Florida Senate - 2017                             (NP)    SB 288
       By Senator Thurston
       33-00032-17                                            2017288__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of the Justice-2-Jesus
    3         Charitable Trust; providing an appropriation to
    4         compensate the trust for injuries and damages
    5         sustained as a result of the negligence and inaction
    6         of state government; providing a limitation on the
    7         payment of compensation, fees, and costs; providing an
    8         effective date.
   10         WHEREAS, the Justice-2-Jesus Charitable Trust is a
   11  charitable trust under the laws of this state and is a nonprofit
   12  organization under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code,
   13  created and formed in December 2006 for the purpose of
   14  encouraging civic engagement, education, and government
   15  accountability, and
   16         WHEREAS, the trust initiated its activities during 2006 to
   17  2008 through its trustees, Calvester-Benjamin Anderson and Brian
   18  Pitts, in the judicial and executive branches of state
   19  government by attending or appearing in public meetings and
   20  privately communicating through ongoing correspondence and by
   21  phone to state government officers and employees, and
   22         WHEREAS, by the end of the 2008 regular legislative
   23  session, the trust gathered the attention of many in the
   24  Legislature through attending and appearing before numerous
   25  committees and councils, and through privately corresponding
   26  with members of such bodies on issues covering all aspects of
   27  Florida citizens and government which were clearly recognized by
   28  media and legislators alike, and
   29         WHEREAS, many believed the trust and its trustees were
   30  suspect and had a hidden agenda, and that its cause would not
   31  come to fruition; and so as not to deceive, exploit, embarrass,
   32  or harass officers and employees of the Legislature and the
   33  other two branches of state government, precautions and
   34  maneuvers were put into play to quickly defuse what seemed to be
   35  a problem, and
   36         WHEREAS, year after year, despite concerns by many of the
   37  trust’s lack of sincerity, it continued in all manner of
   38  business with the utmost protocol and decorum with state
   39  officials and employees, and as such proved to be highly
   40  respectful, honorable, and an example to emulate, and
   41         WHEREAS, by 2012 the trust proved itself and reached an
   42  apex, receiving the approval of many government officers and
   43  employees, and becoming the subject of countless news articles,
   44  videos, and comments of many, whether liked or disliked, and
   45         WHEREAS, the trust has gone beyond its charge of civics,
   46  education, and government accountability, and with its services
   47  and resources has actually assisted Florida government in its
   48  processes and conduct and has brought about change, and
   49         WHEREAS, from 2008 to 2016, without wavering the trust has
   50  continued its never-ending cause that Florida ought to have a
   51  government that the people can reach and engage with, whether it
   52  be on simple or complex matters, and that the process can be
   53  understood and properly and fairly applied without political
   54  gamesmanship or hidden agendas, and that in fact, anything
   55  lesser than this ought not be tolerated, and
   56         WHEREAS, the trust has become a conscience and a unique
   57  watchdog over certain nonfeasance, misfeasance, or malfeasance
   58  in state government which necessitates the trust’s service to
   59  the citizens of the state, and otherwise such actions and
   60  conduct of state government would remain unknown, ignored, or
   61  concealed, and
   62         WHEREAS, the time, effort, and means to undertake what the
   63  trust has accomplished cannot be fairly comprehended, and such
   64  an endeavor is truly consuming and commendable, one that very
   65  few would undertake or even want to comprehend, and
   66         WHEREAS, the Florida Supreme Court has construed the far
   67  reaching circumstances to which the Legislature may extend
   68  relief to any matter under the common law of this state in
   69  Gerard v. Dep’t of Transp., 472 So. 2d 1170, 1172 (Fla. 1985)
   70  (“we agree with the Department of Transportation’s assertion
   71  that a judgment in this case was not a prerequisite to Gerard’s
   72  filing a claims bill in the legislature. As the First District
   73  Court stated in Jetton v. Jacksonville Elec. Auth., 399 So. 2d
   74  396, 397 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981) while the Legislature has placed
   75  limits on recovery, “claimants remain free to seek legislative
   76  relief bills, as they did during days of complete sovereign
   77  immunity”), or Dickinson v. Bradley, 298 So. 2d 352, 354 (Fla.
   78  1974) (“any claim bill is restricted to less than the general
   79  public and its purpose is to discharge the state’s moral
   80  obligation to any individual or other entity whom or which the
   81  legislature recognizes as being entitled to such. . . . The
   82  legislature may enact a claim bill for what would be a tort if a
   83  private party was involved just as effectively as for what would
   84  constitute a contractual debt.”), NOW, THEREFORE,
   86  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   88         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   89  found and declared to be true.
   90         Section 2. This is solely an equitable claim, not based on
   91  an existing judgment, which the Legislature believes should be
   92  granted to fulfill its moral obligation to and recognition of
   93  Justice-2-Jesus Charitable Trust for its great and hard work in
   94  improving Florida government, publicly and privately.
   95         Section 3. The sum of $240,000 is appropriated from the
   96  General Revenue Fund to the Legislature for the relief of
   97  Justice-2-Jesus Charitable Trust for damages, including services
   98  and expenses, caused by the negligence or inaction, nonfeasance,
   99  misfeasance, or malfeasance of Florida government, and its civic
  100  charge on behalf of the taxpayers of this state to bring true
  101  change for the good of the order and to develop good government.
  102         Section 4. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
  103  a warrant in favor of Justice-2-Jesus Charitable Trust in the
  104  sum of $240,000 upon funds of the Legislature in the State
  105  Treasury and to pay the same out of such funds in the State
  106  Treasury.
  107         Section 5. The amount paid by the Legislature under s.
  108  768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act
  109  are intended to provide the sole compensation for all present
  110  and future claims arising out of the factual situation described
  111  in this act which resulted in injuries and damages to Justice-2
  112  Jesus Charitable Trust due to its voluminous dealings directly
  113  and indirectly with the three branches of state government. The
  114  total amount paid for attorney fees, lobbying fees, costs, and
  115  similar expenses relating to this claim may not exceed 25
  116  percent of the amount awarded under this act.
  117         Section 6. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.