Florida Senate - 2019                                    SB 1680
       By Senator Book
       32-00709C-19                                          20191680__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
    3         School Victim Family Compensation Fund Program;
    4         creating s. 1010.882, F.S.; creating the Marjory
    5         Stoneman Douglas High School Victim Family
    6         Compensation Fund Program within the Department of
    7         Education; defining terms; providing legislative
    8         intent; requiring the department to accept and process
    9         applications for certain payments; providing
   10         requirements for such applications; requiring the
   11         department to verify specified information before
   12         approving an application; prohibiting the department
   13         from paying an applicant until specified requirements
   14         are satisfied; providing for disbursal of funds;
   15         authorizing the department to adopt rules; providing
   16         construction; providing a contingent effective date.
   18         WHEREAS, on February 14, 2018, a mass shooting occurred in
   19  the 1200 Building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,
   20  killing 17 people and injuring 17 others, and
   21         WHEREAS, multiple failures at various levels of government
   22  and private sector services tragically culminated in this mass
   23  shooting and contributed to its magnitude, and
   24         WHEREAS, these failures were both personal and systemic and
   25  included deficiencies in the development and implementation of
   26  strategies and concepts required in this modern age to provide a
   27  safe and secure learning and working environment for the
   28  students and staff of public schools across Florida, and
   29         WHEREAS, among other things, the shooting was caused by
   30  failures in mental and behavioral health services; on-campus
   31  security measures such as identification, ingress and egress,
   32  security personnel, communication, and surveillance systems; 911
   33  and radio communication systems; training and equipping of law
   34  enforcement for active assailant scenarios; command and control
   35  strategies for active assailant scenarios; and information
   36  sharing between law enforcement agencies, and
   37         WHEREAS, the Legislature acknowledges that accountability
   38  for the failures that caused the massacre of February 14, 2018,
   39  is required to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the
   40  future, and that a necessary component of such accountability is
   41  compensation for the victims of this tragedy and their families,
   42  and
   43         WHEREAS, the victims of the shooting who were killed or
   44  injured may assert or have already asserted claims against the
   45  State of Florida, its agencies or subdivisions for damages
   46  arising out of the shooting, and
   47         WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that the victims or the
   48  survivors of those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
   49  School shooting would be required to litigate such claims and
   50  obtain a judgment or settlement before any entitlement to
   51  recovery, and
   52         WHEREAS, such claims would be subject to the limitations of
   53  section 768.28, Florida Statutes, including the limitation
   54  restricting liability for payment of claims or judgments, when
   55  totaled together, to $300,000 per occurrence or incidence, and
   56  subjecting claims or judgments above that amount to the approval
   57  of the Legislature, and
   58         WHEREAS, the Legislature is vested with the sole
   59  constitutional authority to approve claims that exceed the
   60  statutory waiver limits of sovereign immunity in section 768.28,
   61  Florida Statutes, and the sole constitutional authority to
   62  approve payment of claims, and
   63         WHEREAS, it is the intent of the Legislature to provide an
   64  alternative to litigation and the claim bill process which would
   65  provide reasonable compensation for the victims killed or
   66  injured in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, as
   67  well as their survivors and family members, in exchange for a
   68  voluntary release of this state, its agencies, and subdivisions,
   69  as to claims arising out of the February 14, 2018, mass shooting
   70  at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, NOW, THEREFORE,
   72  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   74         Section 1. Section 1010.882, Florida Statutes, is created
   75  to read:
   76         1010.882 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Victim Family
   77  Compensation Fund Program.—
   78         (1) There is created within the department the Marjory
   79  Stoneman Douglas High School Victim Family Compensation Fund
   80  Program for the family members of victims of the shooting at
   81  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.
   82         (2) As used in this section, the term:
   83         (a) “Claim” means all the causes of action that have been
   84  or may be asserted by a victim and any claim of wrongful death,
   85  loss of consortium, or any other claim for damages by a family
   86  member of a victim arising out of the victim’s death or injury.
   87         (b) “Department” means the Florida Department of Education.
   88         (c) “Event” means the mass shooting that occurred at
   89  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.
   90         (d) “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School” means the high
   91  school located at 5901 Pine Island Road in the City of Parkland
   92  located in Broward County.
   93         (e) “Victim” means any individual who was killed during or
   94  as a direct result of the event.
   95         (3) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide a
   96  streamlined process for the presentation of and payment of each
   97  claim when the claimant agrees to forgo litigation and the claim
   98  bill process and to release the state and its political
   99  subdivisions from any and all claims arising out of the event.
  100         (4) The department shall accept and process applications
  101  for payment of claims pursuant to this section.
  102         (5) Applications must be on forms approved by the
  103  department and must include all of the following:
  104         (a) The name of the victim.
  105         (b) The names of all family members who have or may have
  106  claims for wrongful death, loss of consortium, or any other
  107  claim for damages arising out of the victim’s death or injury.
  108         (c) A statement agreeing to forgo litigation or dismiss
  109  pending litigation, to agree not to seek a claim bill from the
  110  Legislature, and to execute the release described in subsection
  111  (7) in exchange for payment of the claim as set forth in
  112  subsection (8).
  113         (d) The signature of all family members described in
  114  paragraph (b), or for such persons who are younger than 18 years
  115  of age, the signature of their parents or guardians.
  116         (6) Before approving any application for payment, the
  117  department shall verify all of the following:
  118         (a) The identity of the victim.
  119         (b) The victim’s entitlement to recovery under subsection
  120  (8).
  121         (c) The identity of each of the family members described in
  122  paragraph (5)(b), and that all persons have been disclosed who
  123  have or may have claims for damages arising out of the victim’s
  124  death or injury.
  125         (7) The department may not pay an applicant until the
  126  person who may assert a claim on behalf of a victim and all
  127  persons who may assert a claim arising out of the death of a
  128  victim under this section, have signed an unqualified release of
  129  all claims for the damages, costs, and expenses, including
  130  attorney fees of any type, or relief of any other kind,
  131  resulting from the event. The release must be on a form approved
  132  by the department.
  133         (8) Funds from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
  134  Victim Trust Fund pursuant to s. 1010.88 shall be disbursed in
  135  accordance with this section. Any such funds must be disbursed
  136  evenly among the family members of the victim.
  137         (9) The department may adopt rules to administer this
  138  section.
  139         (10) Payments made under this section are not subject to s.
  140  744.387.
  141         (11) This section provides the exclusive means of
  142  compensation for families who opt to receive payments as
  143  authorized pursuant to this section. No compensation under this
  144  section is authorized for families who refuse to accept or fail
  145  to comply with the terms of this section.
  146         (12) Nothing in this section shall be deemed an admission
  147  of fact or an admission of liability on the part of the state or
  148  its political subdivisions.
  149         (13) Notwithstanding the relief provided above the limits
  150  of sovereign immunity provided in s. 768.28, the state and its
  151  political subdivisions may not be deemed to have waived any
  152  defense of sovereign immunity or to have increased the limits of
  153  its liability as a result of passage of this act.
  154         Section 2. This act shall take effect on the same date that
  155  SB ___ or similar legislation takes effect, if such legislation
  156  is adopted in the same legislative session or an extension
  157  thereof and becomes a law.