Capitol Report April 30, 2021

The Legislature concluded business at 2:40pm yesterday. Now that it is over, there are a few real issues to be happy about. Everyone will be getting a $1,000 bonus. SLERS received the money along with authorization to undergo a much needed overhaul. Police reform occurred, but it was led by the Speaker and the law enforcement community not the radical left. It is worth noting that you have a strong base of support with the Governor, the full cabinet, and a super majority of the Legislature.

Of course, we didn’t get what we wanted in pension reform, but that issue is certain come back next year with our ideas at the forefront. Just to remind everyone, nothing happened with pension reform… zip, nada, zero. If someone tells you differently please refer back to my previous sentence.

There’s work to do at the Department of Corrections. A lot of work. Yet, I trust the State Correctional Officers’ Board of Directors so I am confident in their abilities to take care of the officers.

I am also confident in the PBA. President John Kazanjian has a plan for next year and with the continued assistance of Mat Forrest with Ballard Partners, I believe all goals are within reach.

This session has been unlike any other… the word “weird” really sums it up. Here’s hoping next year better resembles normal. I want you all to know that I am honored to have been a part of this team.

Until next time.

Matt Puckett
Executive Director
First Responder Bonuses

PAYMENTS TO PANDEMIC FIRST RESPONDERS

The nonrecurring sum of $208,437,432 from the General Revenue Fund is appropriated to the Department of Economic Opportunity to distribute a one-time bonus payment of $1,000 to each essential first responder. An essential first responder is an individual who is a first responder, considered an essential frontline worker in responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and employed by a state or local government who is a sworn law enforcement officer, emergency medical technician, firefighter, paramedic, Institutional Security Officer, Chief, Specialist, or Supervisor of the Department of Children and Families or Agency for Persons with Disabilities, or Department of Corrections’ Certified Correctional Officer, Certified Correctional Probation Officer, or IG Inspector. The bonus payment shall be adjusted to include 7.65 percent for Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) tax. Each bonus payment shall be pro-rated based on the full-time equivalency of the employee’s position. Employees classified as being other personnel services (OPS) New Language or temporary employees are not eligible for the bonus payment.

Impacted collective bargaining units are not precluded from bargaining over wages; however, the funding allocation for the one-time bonus payment must be used solely to comply with the requirements of this section.

Florida Legislature Passes Police Reform

  1. Requiring the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission to develop basic skills training and each law enforcement or correctional agency to develop policies in the use of force, including:
    1. Proportional use of force;
    2. Alternatives to use of force, including de-escalation techniques;
    3. Limiting the use of a chokehold to circumstances where a law enforcement officer perceives an immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death to themselves or another person;
    4. The duty to intervene if an officer is on-duty and witnesses another officer using or attempting to use excessive force when such intervention is reasonable based on the totality of the circumstances and the observing officer may intervene without jeopardizing his or her safety;
    5. The duty to render medical assistance following the use of force when an officer knows, or when it is otherwise evident, that a person who is detained or in custody is injured or requires medical attention and the action is reasonable based on the totality of the circumstances and the officer may render aid without jeopardizing his or her safety; and
    6. Instruction on the recognition and characteristics of a person with a substance abuse disorder or mental illness and appropriate responses to such a person.
  2. Requiring an independent review of a use of force incident involving death or the intentional discharge of a firearm that results in injury or death to any person to be conducted by another law enforcement agency, a law enforcement officer employed by another agency, or the state attorney and requiring such agency or officer to complete a report to be provided to the state attorney;
  3. Requiring each law enforcement agency to report use of force incidents that result in serious bodily injury, death, or the discharge of a firearm at a person to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) on a quarterly basis;
  4. Requiring an applicant for employment as a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or a correctional probation officer to disclose whether he or she is the subject of a pending investigation and whether he or she separated or resigned from previous criminal justice employment while under investigation;
  5. Requiring a law enforcement or correctional agency to include the facts and reasons an applicant was separated from previous employment as part of a background check investigation of an applicant for employment;
  6. Requiring a law enforcement or correctional agency to maintain an officerโ€™s employment information for a minimum of five years following the date of an officerโ€™s termination, resignation, or retirement; and
  7. Prohibiting a child younger than seven years of age from being arrested, charged, or adjudicated delinquent for delinquent act or violation of law, unless the violation of law is a forcible felony as defined in s. 776.08, F.S.

Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS)

(SLERS) Contract Payment – $19 million Trust Fund
(SLERS) Contract Services and Staff Augmentation – $5 million Trust Fund
(SLERS) Tower Leases – $12.5 million [$10 million General Revenue; $2.5 million Trust Fund]
Statewide Law Enforcement Radio Equipment Replacement – $1 million General Revenue