Florida Senate - 2016                                     SB 708
       By Senator Joyner
       19-00638B-16                                           2016708__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Arthur G. Dozier School for
    3         Boys; directing the Department of State to preserve
    4         historical resources, records, archives, and
    5         artifacts, to create and maintain a memorial to
    6         victims, and to continue the department’s research and
    7         development of evidence; authorizing the department to
    8         reimburse the next of kin of children whose bodies are
    9         buried and exhumed at the Dozier School for the costs
   10         associated with funeral services and reinterment;
   11         requiring the department to identify and locate such
   12         next of kin within a specified timeframe; requiring
   13         that the costs for which the next of kin is reimbursed
   14         be documented; requiring that payment be made within a
   15         specified timeframe; authorizing the department to
   16         make direct payment to the provider for such services;
   17         authorizing reimbursement if an exhumation occurs
   18         after a specified date, subject to the availability of
   19         funding; authorizing the department to adopt rules;
   20         providing an appropriation; providing an effective
   21         date.
   23         WHEREAS, the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, or the
   24  Dozier School, operated from 1900 until it was closed in 2011
   25  after allegations of abuse were confirmed in separate
   26  investigations by the Department of Law Enforcement in 2010 and
   27  the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of
   28  Justice in 2011, and
   29         WHEREAS, official records indicated that 31 graves had been
   30  dug at the facility between 1914 and 1952, and
   31         WHEREAS, a forensic investigation by the University of
   32  South Florida found that there are no records of where children
   33  who died at the Dozier School are buried and that a second
   34  cemetery is likely to exist, and
   35         WHEREAS, exhumations of bodies began in August 2013, and
   36  the excavations yielded remains of 55 bodies, 24 more bodies
   37  than reported in official records, and
   38         WHEREAS, one of the bodies exhumed during the forensic
   39  investigation was of a child reported missing since 1940, and
   40         WHEREAS, representatives of children formerly held at the
   41  Dozier School have estimated that there could be 100 more bodies
   42  buried on the grounds of the school, and
   43         WHEREAS, many families of children whose bodies have been
   44  exhumed lack the resources to properly reinter those children at
   45  a suitable location, and
   46         WHEREAS, the State of Florida recognizes an obligation to
   47  help the families of children formerly buried at the Dozier
   48  School reinter the bodies of those children, NOW, THEREFORE,
   50  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   52         Section 1. (1) The Department of State is directed to
   53  preserve historical resources, records, archives, and artifacts;
   54  to create and maintain a memorial for victims; and to continue
   55  its research and development of evidence at the Arthur G. Dozier
   56  School for Boys.
   57         (2) The department is authorized to reimburse up to $7,500
   58  for funeral, reinterment, and grave marker expenses to the next
   59  of kin of each child buried and exhumed at the Dozier School.
   60  The department shall identify and locate eligible families of
   61  exhumed children within 1 year after the effective date of this
   62  act and shall pay up to the maximum allowed to the next of kin
   63  no later than 6 months after locating the next of kin.
   64         (a)The child’s next of kin must submit receipts or
   65  documentation of the expenses to the department in order to
   66  receive reimbursement, which must be processed and remitted
   67  within 14 days of the department’s receipt of the request for
   68  reimbursement and required documentation.
   69         (b) If a family cannot pay the funeral, reinterment, or
   70  grave marker expenses, the department may, upon receipt of an
   71  invoice, pay such expenses directly to the funeral home or other
   72  appropriate entity.
   73         (3) Subject to the appropriation of funds by the
   74  Legislature, if the remains of a child are found and exhumed at
   75  the Dozier School after June 30, 2017, the next of kin must be
   76  identified within a reasonable time and reimbursed up to $7,500
   77  for funeral, reinterment, and grave marker expenses within 1
   78  year after the exhumation of the child. Reimbursement must be
   79  made subject to the requirements specified in paragraphs (2)(a)
   80  and (b).
   81         (4) The department may adopt rules necessary to administer
   82  this section.
   83         Section 2. For the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the sum of $1.5
   84  million in nonrecurring funds is appropriated from the General
   85  Revenue Fund to the Department of State for the purpose of
   86  implementing this act.
   87         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.