Florida Senate - 2019                              CS for SB 494
       
       
        
       By the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability;
       and Senators Hooper and Broxson
       
       
       
       
       585-02952-19                                           2019494c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Firefighters’ Bill of Rights;
    3         amending s. 112.81, F.S.; revising the definition of
    4         the term “interrogation” to include questioning
    5         pursuant to an informal inquiry; amending s. 112.82,
    6         F.S.; requiring that witnesses be interviewed and
    7         certain information be provided to a firefighter
    8         subjected to interrogation before the interrogation is
    9         conducted; authorizing a firefighter to provide a
   10         voluntary statement at any time after being informed
   11         of a certain right; prohibiting a firefighter from
   12         being threatened with certain disciplinary action
   13         during the course of an interrogation; requiring that
   14         a copy of the interrogation be provided to a
   15         firefighter within a specified timeframe, upon
   16         request; creating s. 112.825, F.S.; requiring that a
   17         firefighter be notified and provided certain
   18         information before certain disciplinary actions are
   19         taken; requiring that a firefighter be given the
   20         opportunity to address certain findings; requiring
   21         that certain information be kept confidential and
   22         exempt in accordance with existing law; providing an
   23         effective date.
   24          
   25  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   26  
   27         Section 1. Subsection (6) of section 112.81, Florida
   28  Statutes, is amended to read:
   29         112.81 Definitions.—As used in this part:
   30         (6) “Interrogation” means the questioning of a firefighter
   31  by an employing agency in connection with a formal investigation
   32  or an administrative proceeding but does shall not include
   33  arbitration or civil service proceedings. Questioning pursuant
   34  to an informal inquiry is considered shall not be deemed to be
   35  an interrogation for purposes of this part.
   36         Section 2. Subsections (2), (6), (7), and (9) of section
   37  112.82, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   38         112.82 Rights of firefighters.—Whenever a firefighter is
   39  subjected to an interrogation, such interrogation shall be
   40  conducted pursuant to the terms of this section.
   41         (2) A No firefighter may not shall be subjected to
   42  interrogation without first receiving written notice in of
   43  sufficient detail of the investigation in order to reasonably
   44  apprise the firefighter of the nature of the investigation. The
   45  firefighter must shall be informed beforehand of the names of
   46  all complainants. All identifiable witnesses must be interviewed
   47  before the beginning of the interrogation of the firefighter,
   48  when possible. The complaint, all witness statements, and all
   49  other existing evidence, including, but not limited to, incident
   50  reports, GPS locator information, and audio or video recordings
   51  relating to the incident under investigation, must be provided
   52  to each firefighter who is the subject of the complaint before
   53  he or she is interrogated. A firefighter may waive the rights
   54  provided under this section and provide a voluntary statement at
   55  any time after being informed of his or her right to review
   56  witness statements.
   57         (6) The firefighter being interrogated may shall not be
   58  subjected to offensive language; threatened with transfer,
   59  dismissal, or disciplinary action; or offered any incentive as
   60  an inducement to answer any questions.
   61         (7) A complete record of any interrogation must shall be
   62  made., Such record may be electronically recorded. and If a
   63  transcript of the such interrogation is made, the firefighter
   64  under investigation must receive a copy, upon request, without
   65  charge. If the firefighter requests a copy of the transcript, it
   66  must be provided within 72 hours, excluding weekends and
   67  holidays, after the interrogation shall be entitled to a copy
   68  without charge. Such record may be electronically recorded.
   69         (9) A No firefighter may not shall be discharged,
   70  disciplined, demoted, denied promotion or seniority,
   71  transferred, reassigned, or otherwise disciplined or
   72  discriminated against in regard to his or her employment, or be
   73  threatened with any such treatment as retaliation for or by
   74  reason solely of his or her exercise of any of the rights
   75  granted or protected by this part.
   76         Section 3. Section 112.825, Florida Statutes, is created to
   77  read:
   78         112.825Notice of disciplinary action.—
   79         (1)A dismissal, demotion, transfer, reassignment, or other
   80  disciplinary action that might result in loss of pay or benefits
   81  or that might otherwise be considered a punitive measure may not
   82  be taken against a firefighter unless the firefighter is
   83  notified of the action and the reason for the action before the
   84  effective date of the action.
   85         (2)A firefighter who is subject to disciplinary action
   86  that consists of suspension with loss of pay, demotion, or
   87  dismissal, or his or her representative, must, upon request, be
   88  given a complete copy of the investigative file, including the
   89  final investigative report and all evidence, by the employing
   90  agency. The firefighter must be given the opportunity to address
   91  the findings in the final investigative report with the
   92  employing agency before such disciplinary action is taken. The
   93  contents of the complaint and all information obtained pursuant
   94  to the subsequent investigation must remain confidential and
   95  exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
   96  Constitution as provided under s. 119.071(2)(k).
   97         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.