Capitol Report January 14, 2022

The Florida Legislature is back in session. Here are a few quick hits from the legislative action during the first week:

A) HJR 1 & HB 1563 by Representative Josie Tomkow and SB 1746 & SB 1748 by Senator Jason Brodeur will put forward a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot to provide an additional $50,000 homestead exemption for several classes of critical public service workers. The Revenue Estimating Impact Conference is reviewing the potential financial impact of this proposal today.

Please note that we are aware of a few missing members of the “critical public service workforce” that we strongly believe must be added into the current bill language. Our lobbying team is in contact with the sponsors to request those additions.

B) HB 139 by Representative Tom Fabricio and SB 266 by Senator Manny Diaz were heard in the House Insurance & Banking Committee and Senate Criminal Justice Committee this week. This legislation provides that if an employing agency of a law enforcement officer authorizes the officer to travel to his or her place of residence in an official law enforcement vehicle outside of the course and scope of the officer’s employment or function, the employing agency must maintain current and valid motor vehicle insurance. This motor vehicle insurance includes bodily injury, death, and property damage liability coverage that covers the period in which a law enforcement officer travels to or from work in an official law enforcement vehicle and covers the time a law enforcement officer travels to and from any other employing agency assignment in an official law enforcement vehicle. However, such motor vehicle insurance is not required to provide for coverage if:

  • The law enforcement officer makes a distinct deviation for a nonessential personal errand unless a collective bargaining agreement permits such deviation; or
  • The law enforcement officer acts in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a mannerexhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property.

PBA fully supports this legislation.

C) Governor Ron DeSantis’ recommended budget received full hearings this week in both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Here are the highlights:

A 3% increase to the employer contribution for members participating in the FRS Investment Plan;

Over $75 million in pay raises for state law enforcement officers;

Over $124 million in pay raises for state correctional and correctional probation officers;

Establishment of a Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship;

Establishment of Out-of-State Law Enforcement Equivalency Reimbursement to help cover the cost of law enforcement officers moving to Florida.

The Legislature and Governor are working hard to make Florida the premiere employment destination for law enforcement, probation, and correctional officers. These proposals and others are all in play for the upcoming session. Please follow this brief summary of the weekly events to see how each issue unfolds over the next 8 weeks.

As always, please stay safe.


Matt Puckett