CV NEWS FEED // On July 1 a new law gave Florida homeowners the right to display flags, even in neighborhoods governed by restrictive Homeowners Associations (HOAs) .
Florida Governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has signed a bill to prevent Americans from being penalized for their patriotism.
“…regardless of any HOA covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements to the contrary, a homeowner may display, in a respectful manner, one United States flag or official State of Florida flag; and one official POW-MIA flag or a flag representing a specified branch of the United States Armed Forces,” the bill states.
Jacksonville veteran Larry Murphree fought in court for 12 years over the right to fly an American flag.
“I had a small American flag, 4×6, and I stuck it in a flowerpot on my front porch,” Murphree said. “It was a small flag, but it stood for a big thank you for what…they did and sacrificed. I was in the Air Force for six years.”
The HOA in Murphree’s Jacksonville neighborhood, Sweetwater by Del Webb, sent him a violation letter for having an “unauthorized object” on his property. When asked to take it down, Murphree refused and was subsequently fined.
Murphree battled until 2021, when Judge Robert Dees awarded him only $1,223 in damages. Murphree spent $200,000 on legal fees, using a large portion of his retirement funds. Murphree now lives in a new neighborhood where he is free to fly the American flag.
“I would do it again for the flag, what it stands for,” Murphree told First Coast News.
There is a GoFundMe page to help him with expenses.
“The flag stands for everything that’s good about this country. And why people want to tear it down or not respect it or whatever…is beyond my comprehension,” Murphree said.
When asked about the case, the Sweetwater by Del Webb Homeowners Association said that they were not at liberty to discuss it.
The new Florida bill does not only apply to flower-pot sized flags. “A homeowner may also set up a freestanding flagpole no more than 20 feet high on his or her property” the bill continues, on which to display the Stars and Stripes with pride.
The bill went into effect on July 1 of this year, just in time for the Fourth of July. No matter where they live, all Floridians will now be able to show their patriotism and their support for members of the armed services.