We wrapped up the final interim committee week prior to the start of Legislative Session beginning on January 14 through March 13.

This week’s lobbying team consisted of Senior Vice President Mick McHale, Vice President Jim Baiardi, South Florida PBA Senior VP John Jenkins, CPO President Tammy Marcus, Gary Bradford, Ken Kopczynski, and me.

We continue to lobby for the following important issues:

Pay Raises for Florida PBA’s State Bargaining Units
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. Each bargaining team has presented a pay proposal to the state for consideration. The state has already declared impasse over pay since the Legislature is the deciding body on appropriation issues. Your local chapters will send updates on wage offers.

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 (HB 425) 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 Representative Joseph Casello (HB 573) are the sponsors.

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)