell capital of the world, the VCB believes this record should be held by The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.
The VCB’s goal is to take the Guiness World Records title by organizing more than 1,000 people to participate on the beach to fill in the form of a seashell. A Guiness World Records adjudicator will be on-site to verify the attempt.
They need your help and the help of your friends too.
Visit https://www.leevcb.com/events/2018-national-seashell-day because registration is required and they are asking for volunteers to include shirt sizes for everyone in your group when you register.
The event will be held – rain or shine – from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 21, on the beachside of The Outrigger Beach Resort, 6200 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach.
Check-in is bright and early from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m.at the Tiki Hut at the Outrigger.
Registered participants will receive Free Commemorative 2018 National Seashell Day T-shirts and hats, as well as complimentary water, fresh fruit, snacks, and entertainment. Tent seating will be available for shade but will be limited, so please bring a beach blanket or towel and sunscreen.
To be more environmentally friendly, please bring your own refillable water bottles as water stations will be available rather than handing out bottled water.
In order to have a well organized event they are asking all attendees to leave your pets at home as there will be no pets allowed.
Parking will not be available on-site at the Outrigger Beach Resort, however the FREE Park & Ride will be running: LeeTran's Beach Trolleys (Route 400) to and from the event with trolleys running every 10-15 minutes from Fort Myers Beach Park & Ride, 11101 Summerlin Square Road (first trolley arrives at 6:10 a.m.), and from Lovers Key State Park, 8700 Estero Blvd., east side (first trolley arrives at 6:50 a.m.).
Registered participants will receive a free bus pass in the registration confirmation email.
In the spirit of community, participants are encouraged to bring canned food or a nonperishable item on the day of the event to benefit the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee counties support of area food banks.
All registrants will be entered to win two round trip tickets on the Key West Express. Winner must be
present at the event to redeem.
They are requesting all participants to wear khaki colored shorts or pants
Use #NationalSeaShell Day to promote the event in social media.
Please note, there will be
no lockers or storage
available on site. Please make sure to keep your belongings on your person at all times.
for more information.
Finally, after agonizing procedural wrangling that is only a preface to even more agonizing floor debate, the House in the next several days will take up the immigration issue.
But the truth is that debates about immigration are even older than the United States itself, built as it was by 17th-century Colonial immigrants who, when they landed on these shores, encountered Native Americans who were likely the original immigrants.
From the earliest debates on the issue, the character and content of the American immigration discussion has changed little. Many want to come in; some want to keep them out. They refresh American culture; they alter American culture. They are the engine of economic growth; they are the enemy of the worker.
Pulitzer Prizes have been won on the immigration issue (Oscar Handlin, "The Uprooted," 1952); reputations have been soiled by immigration (Sen. Pat McCarran of Nevada, whose legislation was passed by Congress over Harry Truman's veto); a political party was formed around immigration (the Know Nothings of the mid-1850s).
Throughout all of this, what often is missed is an unusual congruence of opinion by two men with the same initials, one a Democrat now identified with the liberal wing of his party (President John F. Kennedy) and the other a Republican once considered to be on the leading edge of conservatism in his party (Rep. Jack F. Kemp).
Kemp, who represented the area around Buffalo, New York, a center of 19th-century immigration from southern and eastern Europe, worried that the Republican Party was veering from its roots and embracing immigration restrictions that could, in his words, "turn the party away from its historic belief in opportunity and jobs and growth and ... inward to a protectionist and isolationist and more xenophobic party."
Kennedy, in a small book written in 1958 as Congress was considering immigration legislation, took a similar view, arguing that:
The interaction of disparate cultures, the vehemence of the ideals that led the immigrants here, the opportunity offered by a new life, all gave America a flavor and a character that make it as unmistakable and as remarkable to people today as it was to Alexis de Tocqueville in the early part of the nineteenth century.
That book was reissued a few years ago under the title "A Nation of Immigrants," and though the 35th president was serious about protecting American borders -- one of his last acts in the White House was to propose a major overhaul of the country's immigration policies -- he also believed that much of the heroic nature of America was based on the immigrant experience:They huddled in their hard, cramped bunks, freezing when the hatches were open, stifling when they were closed ... Night and day were indistinguishable. But they were ever aware of the treacherous winds and waves, the scampering of rats and the splash of burials.
That was part of the Kemp creed as well. He argued that "immigrants are among the most hard-working and industrious of all persons who reside in this society. They are far less likely in their working years to -- despite poverty -- rely on welfare programs."
