2018 Broward County PBA Officers of the Year

The 2018 Broward County PBA Officers of the Year are:

Thomas P. Honan, Broward District Schools
Matthew J. Goodnow, Broward Sheriff’s Office
Christopher Neves, Broward Sheriff’s Office
Gerald Wengert, Broward Sheriff’s Office
Michael Leonard, Coconut Creek
Jennifer Higgins, Hallandale Beach
Andrew Kirchoff, Hillsboro Beach
Paul Scheel, Hollywood
Dillon Russell, Lauderhill
Michael Tomasi, Lighthouse Point
Rachel Druzbik and Samuel Phanor, Margate
Joseph M. Calicchio, Miramar
Luis E. Bermudez, Pembroke Pines
William H. Koch, Sea Ranch Lakes
Craig Cardinale, Sunrise
Fernando Arias, Wilton Manors

Governor DeSantis Reiterates His Support Of Law Enforcement

The Florida PBA met with Governor Ron DeSantis this week to discuss our budget priorities. The Governor and his staff were gracious with their time. His message was clear, he fully supports Florida’s law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and correctional probation officers.

Our legislative priorities are safe on his watch. Now, we just have to get all of our items to his desk.

Also please join me in thanking a great group of Correctional Probation Officers led by Anatrisha Jackson, Lisa Barker, Aaron Rivas, Chris Morrissey, Kerrie Lewis, and Dan Kubach; who along with PBA lobbyists Gary Bradford and Ken Kopczynski lobbied the Capitol.

There are two 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 budget conference committee will decide the final pay raise outcomes, besides meeting with Governor DeSantis – the PBA team met with several key House and Senate leaders to include Senator Rob Bradley (Budget Chairman), Senator Wilton Simpson (Majority Leader), Representative Travis Cummings (Budget Chairman), Representative Chris Sprowls (Rules Chairman), and Representative Paul Renner (Judiciary Chairman) about securing pay raise funding.

There have been no changes in the status of any pay raise proposals. The hunt for additional money to fund all officers is ongoing.

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.

The legislation gives a judge the option to issue a warrant for arrest, or search warrant for a comparative DNA sample.

HB 1021 by Representative Chris Latvala unanimously passed the House of Representatives (114 – 0).

SB 920 by Senator Jason Pizzo unanimously passed the Senate Rules and has been placed on the Senate Special Order calendar for next Tuesday.

SB 76 by Senator Wilton Simpson and HB 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.

Both bills completed the committee process this week and have been placed on each chambers’ Special Order calendar for next Tuesday.

The bills are very different. The Senate bill addresses distracted driving as a whole while the house bill only addresses texting while driving. The bills must match in order for final passage.

SB 784 by Senator Joe Gruters and HB 779 by Representative Chuck Clemons
The legislation was amended last week 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.

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.

We finally have a real costs estimate associated with the legislation. Now, we have to convince the Legislature to fund it.

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.

It Was A Good Week For The PBA As Three Of Our Bills Passed

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.

Just Four Weeks Remain In The 2019 Legislative Session

The House and Senate are ready to begin the hard part of the session – finishing a budget. Both chambers took up their budget proposals this week and then agreed to disagree over how to fund the state of Florida. In a typical procedural maneuver, the House took up the Senate proposals one by one; striped out the Senate’s appropriations; and inserted the House positions as replacements. The Senate did not concur with this action, which is usual, and we are heading to conference committee.

The conference committee period will be proceeded by an unofficial back and forth negotiation between the chambers on spending priorities . . . meaning when the conference committees publicly meet an agreement will be close to finalized. 

At this point, we have four weeks left. 

Dade County Days were last week and we had a great group from Miami in town with us. President Steadman Stahl, Executive VP John Jenkins, VP David Greenwood, Secretary Mary Ann Stahl, Attorney Joe Bober, General Counsel Andrew Axelrad, and Executive Director Steve Shiver were all in town representing the PBA from Miami. They helped kick off Senator Lauren Book’s 42 hours for 42 million and followed that up by serving paella to the masses. 

They were joined by Senior VP Mick McHale, VP Jim Baiardi, CPO President Tammy Marcus, CPO VP Anna Jackson, along with Lobbyists Gary Bradford and Ken Kopczynski.

Here’s where we are as of today.

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 APC 1 does not include pay raises for any of our bargaining unit members .

