RV Advocacy

In 1998, at the brink of Escapees 20th year anniversary, a new branch of service begins. Perhaps the most important role it would ever play springs to life. After a 20-year policy to remain non-religious and non-political, Escapees RV Club determines that if they don’t take the lead in protecting full-time RVers rights, no one would.

Be Informed

Many of our advocacy efforts and requests for action are communicated through our Club News e-newsletter. If you would like to receive this weekly update, which includes information on club events, new services and benefits and other announcements, in addition to advocacy information, please subscribe.

Current Advocacy Status: Florida Department of State Advisory Opinion

Advocacy Update: July 26, 2018

In response to the recent Florida Department of State advisory opinion regarding the use of a mail forwarding service address for voter registration (http://dos.myflorida.com/media/699707/de1809.pdf), we, at Escapees, contacted the Sumter County Elections Supervisor, Bill Keen—as our mail service is located in Sumter County. Mr. Keen noted that the advisory opinion does not apply to the Escapees Florida mail service because our services are offered at a campground. The advisory opinion concludes that a person must be capable of residing at the address they use to register to vote. And, because a campground offers a person the ability to reside at that location, it may be used to register to vote. Mr. Keen was quick to note that a person seeking voter registration must still meet the other requirements, as required by Florida law: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0000-0099/0098/Sections/0098.045.html. We are grateful to Mr. Keen, and his staff, for their quick and thoughtful attention to this matter.

While the advisory opinion does not affect our services directly, we realize it does continue to impact some RVers. As part of our commitment to advocacy, we will endeavor to provide updates, if there are important developments that appear to impact the community at large.

For more information about domicile, please visit https://www.escapees.com/education/domicile/ or contact attorney Susie Adams, of Loring & Associates, PLLC, at 800-260-1615.

If you have questions about Escapees mail forwarding services, please visit https://www.escapees.com/mail-service/ or contact us at 936-327-8873 (domestic calls) or at 888-757-2582 (international calls.)

-Escapees RV Club

Advocacy Update: July 11, 2018

On June 19th, 2018, the Florida Department of State issued an advisory opinion (http://dos.myflorida.com/media/699707/de1809.pdf) in response to an inquiry which stemmed from the Supervisor of Elections in Clay County, Florida. The supervisor sought clarification on residency issues related to voter registrations, in particular, individuals using St. Brendan’s Isle Mail Forwarding Service (SBI), which caters to cruisers and RVers.

It appears from the advisory opinion that St. Brendan’s Isle is under scrutiny because some of its mail service members may have been using “1 Clay County” as their place of residence for voting purposes. The state declared that this address is not an “address of legal residence”. The state concluded that because the mail service is housed in a commercial building, it cannot be used for residential purposes.

While Escapees RV Club became aware of this issue a couple of weeks ago, we sensed that we would do more harm than good to SBI and their customers by disseminating this information to the public prematurely. Rather, we felt that SBI should have the opportunity to work with their local election supervisor to clarify and, hopefully, resolve this issue. Please know, we do not agree with some of the conclusions reached in this advisory opinion.

Consequently, we immediately began working behind the scenes to see how we might assist RVers who could potentially be affected by this advisory opinion. In addition, we contacted SBI directly because we know, better than most, the difficulties that full-time RVers undergo when trying to balance their freedom to travel with the state and federal requirements that dictate residency and domicile law. We are also pulling together our advocacy plan, which we intend to share with SBI. Moreover, we are waiting for SBI to share their advocacy plan with us, before we take any action (if needed) in Clay County. This planning requires formulating evidentiary case law that supports our position and then working our way through the legislative channels, if needed. However, we will keep our members posted when we have anything of value to report, or if this appears to affect our mail service members in any way.

For more information about domicile go to visit https://www.escapees.com/education/domicile/ or contact attorney Susie Adams, of Loring & Associates, PLLC, at 800-260-1615.

-Escapees RV Club

Advocacy Notice Issued July 6, 2018

Monitoring legislation, defeating detrimental laws, and educating city, county, state and federal officials about the amazing community of full-time RVers is a long-term commitment. It’s a commitment that Escapees has fulfilled for the past 40 years.

