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The Capitol Report For The Week Of April 3-7

Week five of the session, we are at the halfway point of session.

  • Legislative budget proposals get first hearings of the year and PBA units are receiving raises in both plans.
  • Body camera footage review legislation completes Senate Committee schedule and heads to the Senate floor to join the House of Representatives’ identical version.
  • FRS COLA studies have not been completed.
  • Local pension bills continue to move through the House of Representatives.
  • The elected sheriff’s legislation ran into opposition in both chambers.
  • The Department of Corrections legislation was amended at the PBA’s request to keep LTs, CPTs, CPOs Supervisors and CPO Senior Supervisors in the bargaining unit.

Please review our mid-session summaries below.

Pay Raises Proposals
The Senate and House Appropriations Committees approved the respective chamber’s initial pay raise proposals. The details are:

  • The Senate budget includes a pay raise for all state employees on September 30, 2017 ($1,400 for employees earning under $40,000 per year and $1,000 for employees earning over $40,000). This raise is on top of the specific raises for the units listed below.
  • Both budgets include a 5% across the board pay raise for the FHP, Law Enforcement Officers and FDLE Special Agents bargaining units (Senate Plan includes the Lottery Law Enforcement Unit, but House left the unit out by mistake).
  • Correctional Officers of all classes in the Security Services bargaining unit will receive an additional pay raise (see details below) in the Senate Budget. The House proposal includes a $1,300 across the board pay raise for COs in all bargaining unit classes.
  • Correctional Probation Officers (all bargaining unit classes) and Institutional Security Specialists are only included in the across the board raise for all state employees in the Senate and not included in the House proposal (please see below for details).

Correctional Officers Pay Raise in Senate Budget
On July 1, 2017, each correctional officer in all classes of the bargaining unit will receive a minimum of $2,500, or the amount necessary to move the employee to following new base amount:

  • Correctional Officer – $33,500
  • Correctional Officer SGT – $36,850
  • Correctional Officer LT – $40,535
  • Correctional Officer CPT – $44,589

Correctional Probation Officers and Institutional Security Specialists
Correctional Probation Officers and Institutional Security Specialists are not included in the July 1st pay raises in either budget proposal. The Senate does include both employee groups in the September 30th proposal.

The justification for not including the CPOs and ISS centered on turnover and vacancy rates.

The PBA disagrees with the Legislature’s assessment. We are discussing inclusion with both leadership teams (House and Senate). Once the conference committees (budget negotiations) get to work on the differences of the two proposals, our team will lobby hard for inclusion. With four weeks to go, we still have plenty of time to add CPOs and ISS to the plan.

Like I said last week, it is not the time to get give up, or lash out. We always anticipated varying levels of funding for pay raises and zero has been a possibility from the beginning. We are fully prepared to address this through our lobbying team. Please do not let this setback cause you or your fellow officers to attack legislators. That is counterproductive to our strategy and it will guarantee that you will not be added to the pay raises plan in the end.

PBA is going to put boots on the ground to make sure you are included. We have a large team of lobbyists already, but if you have an interest in joining us in Tallahassee to help, please call me at 1-800-733-3722, or email matt@flpba.org.

State Employee Health Insurance Premiums
No employee premium increases included in either budget and the spousal program stays in effect.

The Career Development Plan
The Career Development plan has become the doubling of the Salary Incentive program for state agencies. This change in strategy was done at PBA’s request. SB 168 by Senator Jack Latvala was amended to allow the doubling of salary incentive dollars for participating officers. The concept was one of the issues that came out of our career development workgroup.

The House bill (SB 247) has been stalled because of fiscal concerns since the start of session. If we can keep the doubling of the salary incentive plan alive in the Senate, perhaps we can get a compromise position on the issue during budget negotiations (conference committee).

There is still a lot pushback towards creating a step plan. We have to keep making it a priority and educating the Legislature, DMS and the Governor on why it is important to the long viability of each agency.

It is our belief that going after the Career Development Plan Workgroup concepts will go a long way to making step plans a reality.

Local Pension Plans
PBA Lobbyists are monitoring both the West Palm Beach ( HB 1135) and Tampa ( HB 533) pension plans. Each bill continues to receive hearings and move through the process.

Body Camera Footage Review
HB 305 by Representative Shawn Harrison passed the full Florida House of Representatives (116-0) last week. It is in the Senate now.

The Senate Rules Committee unanimously passed SB 624 by Senator Greg Steube which wrapped this bill’s committee schedule. The bills are now ready to be united on the Senate floor for final passage.

Sheriffs Must Be Elected
Both bills were temporarily postponed this week. Negotiations are underway to get the bills back on track before time runs out.

Reinstating the FRS COLA
The PBA and Firefighters presented study proposals to the Senate in the early weeks of February, but these impact studies have not been completed. We are in a holding pattern.

