Capitol Report March 15, 2022

The Legislature completed multiple major issues for Law Enforcement, Correctional and Probation Officers on Monday, March 14, 2022. Session is officially over.

Please read through the list below for summaries of the issues:

A) HJR 1 & HB 1563 by Representative Josie Tomkow and Senator Jason Brodeur are the constitutional amendment proposal and implementation legislation which will provide an additional $50,000 homestead exemption to classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, child welfare services professionals, active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and members of the Florida National Guard. The exemption will be assessed on the value greater than $100,000 and up to $150,000 of the occupant’s homesteaded property. The exemption will only apply to active “critical public service workers”.

The legislation will be sent to the Governor for his signature and, because it is a proposed constitutional amendment, the final approval will be determined if 60% of the General Election voters say “Yes” during the November 8, 2022 General Election.

B) HB 5007 extends the Florida Retirement System DROP by three years for law enforcement officers to help retain veteran officers at every FRS participating agency in the state. The legislation also increases the employer contribution to all active investment plan participants by an additional three percent. There will be a six year eligibility window for the DROP extension, a law enforcement officer must be participating in the DROP on or after July 1, 2022 and prior to July 1, 2028.

This legislation will be sent to the Governor for final approval.

C) Pay raises for PBA’s state bargaining unit members are completed

Effective July 1, 2022, State Law Enforcement Officers, Lottery Law Enforcement Officers and Highway Patrol Troopers will receive a 5.38% plus a 5%, or the base salary will move to $50K whichever is higher.

Correctional & Probation Officer pay increases are as follows:

Effective July 1, 2022, each Officer will receive a 5.38% increase to their base salary before the new bases apply.

The new base salaries are as follows:
Correctional Officer $41,600
Correctional Sergeant $45,760
Correctional Lt $52,624
Correctional Cpt $57,886

Probation Officer $41,600
Senior Probation Officer $47,840
Probation Specialist $47,840
Probation Supervisor $52,624
Probation Senior Supervisor $57,886

Retention pay for COs & CPOs
$1,000 to the base for officers with two years or more, but less than five years
$1,500 to the base for officers with five years or more, but less than eight years
$2,500 to the base for officers with eight of more years

Effective on July 1, 2022, Institutional Security Specialists will receive the 5.38% increase to their base salary before the new base of $41,600 applies, or a 5%, whichever is higher.

The raises will be sent to the Governor for approval.

D) HB 689 by Representative Mike Giallombardo & Senator Danny Burgess expands on the time limitation for Workers’ Compensation Coverage of PTSD for First Responders. Currently, an officer has 90 days from the date of the event or manifestation of the disorder (whichever is later) to provide the employer with a notice of injury, or death. However, an officer has 52 weeks from the date of the event to file a workers’ compensation claim.

The legislation provides that the time for notice of injury or death a claim of PTSD is 90 days from the qualifying event that supports the claim or the diagnosis, rather than the manifestation, of the disorder (whichever is later). The bill also provides that the PTSD workers’ compensation claim is prohibited if not properly noticed within one year of the qualifying event, or the diagnosis of the disorder (whichever is later).

The legislation also adds correctional officers into Florida’s First Responder’s PTSD workers’ compensation coverage. The changes to the law will take effect on July 1, 2022.

This legislation will be sent to the Governor for final approval.

E) HB 3 by Representative Tom Leek creates the following (taken directly from the staff analysis):

  • Creates the Florida Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Program to provide one-time bonus payments to newly employed law enforcement officers in Florida;
  • Creates the Florida Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship Program to cover tuition, fees, and up to $1,000 of eligible education expenses for trainees enrolled in a law enforcement officer basic recruit training program;
  • Creates a reimbursement program to pay for up to $1,000 of equivalency training costs for certified law enforcement officers who relocate to Florida or members of the special operations forces who become full-time law enforcement officers;
  • Provides law enforcement officers who adopt a child from within the state child welfare system with a $25,000 benefit for adopting a child with special needs or a $10,000 benefit for adopting a child without special needs;
  • Makes dependent children of law enforcement officers eligible to receive a Family Empowerment Scholarship to attend a private school;
  • Increases the base salary for each county sheriff by $5,000 – the Legislature approved over $15 million for Deputies and Correctional Deputies in the 29 statutory defined fiscally constrained counties (please see the proviso language and list of counties below along with allocations);
  • Exempts veterans and applicants with an associate degree or higher from taking the basic skills test as a prerequisite to entering a law enforcement officer basic recruit training program;
  • Requires that law enforcement officers receive training in health and wellness principles as part of their initial certification training and continued employment training;
  • Allows law enforcement officers or former law enforcement officers to receive postsecondary credit at Florida public postsecondary educational institutions for training and experience acquired while serving;
  • Encourages each district school board to establish public safety telecommunication training programs and law enforcement explorer programs in public schools; and
  • Designates May 1 of each year as β€œLaw Enforcement Appreciation Day.”

The legislation will be sent to the Governor for final approval.

That’s all for this session. As always, please stay safe.

Sincerely,

Matt Puckett

Fiscally Constrained Counties proviso language

From the funds in Specific Appropriation 1248, $15,047,787 in recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund is provided for salary increases for local law enforcement officers deputy sheriffs and correctional officers employed by sheriff’s offices in fiscally constrained counties, as defined in section 218.67(1), Florida Statutes, as follows:

Baker County Sheriff’s Office……………………….. 223,000
Bradford County Sheriff’s Office…………………….. 535,000
Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office……………………… 330,773
Columbia County Sheriff’s Office…………………….. 1,047,014
Desoto County Sheriff’s Office………………………. 397,000
Dixie County Sheriff’s Office……………………….. 525,000
Franklin County Sheriff’s Office…………………….. 410,000
Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office……………………… 500,000
Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office……………………. 370,000
Glades County Sheriff’s Office………………………. 293,000
Gulf County Sheriff’s Office………………………… 188,000
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office…………………….. 206,500
Hardee County Sheriff’s Office………………………. 275,000
Hendry County Sheriff’s Office………………………. 598,000
Highlands County Sheriff’s Office……………………. 945,000
Holmes County Sheriff’s Office………………………. 635,000
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office……………………… 990,000
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office……………………. 261,000
Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office……………………. 296,000
Levy County Sheriff’s Office………………………… 825,000
Liberty County Sheriff’s Office……………………… 476,000
Madison County Sheriff’s Office……………………… 487,000
Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office…………………… 822,500
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office………………………. 1,125,000
Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office…………………….. 604,000
Taylor County Sheriff’s Office………………………. 289,000
Union County Sheriff’s Office……………………….. 295,800
Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office……………………… 653,200
Washington County Sheriff’s Office…………………… 445,000

Funds shall be distributed in quarterly advances and reconciled at the conclusion of each state fiscal year. By October 1, 2022, the sheriff’s offices shall report to the Florida Sheriff’s Association how funds were distributed to officers.