This week was the last of the interim committee meetings scheduled for November. The only interim week left is during December on the 9th through the 13th. The Legislative Session will begin on January 14th through March 13th.

This week’s lobbying team consisted of Senior Vice President Mick McHale, Vice President Jim Baiardi, Vice President Steve Slade, CPO President Tammy Marcus, Correctional Officers Steve and Amanda Pepin, Gary Bradford, Ken Kopczynski, along with Florida PBA General Counsel Stephanie Webster.

We continue to lobby for the following important issues:

Pay Raises for Florida PBA’s State Bargaining Units:
All of our pay raise proposals will be announced in coming 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 for Special Risk Members hired prior to July 1, 2011, 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 (SB 858).

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 conjunction with other agency resources such as the Employee Assistance Program.

SB 160 by Senator Keith Perry passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously on Tuesday. The legislation is a work in progress. We anticipate further amendments at the next committee.

Representative Joseph Casello is the sponsor HB 573.

If you are experiencing signs of depression, or if you are struggling a mental health issue please visit JonsChallenge.org.

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.

Our sponsors for this legislation are Representative Wymann Duggan (HB 453) and Senator Ed Hooper (SB 884)