We first became aware of the Florida Department of State advisory opinion that affects RVers’ ability to use a mail service as their domicile, for voting purposes, about two weeks ago. Since receiving the advisory opinion, we have begun our own legal research into the claims asserted and the conclusions drawn in that opinion. Please be patient and know that we are working diligently to frame our position and to formulate a plan of action for this advocacy effort.

However, please know, we believe that no one should have to choose between their freedom to travel and their constitutional rights. We will never give up our efforts to ensure that the government, even in an earnest attempt to protect us, does not strip away the very liberties that make us a free nation. While we cannot fight every fight; and, we will not win every time we chose to fight. We will continue to vigorously defend RVers’ rights, where and when we can.

-Escapees RV Club

Escapees RV Club has many ways of addressing advocacy for all RVers

Past Advocacy Victories

Defending Full-Time RVers’ Right to Vote

Protecting full-time RVers’ right to vote was the most challenging, yet rewarding, advocacy role Escapees has achieved to date. It took two long years of courtroom battles that nearly landed on the steps of the Supreme Court, but in the end, 10,000 full-time RVers retained their right to vote.

Battling Unfair RV-Specific Taxes

While Escapees has been victorious in its many critical battles to protect the constitutional rights of RVers, an endless stream of laws and regulations continue to surface. A prime example is an ad valorem tax which significantly impacts travel trailer owners in Texas and other legislation across the states that target RVers unfairly.

Eliminating Discriminatory Driver License Regulations

While the average citizen takes a driver license for granted, full-time RVers can encounter unexpected obsticles when regulatory changes take place. Since driver licenses are commonly used as an acceptabe form of identification across the United States, laws regulating the issuance of a driver license are interconnected with other regulatory agencies and various legal componets can adversely affect full-time RVers unintentionally.

Battling Adverse Motor Vehicle Laws for Full-Time RVers

Great victories can be accomplished when RVers, dealers, manufacturers and associations work together toward a common goal. When it comes to legislative bills that affect motor vehicles across the nation, industry unity is key.

Special Attention Needed on Homeland Security

Terminology used in legislation and law can be unintentionally detrimental for full-time RVers. Escapees RV Club tries hard to monitor phrases like “legal residency,” “fixed dwellings,” “physical locations,” and these simple little words can have disasterous consequences.  

Protecting Overnight Parking Options

Protecting RVers’ right to park overnight in places other than commercial campgrounds has been a major advocacy focus for the past 20 years, and is ongoing still. To achieve an industry -accepted compromise between campground owners, consumers, and city/county/state regulations, Escapees created the “Good Neighbor Policy” which is now sanctioned by 35 RV clubs and industry organizations.

Defeating Discriminatory U.S.P.S. Mandates

When the United States Postal Service announced new regulations that  would require all incoming mail for customers using a mail-forwarding service use a new insignia “PMB” (which stands for “private mail box”) in addition to the requirement that the PMBs be written on a separate line (using a mandatory 4-line format), as well as other discriminatory regulations, Escapees quickly rallied support to rescind those stringent requirements.

Assisting With Satellite Services for Traveling RVers

Many full-time RVers depend on satellite TV to get their news and entertainment. FCC regulations are enacted that hamper RV and mobile customers. Escapees contacted the major satellite providers and special waivers are accepted with certain limitations.

Weighing in on Various Parks and Recreation Bills

Some bills are controversial in nature. Escapees RV Club is careful not to speak on behalf of its members unless there is a clear majority of support. In certain instances, reports are merely informational, in other cases, our voice is strong and clear.

Industry Coalitions Established to Safeguard RVers

No one should ever have to choose between living the RV lifestyle or giving up their civil liberties. Defending, protecting and securing legislation that preserves RVers’ rights is our ultimate aim. We also feel it beneficial to work with industry leaders to promote the well-being of RVers in general.

Help Us Protect RVers Rights

If you’d like to submit a topic or issue you think we should research, let us know!