Florida Senate - 2022                              CS for SB 552
       By the Committee on Appropriations; and Senators Boyd, Ausley,
       and Wright
       576-03568-22                                           2022552c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to clerks of the circuit court;
    3         amending s. 28.246, F.S.; revising the calculation
    4         used to determine the presumed ability to pay certain
    5         fees, charges, costs, and fines; providing a formula
    6         for determining a specified down payment; providing
    7         construction; amending s. 28.35, F.S.; requiring the
    8         Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation to
    9         provide a recommendation on the distribution of
   10         specified fines, fees, charges, and costs; requiring
   11         the corporation to complete specified duties under
   12         certain circumstances; requiring the corporation to
   13         annually prepare a specified budget request; providing
   14         that such a request is not subject to change by the
   15         Justice Administrative Commission; requiring the
   16         commission to submit the request to the Governor for
   17         transmittal to the Legislature; amending s. 40.29,
   18         F.S.; authorizing clerks of the circuit court to
   19         submit to the commission, at prescribed intervals,
   20         certified requests for reimbursement of specified
   21         petitions and orders at a certain rate per petition or
   22         order; amending s. 57.082, F.S.; authorizing clerks of
   23         the court to conduct a review of specified records;
   24         requiring the clerks to maintain the results of such
   25         review in a specified manner and provide the results
   26         to the court under certain circumstances; amending s.
   27         322.29, F.S.; requiring the Department of Highway
   28         Safety and Motor Vehicles to work with a specified
   29         association to ensure that their technology systems
   30         have specified capabilities; providing an effective
   31         date.
   33  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   35         Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (4) of section
   36  28.246, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   37         28.246 Payment of court-related fines or other monetary
   38  penalties, fees, charges, and costs; partial payments;
   39  distribution of funds.—
   40         (4)
   41         (b) An individual seeking to defer payment of fees, service
   42  charges, court costs, or fines imposed by operation of law or
   43  order of the court under any provision of general law shall
   44  apply to the clerk for enrollment in a payment plan. The clerk
   45  shall enter into a payment plan with an individual who the court
   46  determines is indigent for costs. It is the responsibility of an
   47  individual who is released from incarceration and has
   48  outstanding court obligations to contact the clerk within 30
   49  days after release to pay fees, service charges, court costs,
   50  and fines in full, or to apply for enrollment in a payment plan.
   51         1. A monthly payment amount, calculated based upon all fees
   52  and all anticipated fees, service charges, court costs, and
   53  fines, is presumed to correspond to the person’s ability to pay
   54  if the amount does not exceed the greater of:
   55         a.Two 2 percent of the person’s annual net income, as
   56  defined in s. 27.52(1), divided by 12; or
   57         b.$25.
   58         2.Any amount required by the clerk as a down payment to
   59  initially establish a payment plan shall be the lesser of 10
   60  percent of the total amount owed or $100. The amount does not
   61  include the imposition of a service charge pursuant to s.
   62  28.24(27)(b) or (c). The clerk shall establish all terms of a
   63  payment plan, and the court may review the reasonableness of the
   64  payment plan.
   65         Section 2. Paragraph (c) of subsection (2) of section
   66  28.35, Florida Statutes, is amended, and paragraph (i) is added
   67  to that subsection, to read:
   68         28.35 Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation.—
   69         (2) The duties of the corporation shall include the
   70  following:
   71         (c)1. Recommending to the Legislature changes in the
   72  amounts and distribution of the various court-related fines,
   73  fees, service charges, and costs established by law to ensure
   74  reasonable and adequate funding of the clerks of the court in
   75  the performance of their court-related functions.
   76         2.If the number of judges under s. 26.031 or s. 34.022
   77  increases:
   78         a.Developing a formula to estimate the total cost
   79  associated with clerk support for circuit and county judges
   80  statewide.
   81         b.Making a recommendation for consideration by the
   82  Legislature on any need for additional funding using the formula
   83  approved in sub-subparagraph a.
   84         (i)Annually preparing a budget request that,
   85  notwithstanding chapter 216 and in accordance with s. 216.351,
   86  provides the anticipated amount necessary for reimbursement
   87  pursuant to s. 40.29(6). The request for the anticipated
   88  reimbursement amount must be submitted in the form and manner
   89  prescribed by the Justice Administrative Commission. Such
   90  request is not subject to change by the Justice Administrative
   91  Commission except for technical changes necessary to conform to
   92  the legislative budget instructions and must be submitted by the
   93  Justice Administrative Commission to the Governor for
   94  transmittal to the Legislature.
   95         Section 3. Section 40.29, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   96  read:
   97         40.29 Payment of due-process costs; reimbursement for
   98  petitions and orders.—
   99         (1) Each clerk of the circuit court, on behalf of the state
  100  attorney, private court-appointed counsel, the public defender,
  101  and the criminal conflict and civil regional counsel, shall
  102  forward to the Justice Administrative Commission, by county, a
  103  quarterly estimate of funds necessary to pay for ordinary
  104  witnesses, including, but not limited to, witnesses in civil
  105  traffic cases and witnesses of the state attorney, the public
  106  defender, criminal conflict and civil regional counsel, private
  107  court-appointed counsel, and persons determined to be indigent
  108  for costs. Each quarter of the state fiscal year, the
  109  commission, based upon the estimates, shall advance funds to
  110  each clerk to pay for these ordinary witnesses from state funds
  111  specifically appropriated for the payment of ordinary witnesses.
