Florida Senate - 2020                              (NP)    SB 22
       By Senator Braynon
       35-00168A-20                                            202022__
    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 attorney fees; providing an effective date.
    9         WHEREAS, the Justice-2-Jesus Charitable Trust is a
   10  charitable trust under the laws of this state and is a nonprofit
   11  organization under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code,
   12  created and formed in December 2006 for the purpose of
   13  encouraging civic engagement, education, and government
   14  accountability, and
   15         WHEREAS, the trust initiated its activities during the
   16  period from 2006 to 2008 through its trustees, Calvester
   17  Benjamin Anderson and Brian Pitts, in the judicial and executive
   18  branches of state government by attending or appearing in public
   19  meetings and privately communicating through continued
   20  correspondence and by telephone to officers and employees of
   21  state government, and
   22         WHEREAS, by the end of the 2008 regular legislative
   23  session, the trust had garnered the attention of many in the
   24  Legislature by attending and appearing before numerous
   25  committees and councils and through private correspondence with
   26  members of those bodies on issues covering all aspects of the
   27  lives of Florida residents and government, and the trust’s
   28  activities were clearly recognized by both the media and
   29  legislators, and
   30         WHEREAS, many believed the trust and its trustees suspect
   31  and had a hidden agenda and that its cause would not come to
   32  fruition; and so as not to deceive, exploit, embarrass, or
   33  harass officers and employees of the Legislature and the other
   34  two branches of state government, precautions and maneuvers were
   35  put into play to quickly defuse what seemed to be 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 and 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 2019, without wavering, the trust has
   50  continued its never-ending cause that Florida should 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 less
   55  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 residents of this 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. Dept. of Transp., 472 So. 2d 1170, 1172 (Fla. 1985)
   70  (“. . .we agree with the Department of Transportation’s
   71  assertion that a judgment in this case was not a prerequisite to
   72  Gerard’s filing a claims bill in the legislature. As the First
   73  District Court stated in Jetton v. Jacksonville Electric
   74  Authority, 399 So. 2d 396, 397 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981) while the
   75  Legislature has placed limits on recovery, ‘claimants remain
   76  free to seek legislative relief bills, as they did during days
   77  of complete sovereign immunity’”), or Dickinson v. Bradley, 298
   78  So. 2d 352, 354 (Fla. 1974) (“. . .any claim bill is restricted
   79  to less than the general public and its purpose is to discharge
   80  the state’s moral obligation to any individual or other entity
   81  whom or which the legislature recognizes as being entitled to
   82  such. . . . The legislature may enact a claim bill for what
   83  would be a tort if a private party was involved just as
   84  effectively as for what would constitute a contractual debt.”),
   87  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   89         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
   90  found and declared to be true.
   91         Section 2. This is solely an equitable claim, not based on
   92  an existing judgment, which the Legislature believes should be
   93  granted to fulfill its moral obligation to and recognition of
   94  Justice-2-Jesus Charitable Trust for its great and hard work in
   95  improving Florida government, publicly and privately.
   96         Section 3. The sum of $600,000 is appropriated from the
   97  General Revenue Fund to the Legislature for the relief of
   98  Justice-2-Jesus Charitable Trust for damages, including services
   99  and expenses, caused by the negligence or inaction, nonfeasance,
  100  misfeasance, or malfeasance of Florida government, and its civic
  101  charge on behalf of the taxpayers of this state to bring true
  102  change for the good of the order and to develop good government.
  103         Section 4. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to draw
  104  a warrant in favor of Justice-2-Jesus Charitable Trust in the
  105  sum of $600,000 upon funds of the Legislature in the State
  106  Treasury and to pay the same out of such funds in the State
  107  Treasury.
  108         Section 5. The amount paid by the Legislature under s.
  109  768.28, Florida Statutes, and the amount awarded under this act
  110  are intended to provide the sole compensation for all present
  111  and future claims arising out of the factual situation described
  112  in this act which resulted in injuries and damages to Justice-2
  113  Jesus Charitable Trust due to its voluminous dealings directly
  114  and indirectly with the three branches of state government. The
  115  total amount paid for attorney fees relating to this claim may
  116  not exceed 25 percent of the amount awarded under this act.
  117         Section 6. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.