(1) It is hereby declared by the Legislature that firefighters perform state and municipal functions; that it is their duty to extinguish fires, to protect life, and to protect property at their own risk and peril; that it is their duty to prevent conflagration and to continuously instruct school personnel, public officials, and private citizens in the prevention of fires and firesafety; that they protect both life and property from local emergencies as defined in s. 252.34; and that their activities are vital to the public safety. It is further declared that firefighters employed by special fire control districts serve under the same circumstances and perform the same duties as firefighters employed by municipalities and should therefore be entitled to the benefits available under this chapter. Therefore, the Legislature declares that it is a proper and legitimate state purpose to provide a uniform retirement system for the benefit of firefighters and intends, in implementing the provisions of s. 14, Art. X of the State Constitution as they relate to municipal and special district firefighters’ pension trust fund systems and plans, that such retirement systems or plans be managed, administered, operated, and funded in such manner as to maximize the protection of the firefighters’ pension trust funds. Pursuant to s. 18, Art. VII of the State Constitution, the Legislature hereby determines and declares that this act fulfills an important state interest.
(2) This chapter hereby establishes, for all municipal and special district pension plans existing under this chapter, including chapter plans and local law plans, minimum benefits and minimum standards for the operation and funding of such plans, hereinafter referred to as firefighters’ pension trust funds, which must be met as conditions precedent to the plan or plan sponsor’s receiving a distribution of insurance premium tax revenues under s. 175.121. Minimum benefits and minimum standards for each plan may not be diminished by local charter, ordinance, or resolution or by special act of the Legislature and may not be reduced or offset by any other local, state, or federal law that includes firefighters in its operation, except as provided under s. 112.65.
History.—s. 1, ch. 63-249; s. 1, ch. 79-380; s. 7, ch. 83-334; s. 1, ch. 86-41; s. 12, ch. 93-193; s. 1, ch. 99-1; s. 65, ch. 99-2; s. 58, ch. 2011-142; s. 1, ch. 2015-39.