This debate has often been spurred by emotion. Kennedy was the first Catholic president (1961-1963), but not the first Catholic presidential nominee. That was Al Smith (1924); Rose Kennedy dismissed the Smith precedent because one of the New York governor's grandparents was Italian and the other German, while all four of Kennedy's grandparents were Irish. But Kennedy knew that immigration meant disruption, and he wrote this of the immigrants:
They brought with them a bewildering variety of language, dress, custom, ideology and religious belief. To many Americans already here who had grown accustomed to a common way of life, they presented a dismaying bedlam, difficult to understand and more difficult to respond to.
Kemp was an extemporaneous speaker of great ebullience who, in accepting the 1996 Republican vice-presidential nomination, said: "We are a nation of immigrants. We must close the back door of illegal immigration so that we can keep open the front door of legal immigration."
Kennedy's 1963 immigration bill would eliminate the quotas baked into American policy for decades. In an address to the convention of the American Committee on Italian Migration, he said: "We have this situation which has become nearly intolerable, where you have thousands of unused quotas in some countries while you have members of families, close members of families, in other countries who are desirous of coming to this country, who can become useful citizens, whose skills are needed, who are unable to come because of the inequity and the maldistribution of the quota numbers."
That speech was delivered on June 11, 1963. Hours later he gave a nationally televised address following the fractious admission of the first black students to the University of Alabama. In that speech he said, "Today, we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free." Two speeches on the same day, reflecting and asserting the same values.
David M. Shribman
Now that Trump has solved Northeast Asia's problems, maybe he can get to a problem in our country -- in fact, within 10 miles of the White House. For some reason, The Washington Post recently ran an article on something important -- the MS-13 gang presence at a public school on the outskirts of our nation's capital, William Wirt Middle School in Prince George's County, Maryland.
The media's usual approach to the diversity being inflicted on us is: Don't report this! It's better if no one knows. Maybe the left has decided it's too late to do anything about the transformation of our country into a Third World hellhole, and Trump couldn't stop it even if he wanted to.
The Post reported that, like many schools up and down the East Coast, MS-13 has turned Wirt into a battleground. There have been near-daily gang fights, rampant drug dealing, one reported rape, gang signs on the walls, one shooting -- more in nearby schools -- and teachers afraid to be alone with their students. At least two students are required to have security officers assigned to them, walking them from class to class and watching them during lunch hour, on account of MS-13 threatening to kill them.
How many different categories of immigrants require special law enforcement officers devoted to them? Thanks to mass Muslim immigration, the FBI has terrorist watch lists in ALL 50 STATES. That's why whenever there's a terrorist attack, the FBI says, Oh yeah, we were watching that guy. And now we have police bodyguards for kids at schools wherever "unaccompanied minors" have been dumped by our government.
In addition to the free school lunches, transportation, housing and health care to pay for all this wonderful diversity, immigrants are also massively ratcheting up law enforcement costs.
It would be enraging enough if bad things were happening to our country and the immigrants were paying for it. But we're paying for it. Wait -- you are offering to bring gang warfare, drug cartels and terrorism? We'll go top dollar for that! Put your wallet away! Your money's no good here!
Having made the odd decision to report factual information about immigration, The Washington Post was careful to include the gigantically irrelevant, painfully idiotic cliche: The "vast majority" of poor Latin Americans pouring into our country "enroll in school and stay out of trouble."
Yes, and the vast majority of boa constrictors stay out of trouble too. Let's put them in our schools! In fact, far fewer boa constrictors kill Americans each year than Latin American immigrants do. Less than one a year. And boa constrictors don't undercut you at the construction site.
We never hear that "vast majority" argument about the policies that liberals like. The "vast majority" of gun owners never shoot up a school. The "vast majority" of smokers will never get lung cancer. The "vast majority" of Americans do not benefit from Wall Street profits.
Why are we subjecting ourselves to mass immigration at all? Hey, everyone, let's all get an HIV injection! Don't worry, the vast majority of us won't get AIDS!
We're certainly not doing it to be nice to Hispanics. They've been polled and polled and polled, and it turns out they DON'T want more people being brought in to take their jobs and drive down wages. Recent immigrants probably don't want their useless brother-in-law from Chiapas sleeping on the couch either.
In the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama's Spanish language ads didn't make a peep about immigration. Instead, he bragged about giving everyone free health care. (Sidebar: Unmentioned were the millions of people who lost their health care, thanks to all that free health care for immigrants.)
Less than two years ago, Republicans watched the most anti-immigrant politician in a century be elected president, with every major institution in America against him. Trump won more of the Hispanic vote than any Republican in a generation.
