We completed the first week of the 2020 Legislative Session.
This week’s enormous lobbying team consisted of President John Kazanjian, Vice President Jim Baiardi, South Florida PBA President Steadman Stahl, South Florida Senior VP John Jenkins, South Florida PBA Sergeant of Arms Robert Davis, FHP President William Smith, former Florida PBA President Ernie George, the entire Correctional Probation Officers Board of Directors (Tammy Marcus, Anatrisha Jackson, Sherri Cole, Crystal Summerlin, Neilly Martin, Aaron Rivas, and Christopher Morrissey) Palm Beach Board members (Chris Caris & Mike Kennedy), South Florida PBA Representatives (Alex Munoz, Mitzi Brown, and Angela Carter) and PBA Lobbyists Gary Bradford, Ken Kopczynski, Stephanie Webster and me.
Our Law Enforcement Officers and Correctional Officers Bill of Rights Legislation (SB 884) received a hearing on the first day of session in the Senate Criminal Justice committee. This bill will restore the 180 day rule to apply to both internal and external complaints. Currently, an agency has to complete an investigation within 180 days if the complaint was externally generated, but there is no time limit on internally generated complaints. This is inconsistent with the original intent of the law. The bill will also include part time officers under the full bill of rights which is long overdue.
We thank our sponsor Senator Ed Hooper for presenting the legislation before the committee along with committee chairman Senator Keith Perry (also a co-sponsor) for scheduling the hearing. The bill passed unanimously.
We continue to lobby for the following important issues –
Pay Raises for Florida PBA’s State Bargaining Units:
Florida PBA is the exclusive collective bargaining representative the State Law Enforcement Officers, Florida Highway Patrol, Special Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Security Services (Correctional Officers, Correctional Probation Officers, and Institutional Security Specialist) and Lottery Law Enforcement Officers. Each bargaining team has presented a pay proposal to the state for consideration. The state has already declared impasse over pay since the Legislature is the deciding body on appropriation issues. Impasse hearing is scheduled for next Thursday.
Florida Retirement System:
Request relief from the FRS COLA suspension for Special Risk Members hired prior to July 1, 2011 and to roll back the years of service/age requirements for FRS members hired after July 1, 2011. We will also begin exploring ways to increase the employers’ contribution rate for members in the investment plan.
Our COLA legislation is being sponsored once again by Representative Chuck Clemons (HB 425) and Senator Joe Gruters (SB 858).
Peer to Peer Legislation:
We are working with a large coalition of law enforcement, corrections and firefighting organizations to create Florida’s first ever “Peer to Peer” support legislation to assist first responders’ with mental health needs. This legislation will provide properly trained peer support in conjunction with other agency resources such as the Employee Assistance Program.
SB 160 by Senator Keith Perry & Representative Joseph Casello (HB 573) are our sponsors.
If you are experiencing signs of depression, or if you are struggling a mental health issue please visit JonsChallenge.org.
Law Enforcement and Correctional Officers Bill of Rights:
The PBA and FOP are teaming up to address the Law Enforcement Officers and Correctional Officers Bill of Rights. A court decision split the definition of a complaint into “internal” and “external” which was never the intention of the statute. We are also extending the bill of rights to part-time officers. Our joint proposal will restore the original definition of complaint in the law.
Our sponsors for this legislation are Representative Wymann Duggan (HB 453) and Senator Ed Hooper (SB 884).
Until next time, please stay safe and may God bless you.
*Exclusive sponsor of the Florida PBA’s Capitol Report. The opinions expressed and positions articulated on legislative and regulatory matters are those of the Florida PBA and not those of the Lincoln Financial Group.