2016 Legislature                            CS for CS for SB 708
    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,
   60  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.