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.