This week was the second of six interim committee weeks for the Florida Legislature. As previously stated, these meetings are designed to get a early start on the major issues of the upcoming session.
This week’s lobbying team was led by Senior Vice President Mick McHale, Correctional Probation Officers’ President Tammy Marcus, State Correctional Officers’ President Jim Baiardi, Gary Bradford, Ken Kopczynski along with me.
Here are the issues we are lobbying for this session:
Pay Raises for Florida PBA’s State Bargaining Units:
We are not publicly releasing our proposals yet, because we just started contract negotiations. All of our pay raise proposals will be announced in next few weeks. Just a reminder, Florida PBA is the exclusive collective bargaining representative the State Law Enforcement Officers, Florida Highway Patrol, Special Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Security Services (Correctional Officers, Correctional Probation Officers, and Institutional Security Specialist) and Lottery Law Enforcement Officers.
Florida Retirement System:
Request relief from the FRS COLA suspension and to roll back the years of service/age requirements for FRS members hired after July 1, 2011. We will also begin exploring ways to increase the employers’ contribution rate for members in the investment plan.
Our COLA legislation is being sponsored once again by Representative Chuck Clemons and Senator Joe Gruters.
Peer to Peer Legislation:
We are working with a large coalition of law enforcement, corrections and firefighting organizations to create Florida’s first ever “Peer to Peer” support legislation to assist first responders’ with mental health needs. This legislation will provide properly trained peer support in lieu of the Employee Assistance Programs.
SB 160 by Senator Keith Perry is on next week’s Children & Families Committee agenda.
Law Enforcement and Correctional Officers Bill of Rights:
The PBA and FOP are teaming up to address the Law Enforcement Officers and Correctional Officers Bill of Rights. A court decision split the definition of a complaint into “internal” and “external” which was never the intention of the statute. We are also extending the bill of rights to part-time officers. Our joint proposal will restore the original definition of complaint in the law.
There are certainly more issues to discuss, but these items listed above are part of our main agenda.
One issue not on our list, but important to us is preventing a home owners’ association from sanctioning you for parking your patrol car in your driveway. In fact, Senior Vice President Mick McHale spoke in favor of legislation at a press conference on Wednesday to allow your patrol vehicle to be parked in front of your home regardless of whether your home owner association’s covenant prevents this practice.
The third interim committee meeting week starts on Monday. We will continue to move our agenda items forward. Thank you for reading this very brief summary and please stay tuned for more details in future reports.