As previously stated, the budget is headed for conference committee. We have to keep what we have in the budget for the Probation Officers, Institutional Security Specialists and FHP plus add in all we need for Correctional Officers, State Law Enforcement Officers and FDLE Special Agents. Senator Rob Bradley made multiple mentions to pay raises during his floor comments. We still have an opening to make this happen with four weeks to go.

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

The study is back. The actuary looked at creating two different versions of a COLA floor. Version I is creating a floor at 2%.  Version II creates a 1.5% floor. 

Based on the study, Version I will require a $118 million impact to this year’s budget although most of the impact is on counties with the state’s impact set at $24 million.

Version II will require a $59 million impact to this year’s budget with $12.4 million required from state coffers.

SB 784 is on the agenda in the Senate Government Oversight & Accountability next Wednesday.

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 is on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Monday agenda. 

HB 1021 by Representative Chris Latvala is on the House Judiciary Committee’s agenda for next Tuesday.

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.

HB 107 by Representatives Jackie Toledo and Emily Slosberg passed the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday, April 4th by unanimous vote .

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 me if there’s a question about something that I did, or did not cover.

The Legislative Session Continues, And The PBA Has Been Very Busy

Two years ago (right after passage of the omnibus pension bill), a fellow labor friend and I were discussing what the changes in the bill meant to the larger scheme of things. Specifically, we wondered if exempting newly hired special risk employees from defaulting into the investment plan (which we were able to do) was the “beginning of the end” or the “end of the beginning”. The answer remains to be seen, but may slowly be coming into focus.

There are two competing thoughts on this subject. The first believes we are all in this together and exemptions between the employee classes (like defaulting into the investment plan for non-special risk new hires) will eventually catch up with everyone. The other believes special risk employees can separate from the rest of the employee classes and continue to thrive. The municipal systems have done this for years.

We will likely learn which school of thought is correct over the next decade.

How we negotiate through this forth coming period will determine much of the outcome, but a portion (perhaps a sizable portion) will be decided by the luck of the economy. The old compensation systems are falling out of favor with the public. Salaries, pensions and retiree health insurance are the biggest costs to any agency and during a recession the public can be persuaded, because of envy, to turn against you. When a bad economy strikes, the target on your compensation grows larger.

To avoid the backlash, we must think of better ways to pay for the benefits and the methods of delivery. The systems are undergoing changes because of demographics and attrition. There are a large number of innovative road maps at the local level and from other states to show us how to precede; therefore, we must be willing to try out new ideas.

And that’s exactly what we will do. This year, in our opinion, is another step on a new path. A lot of our ideas are at the moment, just that… ideas, but as we explore and work with our allies much of what we want to accomplish will materialize into legislation.

If you have an idea that you think we should hear please email me, or local representative.

Please join me in thanking everyone who joined the lobbying team in Tallahassee this week – President John Kazanjian, Broward County President Rod Skirvin, SCO President Jimmy Baiardi, CPO Treasurer Tony Highsmith, Palm Beach County Treasurer Lou Penque, Dade County Executive Vice President John Jenkins, Dade County Treasurer Nazim Ishmael, Dade County Representative Darryl Hall, Dade County Executive Director Steve Shiver along with Correctional Officers Scott Torres, Samantha Sibley, Amanda Pepin, Steven Pepin, Adam Maxwell and Sean Crawford

Here’s where we are as of today… in no particular order.

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

We continue to negotiation with the Department of Management Services over our contract re-openers with all of our state bargaining units. On Monday, we testified before the Joint Select Committee on Collective Bargaining please skip to 1:16:46 to watch our testimony, or you can watch the whole meeting.

SB 784 by Senator Joe Gruters and HB 779 by Representative Chuck Clemons
This Legislation will create a COLA floor of no less than 2% for all Special Risk Employees hired prior to July 1, 2011. The legislation requires a special impact study in order to become law. Our study request was submitted to the Division of Retirement. We are now waiting for the results to come back to us. Remember this legislation is designed to stop the bleeding.

SB 920 by Senator Jason Pizzo and HB 1021 by Representatives 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 will receive a hearing on Monday, March 18 in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

SB 76 by Senator Wilton Simpson and HB 45 or 107 by Representatives Emily Slosberg and Jackie Toledo
This Legislation will attempt to make distracted driving, or, at a minimum, texting while driving a primary traffic offense. Our organization has been involved with this legislation for multiple years now.

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 the PBA if there’s a question about something that we did, or did not cover.