(1) The state and its political subdivisions shall give preference in appointment and retention in positions of employment to: (a) Those disabled veterans:
1. Who have served on active duty in any branch of the United States Armed Forces, have received an honorable discharge, and have established the present existence of a service-connected disability that is compensable under public laws administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs; or
2. Who are receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension by reason of public laws administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Department of Defense.
(b) The spouse of a person who has a total disability, permanent in nature, resulting from a service-connected disability and who, because of this disability, cannot qualify for employment, and the spouse of a person missing in action, captured in line of duty by a hostile force, or forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
(c) A wartime veteran as defined in s. 1.01(14), who has served at least 1 day during a wartime period. Active duty for training may not be allowed for eligibility under this paragraph.
(d) The unremarried widow or widower of a veteran who died of a service-connected disability.
(e) The mother, father, legal guardian, or unremarried widow or widower of a member of the United States Armed Forces who died in the line of duty under combat-related conditions, as verified by the United States Department of Defense.
(f) A veteran as defined in s. 1.01(14). Active duty for training may not be allowed for eligibility under this paragraph.
(g) A current member of any reserve component of the United States Armed Forces or the Florida National Guard.
(2) The Department of Veterans’ Affairs shall adopt rules to ensure that veterans are given special consideration in the employing agency’s selection and retention processes. The rules must include the award of point values as articulated in s. 295.08, if applicable, or, where point values are not relevant, must include procedures to ensure that veterans are given special consideration at each step of the employment selection process, unless the sponsoring governmental entity is a party to a collective bargaining agreement, in which case the collective bargaining agreement must comply within 90 days following ratification of a successor collective bargaining agreement or extension of any existing collective bargaining agreement.
(3) Preference in employment and retention may be given only to eligible persons who are described in subsection (1).
(4) The following positions are exempt from this section: (a) Those positions that are exempt from the state Career Service System under s. 110.205(2); however, all positions under the University Support Personnel System of the State University System as well as all Career Service System positions under the Florida College System and the School for the Deaf and the Blind, or the equivalent of such positions at state universities, Florida College System institutions, or the School for the Deaf and the Blind, are included.
(b) Positions in political subdivisions of the state which are filled by officers elected by popular vote or persons appointed to fill vacancies in such offices and the personal secretary of each such officer, members of boards and commissions, persons employed on a temporary basis without benefits, heads of departments, positions that require licensure as a physician, licensure as an osteopathic physician, licensure as a chiropractic physician, and positions that require that the employee be a member of The Florida Bar.
(5)(a) Each state agency shall, and each political subdivision of the state may, develop and implement a written veterans’ recruitment plan that establishes annual goals for ensuring the full use of veterans in the agency’s or political subdivision’s workforce. Each veterans’ recruitment plan must be designed to meet the established goals.
(b) The Department of Management Services shall collect statistical data from each state agency on the number of persons who claim veterans’ preference, the number of persons who are hired through veterans’ preference, and the number of persons who are hired as a result of the veterans’ recruitment plan. The department shall annually update the statistical data required by this paragraph on its website and include such statistical data in its annual workforce report.
(c) For purposes of this subsection, the veterans’ recruitment plan applies to the eligible persons described in subsection (1).