Please join me in thanking John Rivera, Jeff Marano, Luis Fuste, Blanca Greenwood, Pablo Lima, Rod Skirvin, Stephanie Womble, Tom Tiberio, and Anastasios Kamoutas for joining us in Tallahassee this week.

The Capitol Report For The Week Of March 27-31

The Senate and House have released their initial pay raise proposals. The details are:

-The Senate budget includes a pay raise for all state employees on September 30, 2017 ($1,400 for employees earning under $40,000 per year and $1,000 for employees earning over $40,000). This raise is on top of the specific raises for the units listed below.

– Both budgets include a 5% across the board pay raise for the FHP, Law Enforcement Officers and FDLE Special Agents bargaining units (Senate Plan includes the Lottery Law Enforcement Unit, but House left the unit out by mistake).

– Correctional Officers of all classes in the Security Services bargaining unit will receive an additional pay raise (see details below) in the Senate Budget. The House proposal includes a $1,300 across the board pay raise for COs in all bargaining unit classes.

– Correctional Probation Officers (all bargaining unit classes) and Institutional Security Specialists are only included in the across the board raise for all state employees in the Senate and not included in the House proposal (please see below for details).

Correctional Officers Pay Raise in Senate Budget
On July 1, 2017, each correctional officer in all classes of the bargaining unit will receive a minimum of $2,500, or the amount necessary to move the employee to following new base amount:

  • Correctional Officer – $33,500
  • Correctional Officer SGT – $36,850
  • Correctional Officer LT – $40,535
  • Correctional Officer CPT – $44,589

Correctional Probation Officers and Institutional Security Specialists
Obviously, the biggest oversight in both budgets is not including CPOs and ISS. PBA has already been in contact with Secretary Jones and Senate & House budget staff to begin addressing this situation.

The justification for not including the CPOs and ISS centered on turnover and vacancy rates. This issue is incredibly misleading since the CPOs had a three year hiring freeze and then filled the positions over the last two years. Basically, you are being a victim of the agency’s success in hiring in new officers.

The PBA and Secretary Jones strongly disagree with the Legislature’s assessment of the agency’s need and we have asked for the CPOs inclusion. PBA will also work to include ISS into a new proposal.

We have five weeks to fix this oversight and now is not the time to get give up, or lash out. We always anticipated varying levels of funding for pay raises and zero has been a possibility from the beginning. We are fully prepared to address this through our lobbying team. Please do not let this setback cause you or your fellow officers to attack legislators. That is counterproductive to our strategy and it will guarantee that you will not be added to the pay raises plan in the end.

Health Insurance Premiums
No employee premium increase included in either budget and the spousal program stays in effect.

Salary Incentive Proposal
SB 168 by Senator Jack Latvala was amended to allow the doubling of salary incentive dollars for participating officers. The concept was one of the issues that came out of our career development workgroup. The bill passed the Senate Government Oversight & Accountability Committee.

Local Pension Plans
PBA lobbyists continue to monitor the Tampa pension bill HB 1153 by Representative Matt Willhite. It passed the House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee.

Body Camera Footage Review
HB 305 by Representative Shawn Harrison passed the full Florida House of Representatives (116 -0). This legislation will allow an officer wearing a body camera to review the recorded footage of an incident before making a statement, or writing a report.

The legislation in the Senate has one more committee stop before it will be available to be heard on the Senate floor.

Sheriffs Must Be Elected
SB 134 by Senator Frank Artiles was heard in the Senate Ethics & Elections Committee. The bill will place a constitutional amendment on the 2018 General Election Ballot asking voters to approve the statewide requirement that all sheriffs must be elected. Currently, only Dade County has an appointed public safety director. PBA testified in support of the legislation. The bill passed the committee.

Three PBA Supported Bills Pass the House of Representatives

  • HB 39 by Representative Evan Jenne adds autism awareness training to FDLE’s criminal justice training requirements.
  • HB 111 by Representative Cynthia Stafford creates a two year public record exemption for a witness to a murder.
  • HB 305 by Representative Shawn Harrison allows a law enforcement officer utilizing a body worn camera to review recorded footage from his or her camera before writing a report or making a statement.

Please join me in thanking George Lofton, Jonathan Van Houten, Markus Hughes and Matt Enhoffer for joining us in Tallahassee this week.

Legislative Activity For The Week Of February 20-24

We finished the last week of interim committee meetings before the official start of the 2017 Legislative Session.

PBA lobbyists had a busy week testifying before multiple committees in support of our legislative agenda. PBA President John Rivera was also in Tallahassee to support a potential charter referendum which could transform the Miami-Dade County government. All in all, we believe our entire agenda is strategically positioned heading into the session.

