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CS/CS/HB 1383 — Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

by Appropriations Committee; Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee; and Rep. Glorioso (CS/SB 1782 by Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee; and Senators Latvala and Alexander

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee (EP)

Pursuant to Chapter 2011-66, L.O.F., the Environmental Unit Sub-Team of the Law Enforcement Consolidation Task Force was established to conduct a review of the conservation law enforcement activities and assets of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC), to determine if any duplication of law enforcement functions exist between the agencies.  As a result of the work of the Sub-Team, the task force recommended integration of the DEP Division of Law Enforcement (DLE) into the FWCC DLE and integration of the DACS Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement officers assigned to the Conservation and Recreational Lands (CARL) Patrol and the investigator responsible for commercial aquaculture violations into the FWCC DLE.  The bill acts on the recommendations of the Environmental Unit Sub-Team. 

Department of Environmental Preservation Division of Law Enforcement

The bill provides for a type 2 transfer of the Division of Law Enforcement of DEP, excluding the Bureau of Emergency Response, to the Division of Law Enforcement of FWCC.

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Law Enforcement

The bill provides for a type 2 transfer of the Division of Law Enforcement of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services sworn positions assigned to the Florida Forest Service and funded by the Conservation and Recreation Lands Program and the investigator responsible for the enforcement of aquaculture violations to the DLE within the FWCC.

Pay/Benefits for Transferred Personnel

The bill provides for the transfer of any accrued annual leave, sick leave, and regular and special compensatory leave balances for personnel who transfer divisions. 

Transition Advisory Group

The bill provides for an advisory group made up of representatives of FWCC, DACS, and DEP to help guide the transitions required by the bill. 

Powers of the Fish and Wildlife Commission Division of Law Enforcement

The bill provides that the DLE of the FWCC has the power to investigate and arrest for violations of laws and rules of the DEP, the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, and the DACS, including state parks, coastal and aquatic managed areas, greenways and trails, CARL lands, and aquaculture lands. 

The bill creates a section of law detailing the specific powers and duties of the FWCC relating to state parks, aquatic preserves and wild and scenic rivers.

The bill adds the Office of Emergency Response to the list of special offices within the DEP. 

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2012.

Vote: Senate 40-0; House 115-0