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.
   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,
   52  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.