Florida Senate - 2019                                    SB 1682
       By Senator Book
       32-01407D-19                                          20191682__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
    3         School Victim Compensation Fund Program; creating s.
    4         1010.881, F.S.; creating the Marjory Stoneman Douglas
    5         High School Victim Compensation Fund Program within
    6         the Department of Education; defining terms; providing
    7         legislative intent; requiring the department to accept
    8         and process applications for certain payments;
    9         providing requirements for such applications;
   10         requiring the department to verify specified
   11         information before approval of an application;
   12         prohibiting the department from paying an applicant
   13         until specified requirements are satisfied; providing
   14         for disbursal of funds; requiring the Attorney General
   15         to develop a formula for distribution of funds to
   16         specified individuals; requiring the department to use
   17         the formula; authorizing the department to adopt
   18         rules; providing construction; providing a contingent
   19         effective date.
   21         WHEREAS, on February 14, 2018, a mass shooting occurred in
   22  the 1200 Building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in
   23  which 17 people were killed and 17 others were injured, and
   24         WHEREAS, the victims of the shooting who were killed or
   25  injured, or who were present on campus during the shooting may
   26  assert claims against the state and its political subdivisions
   27  for injuries arising out of the shooting, and
   28         WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that the victims or the
   29  survivors of those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
   30  School shooting will be required to litigate any such claims and
   31  obtain a judgment or settlement before any entitlement to
   32  recovery, and
   33         WHEREAS, such claims would be subject to the limitations of
   34  s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, including the limitation
   35  restricting liability for payment of claims or judgments, when
   36  totaled together, to $300,000 per occurrence or incidence, and
   37  requiring that claims or judgments above that amount be approved
   38  by the Legislature, and
   39         WHEREAS, the Legislature is vested with the sole
   40  constitutional authority to approve claims that exceed the
   41  statutory waiver limits of sovereign immunity in s. 768.28,
   42  Florida Statutes, and the sole constitutional authority to
   43  approve payment of claims, and
   44         WHEREAS, it is the intent of the Legislature to provide an
   45  alternative to litigation and the claim bill process which will
   46  provide reasonable compensation to the survivors of the victims
   47  killed in, and to those injured in or suffering from emotional
   48  distress as a result of, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
   49  School shooting in exchange for a voluntary release of any and
   50  all claims arising out of the February 14, 2018, mass shooting
   51  at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, NOW, THEREFORE,
   53  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   55         Section 1. Section 1010.881, Florida Statutes, is created
   56  to read:
   57         1010.881Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Victim
   58  Compensation Fund Program.—
   59         (1) There is created within the department the Marjory
   60  Stoneman Douglas High School Victim Compensation Fund Program
   61  for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
   62  School on February 14, 2018.
   63         (2) As used in this section, the term:
   64         (a) “Claim” means all the causes of action that have been
   65  or may be asserted by a victim and any claim of loss of
   66  consortium or any other claim for damages by a survivor or
   67  family member of a victim arising out of the victim’s death or
   68  injury.
   69         (b) “Department” means the Florida Department of Education.
   70         (c) “Event” means the mass shooting that occurred at
   71  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.
   72         (d) “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School” means the high
   73  school located at 5901 Pine Island Road in the City of Parkland
   74  located in Broward County.
   75         (e) “Survivor” means a victim’s spouse, children, parents,
   76  and, when partly or wholly dependent on the victim for support
   77  or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and
   78  sisters.
   79         (f) “Victim” means any individual who was shot and wounded
   80  during the event.
   81         (3) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide a
   82  streamlined process for the presentation of and payment of each
   83  claim when the claimant agrees to forgo litigation and the claim
   84  bill process and to release the state and its political
   85  subdivisions from any and all claims arising out of the event.
   86         (4) The department shall accept and process applications
   87  for payment of claims made pursuant to this section.
   88         (5) Applications must be on forms approved by the
   89  department and must include all of the following:
   90         (a) The name of the victim.
   91         (b) Whether the victim was:
   92         1. Shot, injured, and received outpatient treatment; or
   93         2. Shot, injured, and hospitalized.
   94         (c) The names of all survivors who have or may have claims
   95  for loss of consortium or any other claim for damages arising
   96  out of the victim’s injury.
   97         (d) A statement agreeing to forgo litigation or dismiss
   98  pending litigation, to agree not to seek a claim bill from the
   99  Legislature, and to execute the release described in subsection
  100  (7) in exchange for payment of the claim as set forth in
  101  subsection (8).
  102         (e) The signature of the victim, if the victim is 18 years
  103  of age or older, or the signature of the victim’s parent or
  104  guardian, if the victim is younger than 18 years of age.
  105         (f) The signature of all survivors or family members
  106  described in paragraph (c), or for such persons who are younger
  107  than 18 years of age, the signature of their parents or
  108  guardians.
  109         (6) Before approving any application for payment, the
  110  department shall verify all of the following:
  111         (a) The identity of the victim.
  112         (b) The victim’s entitlement to recovery under subsection
  113  (8).
  114         (c) The identity of each of the survivors or family members
  115  described in paragraph (5)(c) and that all persons have been
  116  disclosed who have or may have claims for damages arising out of
  117  the victim’s injury.
  118         (7) The department may not pay an applicant until the
  119  victim, or the person who may assert a claim on behalf of a
  120  victim, and all persons who may assert a claim arising out of
  121  the injury to a victim under this section, have signed an
  122  unqualified release of all claims for the damages, costs, and
  123  expenses, including attorney fees of any type, or relief of any
  124  other kind, resulting from the event. The release must be on a
  125  form approved by the department.
  126         (8) Funds from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victim Trust
  127  Fund pursuant to s. 1010.88 shall be disbursed in accordance
  128  with this section. The Attorney General shall develop a formula
  129  to be used by the department in the distribution of funds to
  130  victims and family members of the victims who are entitled to
  131  recovery.
  132         (9) The department may adopt rules to administer this
  133  section.
  134         (10) Payments made under this section are not subject to s.
  135  744.387.
  136         (11) This section provides the exclusive means of
  137  compensation for victims and their families who opt to receive
  138  payments as authorized pursuant to this section. No compensation
  139  under this section is authorized for victims and their families
  140  who refuse to accept or fail to comply with the terms of this
  141  section.
  142         (12) Nothing in this section shall be deemed an admission
  143  of fact or an admission of liability on the part of the state or
  144  its political subdivisions.
  145         (13) Notwithstanding the relief provided above the limits
  146  of sovereign immunity provided in s. 768.28, the state and its
  147  political subdivisions may not be deemed to have waived any
  148  defense of sovereign immunity or to have increased the limits of
  149  its liability as a result of passage of this act.
  150         Section 2. This act shall take effect on the same date that
  151  SB ___ or similar legislation takes effect, if such legislation
  152  is adopted in the same legislative session or an extension
  153  thereof and becomes a law.