SB 134 by Senator Frank Artiles will allow a charter referendum to be placed on the ballot in Miami-Dade County to ask voters to consider changing the Director of Public Safety to an elected sheriff. Currently, Miami-Dade County is the only county in the state that does not have an elected sheriff and PBA believes that it is time for a change. PBA President and Miami-Dade County PBA President John Rivera testified in support of the legislation. The bill passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee.

HB 305 by Representative Shawn Harrison adds a new guideline to Chapter 943.1718 F.S., authorizing law enforcement officers to review body camera footage prior writing a report, or issuing a statement on an incident he, or she was involved in. PBA Lobbyist Gary Bradford testified in support of the legislation. The bill passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

All five of the PBA state bargaining units were before the Joint Committee on Collective Bargaining which allows the state and the union to present the unresolved positions (PAY RAISES and Career Development Plan) to a committee of Senators and Representatives of the Legislature. PBA Executive Director Matt Puckett testified on our issues before this committee. The committee does not take a vote, but will issue a letter for the consideration of the presiding legislative officers outlining the unresolved issues at impasse.

Additional issues receiving PBA public support:
SB 154 and HB 39 by Senator Perry Thurston and Representative Evan Jenne will require FDLE to create Autism Awareness Training as part of standard training for law enforcement officers.

SB 550 by Senator Randolph Bracy will exempt the name of a witness to a murder from the public records for two years.

We will have a one week break before the 60 days of session begins. In our estimation, PBA has checked every box we attempted to check prior to the start of session. We look forward to a productive session.

Legislative Activity For The Week Of January 23-27

This week PBA leaders met with Senate President Joe Negron and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Chief of Staff Mat Bahl to discuss our legislative priorities for the 2017 Session. Our primary discussions centered on pay raises for state officers and restoring the FRS COLA.

Both leaders indicated they will give strong consideration to funding for employees’ pay raises and authorizing FRS studies in the upcoming fiscal year. At this early point in the legislative budget process, that’s about all we can ask for.

We will follow up with the leaders again in late February.

Review of Body Camera Footage
HB 305 by Representative Shawn Harrison has been referenced to House Criminal Justice and House Judiciary.

The legislation will allow an officer to review footage from a body worn camera prior to writing a report, or making a statement on an officer involved incident. Although several jurisdictions already have the policy in standard operation procedures; there are outliers. We strongly believe not having this policy in place severely hampers an officer’s ability to fully utilize body cameras as a tool. Whether you like body cameras, or not, preventing this provision in an agency’s SOP puts the officer, the agency and, perhaps justice itself, in jeopardy.

Senator Greg Steube has the companion bill in Senate bill drafting.

Career Development Plan for Public Safety Officers
For the second year, the PBA will lobby for the creation of a Public Safety Officers’ Career Development Plan. The legislation requires each agency to establish a Career Development Plan for state law enforcement officers, state correctional officers, state correctional probation officers and state forestry firefighters. All of these officers are among the lowest paid in the state and nation. This legislation will set the agencies on a path to creating a sustainable salary plan that helps to recruit and retain public safety professionals. The details of this legislation will most certainly shift and adjust as it moves through the process. The end result will be a plan that provides salary increases to officers objectively based on their experience and ability.

Our sponsors are Senate Budget Chairman Jack Latvala (SB 168) and Representative Bobby Payne (HB 247).

Please join me in thanking the following PBA leaders for joining us in Tallahassee this week: John Rivera, Ernie George, John Kazanjian, and Mick McHale.

BCPBA Preseident Jeff Marano’s Letter To The Editor

Last week, the brave men and women in Broward County Law Enforcement were unfortunately called upon to serve as a horrified nation watched their every move. As an active shooter scenario unfolded at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, hundreds of Broward County’s finest responded with weapons in hand and tactical vests donned to assist The Broward Sheriff’s Office with the monumental task. None of these brave men and women asked, “Are we covered under the mutual aid agreement? Are we on overtime? Do we have jurisdiction to take a police action?” They just showed up and asked, “Where do you need me?”

No academy or training class, directive or policy manual can prepare an agency to begin to control a scene as complicated as the one that played out just a week ago. How can you possibly attempt to contain potential threats, gather intelligence and simultaneously provide services, and safety, for thousands of grounded passengers? There are plenty of “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” out there, most of which have never managed a critical incident as a law enforcement officer, and are just naturally anti-police critics.

The Broward County PBA cannot say enough about the bravery and valor of these law enforcement men and women, who responded without hesitation, as well as the command presence of Sheriff Scott Israel and his staff and the professional manner in which this situation was managed.

We also hope the subsequent release of the video of the incident does not diminish or detract from the unselfish acts taken by the Broward County law enforcement community who protects and serves the citizens of this great county.

Sincerely,

Jeff Marano
President, Broward County PBA

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2650 West State Road 84
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