The Chamber of Commerce knows that Hispanics didn't come here to have their wages driven down by an unending stream of unskilled workers just like themselves. Republicans and Democrats know it. The only people who don't know it are Americans who don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by opposing the constant importation of unskilled, poverty-stricken immigrants.
The reason for this transformation of our country, our culture and our politics is to flood the market with low-wage workers and Democratic voters. Obviously, those are losing arguments, so the beneficiaries of mass Third World immigration lie. They claim that anyone who doesn't want to supply the rich with cheap labor must hate Hispanics.
Trump thought North Korea was hard? With immigration, we have all of the most influential forces in our culture on the same page. Immigration is a great unifier of the rich and powerful.
The rich are like sharks -- all appetite, no brain. With their cheap labor voting 7-3 for the Democrats, it won't be long until Democrats have a lock on government. What do you think they'll do then, Business Roundtable? Answer: Make it impossible to do business. Google "California."
With the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the Koch brothers' incessant lobbying for more and more cheap labor, we see exactly what Lenin said about the capitalists: They will sell us the rope with which to hang them.
The rich don't care. They can't think beyond next quarter's earnings.
"Ring of Fire" The Music of the Legendary Johnny Cash, now playing at the Broadway Palm is not a musical biography of Johnny Cash's life such as in the Jersey Boys. it’s not a show with a fictional story interwoven around famous songs, as in Mamma Mia, and it’s not a collection of Johnny Cash's greatest hits either. It’s more of a musical collage loosely representing accounts of his life portrayed through an almost continuous flow of songs associated with the artist, one that doesn’t tell of events in a traditional biographical sense, but as a reflection of the heart and soul of a performer considered to be among the most influential musicians of the past century. Bringing each spectator on a trip down memory lane, while being drawn in by an engaging cast who take you through 30 stellar songs (not all original Cash tunes, but all recorded by him) that are the backbone, heart and soul of the show.
The cast of Danielle Barnes, Alex Canty, Tim Capal, Dani Cohen, Andrea De Vriendt, Tim Drake, Justin Droegemueller, Allison Fund, Alexander Kosmowski, Gary Leone, Jonah M. Martin, Matt McCllure and Emily Woods (in no particular order, but as listed in program) perform and interact with each other seamlessly. In fact, one of the most impressive aspects of this performance is their versatility, they not only have fabulous voices for singing and acting but at the same time play an amazing variety of instruments, from upright bass, banjo, ukulele, mandolin, fiddle and guitars, to harmonicas, spoons and a washboard too.
This cast makes it look easy, moving and interacting with one another effectively all the while singing and playing instruments. The female vocals were outstanding and even though never directly impersonating Johnny Cash, the male cast members made sure the spirit of the man in black was always in attendance.
The opening of the second half is a treat as Justin slaps that Upright Bass into a crowd-pleasing, musical frenzy, teasing us as he appears to slowly wind down, only to return and deliver a little more.
The cast is at their finest doing five-part harmonies, (or was it six), in songs such as “Daddy Sang Bass,” and at other times getting the audience going in favorites as "Jackson", "Ring of Fire" and "Cocaine Blues." At those times, the whole theater is moving with the audience dancing in their seats, toe-tapping or singing along. And while adorable in her lighter moments with her fiddle and her great smile, Emily Woods particularly shines when she displays her fiddling skills in "Orange Blossom Special." With a little encouragement from the cast, the crowd was soon challenging her with "faster, faster" and she was certainly up to the task.
One of the most telling songs for me was when the whole cast joined in on "I've been everywhere " which is a great representation of Cash's love of travel and performing live around the country .
Despite the serious elements of Cash’s life presented in many of these song, most of the musical elements are upbeat and joyful, under direction from Curt Wollan and presented with fun choreography from Candice Lively.
In closing, you will not come away from this show with a huge knowledge of Johnny Cash’s life. His troubled path, his relationships, and his addictions are never explored in the way the biographical film, "Walk the Line," was able to present them. Instead, you’re left with a sense of celebration; an uplift that comes when music reaches out and succeeds in pulling you in, something every performer desires when audiences hear their work. With this "Ring of Fire" cast it happens......in abundance; you don’t simply enjoy the songs, you leave the theatre finding yourself searching Youtube to hear them again with a desire to learn more.
The Center welcomes University of Maryland’s Holly Brewer, University of Virginia School of Law’s Risa Goluboff, and University of Iowa College of Law’s Lea VanderVelde to discuss the battle over race and equality across American history, from the Founding to Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Revolution. CLE credit available. In partnership with the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Guggenheim Fellowship in Constitutional Studies.
