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.