Archive for the Capitol Report Category

Florida PBA’s 2016 Legislative Agenda

In preparation for the 2016 Florida Legislative Session, the Florida Police Benevolent Association has identified the following issues and state legislative policies that are supported by the PBA.

The 2016 Florida Legislative Session begins on January 12 and ends on March 11. At the conclusion of the session, legislators will approve new state laws and finalize the state budget before it all goes before the Governor for final approval.

  • Equitable pay increases for the State Law Enforcement Officers, FDLE Special Agents, Lottery and FHP bargaining units represented by Florida PBA.
  • Support for the creation of a career development plan for first responders employed by the State of Florida (Sponsors: Senator John Legg – SB 1580 and Representative David Kerner – HB 621)
  • Support for any and all legislation reinstating the FRS COLA
  • Support for legislation enhancing the Survivor Benefit in Chapter 121 for first responders killed in the line of duty (Sponsors: Senator Jeremy Ring – SB 7012, Representative Mike Hill – HB 87 and Representative Rene Plasencia – HB 917)
  • Support for legislation allowing retired reemployed FRS employees to enroll in the FRS investment plan (Sponsors: Ring – SB 7014 and Representative Dan Raulerson – HB 881)
  • Support for legislation creating uniform guidelines for law enforcement officer body worn cameras (Sponsors: Senator Chris Smith- SB 418 and Representative Shevrin Jones HB 93)
  • Support for legislation establishing if a person makes threats against a law enforcement officer or an officer’s family that person commits the crime of a terroristic threat (Sponsors: Senator Wilton Simpson – SB 436 and Representative Jimmie Smith HB 259)
  • Support for legislation which will protect the identity of a witness to a felony (Sponsors: Senator Charlie Dean – SB 1314 and Representative Ed Narain – HB 475)
  • Support for a constitutional amendment that will require certain county office holders (i.e. Sheriff) must be elected (Sponsors: Senator Travis Hutson – SB 648 and Representative Frank Artiles – HB 165)
  • With reference to other legislation, authorization for the Executive Director to support legislation favorable to the membership or oppose legislation harmful to the membership.
  • BCCPA January Legislative Update

    There are several new laws and amended laws on the books for 2016 that all law enforcement officers should be aware of. They include open carrying of a weapon, discharging a firearm in a residential neighborhood, expunction of records of minors, justifiable use or threatened use of defensive force, medical marijuana, forfeiture of contraband and concealed weapon or firearm licenses. A summary of each is below.

    SB 300 – Open Carrying of a Weapon

    Introducer(s): Senator Don Gaetz
    Related Bills(s): HB 163 (In Judiciary, 11/24/15. Next meeting 1/11/15)

    Last Action: Referred to Judiciary Committee, 10/23/15 (Next meeting 1/12/15)
    Effective Date: Upon becoming law

    Bill amends F.S. 790 053, to permit the open carrying of a weapon or firearm by a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon or firearm. As of this date, the FPCA’s proposed amendments have not been incorporated into the bill.

    SB 130 – Discharging a Firearm in Residential Areas

    Introducer(s): Senator Garrett Richter
    Related Bills(s): HB 41 (Passed all House Committees)

    Last Action: Favorable vote in Fiscal Policy. Placed on calendar for 2nd reading on 11/19/15
    Effective Date: Upon becoming law

    Bill amends F.S. 790.15, to prohibit the discharge of a firearm outdoors in an area that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is primarily residential in nature and that has a residential density of one or more dwelling units per acre. A violation is a misdemeanor in the first degree.

    Bill creates the following exemptions:

    • For an individual who is lawfully defending life or property
    • For discharging a firearm under circumstances where the discharge does not pose a reasonable foreseeable risk of life, safety, or property
    • For the accidental discharge of a firearm

    SB 386 – Expunction of Records of Minors

    Introducer(s): Senators Nancy Detert & Darren Soto
    Related Bill(s): HB 147
    Last Action: In Fiscal Policy Committee, 12/7/15
    Effective Date: July 1, 2016

    Bill amends F.S. 943.0515, to change the retention of juvenile offender records from 5 years after the minor reaches 19 years of age to 2 years, provided that certain statutory exceptions do not exist. (Person is 18 years old or older and is charged or convicted of a forcible felony or child has not been classified as a serious or habitual juvenile offender.)

    SB 344 – Justifiable Use or Threatened Use of Defensive Force

    Introducer(s): Senator(s): Rob Bradley
    Co-introducer(s): Senator(s): Charles Dean; Greg Evers; Aaron Bean; & Wilton Simpson

    Related Bill(s): HB 169
    Last Action: Placed on Calendar for 2nd reading on 12/7/15
    Effective Date: Upon becoming law

    Bill amends F.S. 776.032, to remove the burden of proof of self-defense from the individual asserting the defense. Once an individual asserts a prima facie case of self-defense, the State then has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual is not entitled to dismissal of the charge on the grounds that he/she acted in self-defense.

    The most recent version of the Bill removes the language which entitled a defendant who prevails during a motion to dismiss, to private attorney’s fees and costs for defending the criminal action.

    SB 440 – Experimental Treatments for Terminal Conditions

    Introducer(s): Senators Rob Bradley & Daren Soto
    Related Bill(s): HB 307
    Last Action: Fiscal Policy Committee, 12/7/15
    Effective Date: 7/1/16

    Bill amends F.S. 499.0295, to permit eligible patients or their representatives to purchase and possess cannabis for medical use. The cannabis must be purchased from an approved dispensing organization as defined by F.S. 381.986 (facility approved by the Dept. of Health).

