We completed the fourth week of the 2020 Legislative Session.
The big moves of the week were the official passage of the two chambers’ General Appropriation Acts. Each chamber presented the budget proposals to their respective Appropriations Committees. Those committees approved the proposals which now travel to the Senate and House floors for approval. The budgets do not match up which is by design. Once the two chambers pass their separate budget proposals, the Legislature will form budget conference committees to negotiate a final budget compromise. This final budget will decide pay proposals and other appropriation issues.
We also supported our reform to the Law Enforcement and Correctional Officers’ Bill of Rights (HB 453 by Representative Wyman Duggan) during the House Oversight, Transparency & Public Management Subcommittee. The legislation includes part time officers under the bill of rights and redefines the 180 day limitation for length of investigations to apply to both internal and external complaints. The legislation was supported by the State FOP, Florida Police Chiefs and the Florida PBA. The bill passed unanimously.
Our COLA legislation received a new impact analysis which now allows our sponsor Senator Joe Gruters to present the bill (SB 858) next Monday during the Senate Government Oversight & Accountability Committee.
Finally and tragically, we lost another brave officer on Wednesday when Trooper Joseph Bullock was killed in the line of duty. Trooper Bullock was a 19 year member of the Florida Highway Patrol and a veteran of the United States Air Force. The violence against Trooper Bullock was beyond senseless and my words are totally inadequate to express the disbelief we all feel. You can read more here. We ask that you please keep his family and all the members of the Florida Highway Patrol in your prayers.
Issues We Continue To Lobby For
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. The Senate and House released separate pay raise proposals at the end of the week. An agreement on wages must be reached before March 13th.
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 our 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).