We passed three bills and made some progress with the budget leadership this week. Overall, Florida PBA had a good showing.

Please join me in thanking everyone who joined us in Tallahassee – President John “Kaz” Kazanjian, Palm Beach County PBA Treasurer Lou Penque, Palm Beach County PBA VP Rick McAfee, Senior VP Mick McHale, VP Jim Baiardi, VP Bill Smith, VP Steve Slade, CPO Treasurer Tony Highsmith, CPO Bill Clay along with Lobbyists Gary Bradford and Ken Kopczynski.

There are only three weeks left. Please read the summaries below –

Pay raises for State Law Enforcement Officers, Lottery Law Enforcement Officers, FDLE Special Agents, Florida Highway Patrol, Correctional Probation Officers, and Correctional Officers

The Senate budget proposal SB 2500 includes pay raises for three groups of our bargaining unit members: 

1) Correctional Probation Officers to receive a $2,500 to the base rate of pay.

2) Institutional Security Specialists to receive $2,500 to the base rate of pay. Institutional Security Specialists are certified Correctional Officers who work for the Department of Children & Families and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

3) The Florida Highway Patrol will receive a 3% special pay adjustment to the base rate of pay. 

The House budget proposal HB 5001 does not include pay raises for any of our bargaining unit members.

Conference committee meetings are expected to start next week.

SB 784 by Senator Joe Gruters and HB 779 by Representative Chuck Clemons

SB 784 by Senator Joe Gruters unanimously passed Senate Government Oversight & Accountability on Wednesday. 

The legislation was amended to fit the impact study results for a 2% COLA floor for all special risk members hired prior to July 1, 2011 and then retire as a special risk member after July 1, 2011. The language will not lower your COLA calculation if you are currently receiving more than 2% in retirement. 

You can watch the committee meeting here – our portion begins at the four minute mark. 

Based on the study, a 2% COLA floor will require a $113 million impact to this year’s budget although most of the impact is on counties with the state’s impact set at $24 million.

SB 920 by Senator Jason Pizzo and HB 1021 by Representative Chris Latvala

The idea is to help speed up the process for an arrest of a DNA match. Current law, requires a search warrant to collect a buccal swab of a person who matches a crime scene sample and an offender profile in CODIS. This step was added because sample collections are performed by humans and humans make mistakes. However, we strongly believe that a warrant for arrest should be an option available to a judge when a CODIS match is found.

SB 920 by Senator Jason Pizzo unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. You should watch our sponsor present the bill during the committee at the 38 minute mark.

HB 1021 by Representative Chris Latvala unanimously passed the House Judiciary Committee.

SB 76 by Senator Wilton Simpson and HB 45 or 107 by Representatives Emily Slosberg and Jackie Toledo

The legislation will make texting while driving, or, perhaps even, distracted driving a primary traffic offense. The question over whether this offense should be texting while driving, or distracted driving is dividing the Legislature.

Criminal Justice

We continue to be involved in the debate around criminal justice reform. The Senate is conducting a full scale review of our sentencing laws to specifically include minimum mandatory sentences for drug offenses, along incarceration models and diversion programs. 

Other Issues

We are also working with other special interests groups on an array of issues during this session. You can always contact us if there’s a question about something that we did, or did not cover.