Admission information: Free for 1787 Society Members – $10 Members, teachers & students – $18 Non-Members – $35 Members w/ CLE –$40 Non-Members with CLE. Registration is recommended for all programs. Guests can call 215-409-6700 or click here to reserve seats.
This America’s Town Hall program will be streamed live at constitutioncenter.org/live.
National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street I Philadelphia, PA I 19106
T: 215-409-6645 I C: 215-370-0387
Although the term D-Day is used routinely as military lingo for the day an operation or event will take place, for many it is also synonymous with June 6, 1944, the day the Allied powers crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, beginning the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control during World War II. Within three months, the northern part of France would be freed and the invasion force would be preparing to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet forces moving in from the east.
With Hitler’s armies in control of most of mainland Europe, the Allies knew that a successful invasion of the continent was central to winning the war. Hitler knew this too, and was expecting an assault on northwestern Europe in the spring of 1944. He hoped to repel the Allies from the coast with a strong counterattack that would delay future invasion attempts, giving him time to throw the majority of his forces into defeating the Soviet Union in the east. Once that was accomplished, he believed an all-out victory would soon be his.
On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.
By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah Beach. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.
For their part, the Germans suffered from confusion in the ranks and the absence of celebrated commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who was away on leave. At first, Hitler, believing that the invasion was a feint designed to distract the Germans from a coming attack north of the Seine River, refused to release nearby divisions to join the counterattack and reinforcements had to be called from further afield, causing delays. He also hesitated in calling for armored divisions to help in the defense. In addition, the Germans were hampered by effective Allied air support, which took out many key bridges and forced the Germans to take long detours, as well as efficient Allied naval support, which helped protect advancing Allied troops.
Though it did not go off exactly as planned, as later claimed by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery–for example, the Allies were able to land only fractions of the supplies and vehicles they had intended in France–D-Day was a decided success. By the end of June, the Allies had 850,000 men and 150,000 vehicles in Normandy and were poised to continue their march across Europe.
Normally a Florida resident is free to dispose of his or her property through a will as they see fit. But there are special rules that apply to a person's primary residence or “homestead.” The Florida Constitution actually restricts the “devise”–or transfer by will–of a homestead if the owner has a surviving spouse or minor child. Instead, Florida law directs the surviving spouse shall have a “life estate” in the homestead, and upon his or her death the property shall go to the children. Alternatively, the surviving spouse can choose to take a one-half interest in the homestead outright, with the other half divided among the children.
Florida Legislature Clarifies Law Governing Waiver of Homestead Rights
Of course, Section 732.702 of the Florida Statutes provides that a spouse can “wholly or partly” waive homestead rights at any time. Such waiver must be done in writing in the presence of two witnesses. The waiver itself may take many forms, such as a clause in a prenuptial agreement or a separate contract signed after marriage.
The Florida Legislature recently added new language, to be codified as Section 732.7025, that further clarifies the law regarding waives. This new section, which takes effect July 1, states a spouse can waive his or her constitutional homestead rights by including the following language in a deed: By executing or joining this deed, I intend to waive homestead rights that would otherwise prevent my spouse from devising the homestead property described in this deed to someone other than me.
The Legislature's amendment was prompted by recent Florida court decisions addressing the subject of whether a spouse could waive homestead rights via a deed. A state Senate report said these court cases were “very fact-specific” and did not provide a “consistently clear” picture of “when a knowing and intelligent waiver has occurred.” By adopting a clear legislative standard, the Senate said it hoped to “reduce the expense of litigation, reduce court time dedicated to resolving these legal conflicts, and reduce the chance that a waiver in a deed is made by mistake or misunderstanding.”
Need Help Understanding the Homestead Exemption?
It should also be understood the new legislation is quite limited in scope. A spouse who waives their homestead rights for purposes of inheritance does not necessarily do so in other legal contexts. For instance, Florida's homestead exemption also protects a subject property against unsecured creditor claims. The new legislation makes it clear, however, that a waiver of inheritance rights does not affect the protection of the property against creditor claims.
Keep in mind this only applies to unsecured claims. A mortgage, deed or trust, or other creditor claim secured by homestead property is still enforceable regardless of any homestead rights a spouse may possess. And the homestead exemption only applies to “devises” that take effect at the time of the owner's death. A married person can still gift or sell their house during their lifetime without spousal consent, assuming they have sole ownership rights.
If you have any questions about how the new law may affect you, or if you want to know more about Florida's homestead rules, a qualified Fort Myers estate planning attorney can help. Call the Kuhn Law Firm, P.A., at 239-333-4529 to schedule a consultation with a member of our estate planning team today.