Archive for the Capitol Report Category

PBA Lobbyists Meet With Senate President Andy Gardiner

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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

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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.

Capitol Report: Critical Market Pay Update

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The Governor signed the critical market pay additive into law yesterday.  Therefore, effective July 1, 2015, the agency will pay a $5,000 critical market pay additive to Troopers in the following counties: Hillsborough, Orange, Pinellas, Duval, Marion and Escambia.  You must reside and be assigned to one of these six counties in order to receive the pay additive. Also, this additive only applies while you meet the reside and assigned to criteria.

The agency will also pay the additive to Lieutenants in the six counties.

We have discussed a number of unique circumstances with the agency about residency requirements.  At this time, we are waiting for the agency to review our requests and provide us with an official response.  As soon as we learn more we will send out the information.

As always stay safe.

 

 

Capitol Report

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The Capitol Report

Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Matt Puckett, Executive Director
matt@flpba.org

The Florida Legislature finished the budgeting process last night at midnight. As usual, salaries were one of the last decisions to be made.

Here’s how our bargaining units fared in the final budget.

FWC:

The Legislature provided a critical market pay additive for the following counties: Lee, Collier, Monroe, Broward and Dade.
FHP:

The Legislature provided a 5% critical market pay additive for Troopers in the following counties: Hillsborough, Orange, Pinellas, Duval, Marion and Escambia. Also, the previous Cost Area Differential (CAD) dollars in other locations remain in place.

Additionally, a $2,000 pay additive may be provided for the following special duties:

– K-9 handlers;
– Felony Officers;
– Criminal Interdiction Officers;
– Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Officers:
– New recruits background checks and training and technology support officers;
– Drug recognition experts;
– hazardous material squad members;
– compliance investigation squad members;
– motorcycle officers.
The Legislature permanently funded $850,000 for overtime.

Other state agencies:

No pay additives.

Why did the Legislature decide not to fund across the board raises? For those of you following the regular session, you will remember that the Low Income Pool (LIP) funding for the poor caused the session to breakdown. Low income pool funding provides health care dollars for the poor. The federal government is phasing out the LIP funding, but granted Florida an extension of one year at a reduced amount. This created a large shortfall in the operating budget.

All state PBA units:

There were no changes to health insurance premiums for employees and no increases to the employee contribution to the Florida Retirement System.

We also signed off on the status quo policy for the special compensatory leave article in the contract. This means our current contract language remains in place. This issue was at impasse during the regular session. We proposed to create a pay as you system for special compensatory leave and the Department of Management Services provided a counter proposal that we could not accept.

Here’s the major difference in the proposals – We want to be able to keep the existing contractual language allowing up to 240 hours of previously earned special comp and DMS wants that balance on past special comp to be zero. We are working with DMS to reach a solution that does not take away the previous balances, but allows a payout on future special comp earnings. Status quo keeps the balances in place and gives us another year to reach a solution.

The Legislature starts early next year; we are already discussing a pay proposal with the Speaker of House and Senate President. We will keep you informed as soon as the interim committees begin in September.

Capitol Report: Subcommittees Conducted Budget Conference

The Florida Legislature inched closer to a state funding budget for 2015-16 over the weekend as subcommittees met to work out differences.  Our bargaining units avoided reductions to staffing and other critical funding.

The Florida Highway Patrol received additional $850,000 in recurring revenue for overtime costs.  In the past, the allocation has been more, but the money was from nonrecurring funds.

We are still waiting to resolve our impasse issues on special compensatory time and salaries.  This should be completed by the end of the week.  We will keep you posted.

As always, stay safe.

Matt Puckett, Executive Director

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Benevolent Association
2650 West State Road 84
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

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