    SB 852 – Medical Marijuana

    Introducer(s): Senator Jeff Brandes
    Related Bill(s): SB 616 & HB 4021
    Last Action Referred to Regulated Industries and Health Policy Committees, 12/3/15
    Effective Date: 7/1/16

    Bill repeals the “Compassionate Use of Low-THC Cannabis Act and creates F.S. 381.99 (Florida Medical Marijuana Act”). The Bill authorizes a registered patient or a designated caregiver to purchase, acquire, and possess up to the allowed amount of medical marijuana for a patient’s medical use. To qualify for the Act, a registered patient or a designated caregiver must demonstrate that they have been diagnosed with one of the listed infirmities and manifest specific listed symptoms from the infirmity. The Bill also requires that the Dept. of Health notify law enforcement of the expiration or cancellation of an identification card.

    SB 1044 – Forfeiture of Contraband

    Introducer(s): Senators Jeff Brandes & Joe Negron
    Related Bill(s): HB 0883
    Last Action: Referred to Criminal Justice and Fiscal Committees and Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice, 12/17/15
    Effective Date: 7/1/16

    The Bill amends F.S. 932.703, to bestow upon the law enforcement agency “provisional title” to seized property upon a finding of probable cause for the seizure. The Bill then requires that the property owner be convicted of the charges supporting the forfeiture before title to the property passes to the agency. Additionally, the law enforcement agency is financially responsible to the property owner for any damage, storage fees, and any other related applicable costs, if the owner is acquitted of the charges or the charges are nolle prosed or dismissed by the court.

    SB 1140 – Concealed Weapon or Firearm Licenses

    Introducer(s): Senator Dwight Bullard
    Related Bill(s): HB 0935
    Last Action: Filed 12/15/15
    Effective Date: 7/1/16

    Bill requires a concealed weapon or firearm licensee to inform a first responder that they are in possession of a weapon or firearm, and display both the license and proper identification upon demand of the first responder. Failure to provide such notification is a non-criminal infraction which carries a $1,000.00 fine payable to the clerk of court. Additionally, any subsequent violation of this section would mandate a suspension or revocation of one’s license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm.

    PBA’s Step Pay Plan Legislation Is Officially Filed

    PBA’s Step Pay Plan Legislation Is Officially Filed

    By Matt Puckett
    Executive Director, Florida PBA

    We are happy to announce that Florida House Representative Dave Kerner has filed HB 621 on our behalf creating a step plan for all First Responders employed by state government. The plan creates a career development path for First Responders. The Legislation does not specify any particular type of career plan. Instead it will be up to each bargaining unit (if applicable) and agency to negotiate a career plan … this law will only mandate that one shall exist for First Responders.

    The PBA has also indicated to the Department of Management Services that we intend to submit career plan proposals to each respective agency during upcoming negotiations. These proposals will have the fiscal impacts attached and are intended to be used in conjunction with Representative Kerner’s career development legislation. We will actively pursue both the career plan legislation and our proposals for step plans during the upcoming 2016 Legislative Session.

    Until next time, stay safe.

    PBA Lobbyists Meet With Senate President Andy Gardiner

    pba-lobbyist-11062015

    We are in the final week of the THIRD special session of 2015. The Legislature spent the week balancing a redrawing of the Florida Senate districts with interim committee meetings. Our legislative agenda saw a very limited amount of activity this week, but we were able to sit with Senate President Andy Gardiner.

    Our conversation with President Gardiner touched on all of our agenda items. We talked at length about raises for our state employee bargaining unit members along with the creation of a career development plan for all first responders employed by state agencies. The President took time to emphasize his support for increasing the special risk death benefits legislation currently working its way through both chambers. We agreed to keep him in the loop on our issues as they progress through the process. We are grateful for his time and attention especially considering the difficulties surrounding the special session. Our plan is to have a follow up meeting with him and his staff midway through the regular session.

    Now that we have met with both presiding officers, we will schedule meetings with the appropriations chairmen and staff, individual legislators and the executive office.

    Also please note, we met with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam last week to discuss our legislative agenda. He was gracious with his time and expressed an interest in several of our issues.

    We still have a long ways to go. Many of issues are still in bill drafting so we hope by next committee week to have a list of all of our bills and sponsors.

    We supported HB 93 in Wednesday’s House Criminal Justice committee. This legislation which attempts to create statewide guidelines for use of body cameras is a repeat effort from last session. The bill does not mandate body cameras. It simply sets minimum standards for policy and requires proper training of all personnel prior to implementation in an agency. The bill passed the committee by a 13 – 0 vote.

    Finally, thank you to everyone who took our legislative survey this past week. We received a lot of valuable information and we will use it as a guide to our approach this session.

    Until next time, stay safe.

    Matt Puckett
    Executive Director
    Florida PBA

    The Fallout From Negron’s Senate Presidency Win

    the-capitol-report-11062015

    By Matt Dixon
    Politico Florida

    TALLAHASSEE – A Senate presidency fight that had killed top leadership priorities, played a starring role in derailed legislative sessions, and been the dominant force in the Legislature’s upper chamber for nearly three years has come to an end.

    Sen. Jack Latvala Thursday conceded to Sen. Joe Negron, the member he has duked it out with, often very publicly, for the past few legislative sessions.

    “The leadership race in the Florida Senate is over,” read a press release announcing Negron’s victory. “Senator Latvala has requested that his supporters in the Senate and in open seats support Senator Negron to serve as Senate President in the 2017-18 term.”

    Click here for the complete story.

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    2650 West State Road 84
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

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