Florida Senate - 2016 CS for CS for SB 708 By the Committees on Appropriations; and Governmental Oversight and Accountability; and Senator Joyner 576-03784-16 2016708c2 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the Arthur G. Dozier School for 3 Boys; requiring certain historical resources, records, 4 archives, artifacts, researches, medical records, and 5 human remains to remain in the custody of the 6 University of South Florida; providing exceptions; 7 requiring the Department of State to contract with the 8 university for the identification and location of 9 eligible next of kin of certain children; requiring 10 the department to notify the next of kin of certain 11 payment or reimbursement provisions; requiring the 12 department to reimburse the next of kin of children 13 whose bodies are buried and exhumed at the Dozier 14 School or to pay directly to a provider for the costs 15 associated with funeral services, reinterment, and 16 grave marker expenses; providing a process for 17 reimbursement or payment by the department; providing 18 that a charitable donation made toward funeral, 19 reinterment, and grave marker expenses is not eligible 20 for reimbursement; requiring the department to submit 21 a report; establishing a task force to make 22 recommendations regarding a memorial and a location of 23 a site for the reinterment of unidentified or 24 unclaimed remains; providing membership of the task 25 force; requiring the task force to submit its 26 recommendation to the department by a certain date; 27 requiring the task force to submit its recommendations 28 to the Governor and Cabinet and to the Legislature; 29 authorizing the department to adopt rules; providing 30 appropriations; providing an effective date. 31 WHEREAS, the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, or the 32 Dozier School for Boys, operated from 1900 until it was closed 33 in 2011 after allegations of abuse were confirmed in separate 34 investigations by the Department of Law Enforcement in 2010 and 35 the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of 36 Justice in 2011, and 37 WHEREAS, official records indicated that 31 graves had been 38 dug at the facility between 1914 and 1952, and 39 WHEREAS, a forensic investigation by the University of 40 South Florida found that there are no records of where children 41 who died at the Dozier School for Boys are buried and that 42 families were often notified after the child was buried or 43 denied access to their remains at the time of burial, and 44 WHEREAS, exhumations of bodies began in August 2013, and 45 the excavations yielded 55 burial sites, 24 more sites than 46 reported in official records, and 47 WHEREAS, one of the bodies exhumed during the forensic 48 investigation was of a child reported missing since 1940, and 49 WHEREAS, nearly 100 deaths were recorded at the school and 50 51 sets of remains were exhumed from burials, and additional 51 victims of a fatal fire in 1914 are still buried with the fire 52 debris on site, and 53 WHEREAS, many families of children whose bodies have been 54 exhumed lack the resources to properly reinter those children at 55 a suitable location, and 56 WHEREAS, the State of Florida recognizes an obligation to 57 help the families of children formerly buried at the Dozier 58 School for Boys reinter the bodies of those children, NOW, 59 THEREFORE, 60 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 61 62 Section 1. (1)(a) Any historical resource, record, archive, 63 artifact, public research, or medical record that was recovered 64 from the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys by the University of 65 South Florida shall remain in the custody of the university for 66 archival and preservation until the Department of State requests 67 custody of such resource, record, archive, artifact, public 68 research, or medical record. 69 (b) Any human remains exhumed from the Arthur G. Dozier 70 School for Boys by the University of South Florida shall remain 71 in the custody of the university for identification purposes 72 until the remains are returned to the next of kin or reburied 73 pursuant to this act. 74 (2)(a) The Department of State shall contract with the 75 University of South Florida for the identification and location 76 of eligible next of kin for such children and the update of 77 information on associated artifacts and materials. 78 (b) No later than July 1, 2016, the University of South 79 Florida must provide the Department of State with contact 80 information for the next of kin for each set of human remains 81 which has been returned to a next to kin. 82 (c) For any identification of next of kin occurring on or 83 after July 1, 2016, the University of South Florida must provide 84 location information of the next of kin to the Department of 85 State at least 5 days before returning the human remains to the 86 next of kin. 87 (d) Beginning July 1, 2016, the Department of State must 88 notify the next of kin responsible for a set of human remains 89 about the payment or reimbursement provisions under subsection 90 (3). Such notification must be made within 15 business days 91 after the department’s receipt of the location information of 92 the next of kin. 93 (3) The Department of State shall reimburse the next of kin 94 or pay directly to the provider up to $7,500 for funeral, 95 reinterment, and grave marker expenses for each child whose body 96 was buried at and exhumed, or otherwise recovered, from the 97 Dozier School for Boys. 98 (a) In order to receive reimbursement, the next of kin must 99 submit to the department receipts for, or documentation of, 100 expenses. Reimbursement shall be made pursuant to s. 215.422, 101 Florida Statutes. 102 (b) If expenses are to be paid directly to the provider, 103 the funeral home or other similar entity must submit an invoice 104 to the department for the cost of the child’s funeral, 105 reinterment, and grave marker expenses. Payment shall be made 106 pursuant to s. 215.422, Florida Statutes. 107 (c) A charitable donation made toward funeral, reinterment, 108 and grave marker expenses is not eligible for reimbursement. 109 (4) By February 1, 2018, the Department of State shall 110 submit a report to the Governor and Cabinet, the President of 111 the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives 112 regarding any payments and reimbursements made pursuant to this 113 section. 114 (5) The department may adopt rules necessary to administer 115 this section. 116 Section 2. (1) A task force is established adjunct to the 117 Department of State to advise the department and, except as 118 otherwise provided in this section, shall operate consistent 119 with s. 20.052, Florida Statutes. The task force shall be known 120 as the “Dozier Task Force.” The Department of State shall 121 provide administrative and staff support services relating to 122 the functions of the task force. 123 (2)(a) The task force shall consist of the following 124 members: 125 1. The Secretary of State, or his or her designee, who 126 shall serve as the chair. 127 2. One person appointed by the President of the Florida 128 State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement 129 of Colored People. 130 3. One representative of the Florida Council of Churches, 131 appointed by the executive director of the council. 132 4. A next of kin of a deceased ward buried at the Dozier 133 School for Boys appointed by the Attorney General. 134 5. One representative who promotes the welfare of people 135 who are former wards of the Dozier School for Boys appointed by 136 the Chief Financial Officer. 137 6. One person appointed by the President of the Senate. 138 7. One person appointed by the Speaker of the House of 139 Representatives. 140 8. One person appointed by the Jackson County Board of 141 County Commissioners. 142 9. One person who represents a youth development 143 organization that promotes the welfare of at-risk youth, 144 appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture. 145 (b) By October 1, 2016, the task force shall submit its 146 recommendations to the Department of State regarding the 147 creation and maintenance of a memorial and the location of a 148 site for the reinterment of unidentified or unclaimed remains. 149 The recommendations shall also be submitted to the Governor and 150 Cabinet, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House 151 of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the Senate, and the 152 Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. 153 (3) This section is repealed December 31, 2016. 154 Section 3. For the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the sum of 155 $500,000 in nonrecurring funds is appropriated from the General 156 Revenue Fund to the Department of State for the purpose of 157 implementing this act. Funds remaining unexpended or 158 unencumbered from this appropriation as of July 1, 2017, shall 159 revert and be reappropriated for the same purpose in the 2017 160 2018 fiscal year. 161 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.