Florida Senate - 2016 CS for SB 708 By the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability; and Senator Joyner 585-02624A-16 2016708c1 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; directing the department to reimburse the 6 next of kin of children whose bodies are buried and 7 exhumed at the Dozier School or to pay directly to a 8 provider for the costs associated with funeral 9 services, reinterment, and grave marker expenses; 10 providing a process for reimbursement by the 11 department; providing that a charitable donation made 12 toward funeral, reinterment, and grave marker expenses 13 is not eligible for reimbursement; establishing a task 14 force to make recommendations regarding a memorial and 15 a location of a site for the reinterment of 16 unidentified or unclaimed remains; providing that 17 members of the task force shall serve without 18 compensation but are entitled certain per diem and 19 travel expenses; requiring the task for to submit its 20 recommendation to the department by a certain date, at 21 which time the task force is abolished; authorizing 22 the department to adopt rules; providing 23 appropriations; providing an effective date. 24 25 WHEREAS, the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, or the 26 Dozier School, operated from 1900 until it was closed in 2011 27 after allegations of abuse were confirmed in separate 28 investigations by the Department of Law Enforcement in 2010 and 29 the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of 30 Justice in 2011, and 31 WHEREAS, official records indicated that 31 graves had been 32 dug at the facility between 1914 and 1952, and 33 WHEREAS, a forensic investigation by the University of 34 South Florida found that there are no records of where children 35 who died at the Dozier School are buried and that a second 36 cemetery is likely to exist, and 37 WHEREAS, exhumations of bodies began in August 2013, and 38 the excavations yielded 55 burial sites, 24 more sites than 39 reported in official records, and 40 WHEREAS, one of the bodies exhumed during the forensic 41 investigation was of a child reported missing since 1940, and 42 WHEREAS, representatives of children formerly held at the 43 Dozier School have estimated that there could be 100 more bodies 44 buried on the grounds of the school, and 45 WHEREAS, many families of children whose bodies have been 46 exhumed lack the resources to properly reinter those children at 47 a suitable location, and 48 WHEREAS, the State of Florida recognizes an obligation to 49 help the families of children formerly buried at the Dozier 50 School reinter the bodies of those children, NOW, THEREFORE, 51 52 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 53 54 Section 1. (1) Any historical resource, record, archive, or 55 artifact and any human remains that are recovered from the 56 Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys must be transferred to the 57 Department of State. The department shall retain and preserve 58 such historical resources, records, archives, and artifacts. 59 (2) The Department of State shall reimburse the next of kin 60 or pay directly to the provider up to $7,500 for funeral, 61 reinterment, and grave marker expenses for each child whose body 62 was buried and exhumed at the Dozier School. The department 63 shall identify and locate eligible next of kin of such children 64 by December 31, 2017. 65 (a) To receive reimbursement, the next of kin must submit 66 to the department receipts for or documentation of expenses. 67 Reimbursement shall be made pursuant to s. 215.422. 68 (b) If expenses are to be paid directly to the provider, 69 the funeral home or other similar entity shall submit an invoice 70 to the department for the cost of the child’s funeral, 71 reinterment, and grave marker expenses. Payment shall be made 72 pursuant to s. 215.422. 73 (c) A charitable donation made toward funeral, reinterment, 74 and grave marker expenses is not eligible for reimbursement. 75 (3) By February 1, 2018, the Department of State shall 76 report to the Legislature on the status of payments and 77 reimbursements required by this act. 78 (4)(a) A task force, as defined in s. 20.03, is established 79 adjunct to the Department of State to make recommendations to 80 the department regarding the creation and maintenance of a 81 memorial and the location of a site for the reinterment of 82 unidentified or unclaimed remains. 83 (b) Task force members shall be appointed by the secretary 84 of the Department of State and shall serve without compensation, 85 but are entitled to reimbursement for per diem and travel 86 expenses in accordance with s. 112.061. 87 (c) The recommendations of the task force must be submitted 88 to the Department of State by October 1, 2016, at which time the 89 task force is abolished. 90 (5) The department may adopt rules necessary to administer 91 this section. 92 Section 2. For the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the sum of 93 $500,000 in nonrecurring funds is appropriated from the General 94 Revenue Fund to the Department of State for the purpose of 95 implementing this act. The unexpended balance of such funds 96 shall revert immediately on July 1, 2017, and is appropriated 97 for the 2017-2018 fiscal year for the same purpose. 98 Section 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.