  112         (2) Upon receipt of an estimate pursuant to subsection (1),
  113  the Justice Administrative Commission shall endorse the amount
  114  deemed necessary for payment by the clerk of the court during
  115  the quarterly fiscal period and shall submit a request for
  116  payment to the Chief Financial Officer.
  117         (3) Upon receipt of the funds from the Chief Financial
  118  Officer, the clerk of the court shall pay all invoices approved
  119  and submitted by the state attorney, the public defender,
  120  criminal conflict and civil regional counsel, and private court
  121  appointed counsel for the items enumerated in subsection (1).
  122         (4) After review for compliance with applicable rates and
  123  requirements, the Justice Administrative Commission shall pay
  124  all due process service related invoices, except those
  125  enumerated in subsection (1), approved and submitted by the
  126  state attorney, the public defender, criminal conflict and civil
  127  regional counsel, or private court-appointed counsel in
  128  accordance with the applicable requirements of ss. 29.005,
  129  29.006, and 29.007.
  130         (5) The Justice Administrative Commission shall reimburse
  131  funds to the clerks of the court to compensate jurors, to pay
  132  for meals or lodging provided to jurors, and to pay for jury
  133  related personnel costs as provided in this section. Each clerk
  134  of the court must submit a request for reimbursement to the
  135  Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation within 20 days
  136  after each quarter attesting to the clerk’s actual costs to
  137  compensate jurors, to pay for meals or lodging provided to
  138  jurors, and to pay for jury-related personnel costs. The Florida
  139  Clerks of Court Operations Corporation must review the request
  140  for reimbursement to ensure that the costs are reasonably and
  141  directly related to jury management. The Florida Clerks of Court
  142  Operations Corporation must forward to the Justice
  143  Administrative Commission the amount necessary to reimburse each
  144  clerk of the court for its personnel and other costs related to
  145  jury management unless the total request for reimbursement by
  146  the clerks exceeds the quarterly funds available to the Justice
  147  Administrative Commission, in which case the Florida Clerks of
  148  Court Operations Corporation shall adjust the cumulative total
  149  to match the available funds before submitting the request to
  150  the Justice Administrative Commission. Upon receipt of each
  151  request for reimbursement, the Justice Administrative Commission
  152  must review the amount deemed necessary for payment to the
  153  clerks of the court for the most recently completed quarter,
  154  determine if the total payment amount is available, and submit a
  155  request for payment to the Chief Financial Officer. The clerks
  156  of the court are responsible for any compensation to jurors, for
  157  payments for meals or lodging provided to jurors, and for jury
  158  related personnel costs that exceed the funding provided in the
  159  General Appropriations Act for these purposes.
  160         (6)Subject to legislative appropriation, the clerk of the
  161  circuit court may, on a quarterly basis, submit to the Justice
  162  Administrative Commission a certified request for reimbursement
  163  for petitions and orders filed under ss. 394.459, 394.463,
  164  394.467, 394.917, and 397.6814, at the rate of $40 per petition
  165  or order. Such request for reimbursement must be submitted in
  166  the form and manner prescribed by the Justice Administrative
  167  Commission pursuant to s. 28.35(2)(i).
  168         Section 4. Paragraphs (a) and (d) of subsection (2) of
  169  section 57.082, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  170         57.082 Determination of civil indigent status.—
  171         (2) DETERMINATION BY THE CLERK.—The clerk of the court
  172  shall determine whether an applicant seeking such designation is
  173  indigent based upon the information provided in the application
  174  and the criteria prescribed in this subsection.
  175         (a)1. An applicant, including an applicant who is a minor
  176  or an adult tax-dependent person, is indigent if the applicant’s
  177  income is equal to or below 200 percent of the then-current
  178  federal poverty guidelines prescribed for the size of the
  179  household of the applicant by the United States Department of
  180  Health and Human Services.
  181         2. There is a presumption that the applicant is not
  182  indigent if the applicant owns, or has equity in, any intangible
  183  or tangible personal property or real property or the expectancy
  184  of an interest in any such property having a net equity value of
  185  $2,500 or more, excluding the value of the person’s homestead
  186  and one vehicle having a net value not exceeding $5,000.
  187         3.Notwithstanding the information provided by the
  188  applicant, the clerk may conduct a review of the property
  189  records for the county in which the applicant resides and the
  190  motor vehicle title records of this state to identify any
  191  property interests of the applicant under this paragraph. The
  192  clerk may evaluate and consider the results of the review in
  193  making a determination under this subsection. If a review is
  194  conducted, the clerk must maintain the results of the review in
  195  a file with the application and provide the file to the court if
  196  an applicant seeks a review under subsection (4) of the clerk’s
  197  determination of indigent status.
  198         (d) The duty of the clerk in determining whether an
  199  applicant is indigent is limited to receiving the application,
  200  conducting a review of records under subparagraph (a)3., and
  201  comparing the information provided in the application and
  202  identified in the review of records to the criteria prescribed
  203  in this subsection. The determination of indigent status is a
  204  ministerial act of the clerk and may not a decision be based on
  205  further investigation or the exercise of independent judgment by
  206  the clerk. The clerk may contract with third parties to perform
  207  functions assigned to the clerk under this section.
  208         Section 5. Subsection (3) is added to section 322.29,
  209  Florida Statutes, to read:
  210         322.29 Surrender and return of license.—
  211         (3) The department shall work with the clerks of court,
  212  through their association, to ensure the ability within their
  213  technology systems for clerks of court to reinstate suspended
  214  driver licenses for failure to pay court obligations.
  215         Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.