2015 Florida Statutes
County funding of court-related functions.
County funding of court-related functions.
29.008 County funding of court-related functions.—
(1) Counties are required by s. 14, Art. V of the State Constitution to fund the cost of communications services, existing radio systems, existing multiagency criminal justice information systems, and the cost of construction or lease, maintenance, utilities, and security of facilities for the circuit and county courts, public defenders’ offices, state attorneys’ offices, guardian ad litem offices, and the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts performing court-related functions. For purposes of this section, the term “circuit and county courts” includes the offices and staffing of the guardian ad litem programs, and the term “public defenders’ offices” includes the offices of criminal conflict and civil regional counsel. The county designated under s. 35.05(1) as the headquarters for each appellate district shall fund these costs for the appellate division of the public defender’s office in that county. For purposes of implementing these requirements, the term:
(a) “Facility” means reasonable and necessary buildings and office space and appurtenant equipment and furnishings, structures, real estate, easements, and related interests in real estate, including, but not limited to, those for the purpose of housing legal materials for use by the general public and personnel, equipment, or functions of the circuit or county courts, public defenders’ offices, state attorneys’ offices, and court-related functions of the office of the clerks of the circuit and county courts and all storage. The term “facility” includes all wiring necessary for court reporting services. The term also includes access to parking for such facilities in connection with such court-related functions that may be available free or from a private provider or a local government for a fee. The office space provided by a county may not be less than the standards for space allotment adopted by the Department of Management Services, except this requirement applies only to facilities that are leased, or on which construction commences, after June 30, 2003. County funding must include physical modifications and improvements to all facilities as are required for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Upon mutual agreement of a county and the affected entity in this paragraph, the office space provided by the county may vary from the standards for space allotment adopted by the Department of Management Services.
1. As of July 1, 2005, equipment and furnishings shall be limited to that appropriate and customary for courtrooms, hearing rooms, jury facilities, and other public areas in courthouses and any other facility occupied by the courts, state attorneys, public defenders, guardians ad litem, and criminal conflict and civil regional counsel. Court reporting equipment in these areas or facilities is not a responsibility of the county.
2. Equipment and furnishings under this paragraph in existence and owned by counties on July 1, 2005, except for that in the possession of the clerks, for areas other than courtrooms, hearing rooms, jury facilities, and other public areas in courthouses and any other facility occupied by the courts, state attorneys, and public defenders, shall be transferred to the state at no charge. This provision does not apply to any communications services as defined in paragraph (f).
(b) “Construction or lease” includes, but is not limited to, all reasonable and necessary costs of the acquisition or lease of facilities for all judicial officers, staff, jurors, volunteers of a tenant agency, and the public for the circuit and county courts, the public defenders’ offices, state attorneys’ offices, and for performing the court-related functions of the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts. This includes expenses related to financing such facilities and the existing and future cost and bonded indebtedness associated with placing the facilities in use.
(c) “Maintenance” includes, but is not limited to, all reasonable and necessary costs of custodial and groundskeeping services and renovation and reconstruction as needed to accommodate functions for the circuit and county courts, the public defenders’ offices, and state attorneys’ offices and for performing the court-related functions of the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county court and for maintaining the facilities in a condition appropriate and safe for the use intended.
(d) “Utilities” means all electricity services for light, heat, and power; natural or manufactured gas services for light, heat, and power; water and wastewater services and systems, stormwater or runoff services and systems, sewer services and systems, all costs or fees associated with these services and systems, and any costs or fees associated with the mitigation of environmental impacts directly related to the facility.
(e) “Security” includes but is not limited to, all reasonable and necessary costs of services of law enforcement officers or licensed security guards and all electronic, cellular, or digital monitoring and screening devices necessary to ensure the safety and security of all persons visiting or working in a facility; to provide for security of the facility, including protection of property owned by the county or the state; and for security of prisoners brought to any facility. This includes bailiffs while providing courtroom and other security for each judge and other quasi-judicial officers.
(f) “Communications services” are defined as any reasonable and necessary transmission, emission, and reception of signs, signals, writings, images, and sounds of intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical, audio equipment, or other electromagnetic systems and includes all facilities and equipment owned, leased, or used by judges, clerks, public defenders, state attorneys, guardians ad litem, criminal conflict and civil regional counsel, and all staff of the state courts system, state attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices, and clerks of the circuit and county courts performing court-related functions. Such system or services shall include, but not be limited to:
1. Telephone system infrastructure, including computer lines, telephone switching equipment, and maintenance, and facsimile equipment, wireless communications, cellular telephones, pagers, and video teleconferencing equipment and line charges. Each county shall continue to provide access to a local carrier for local and long distance service and shall pay toll charges for local and long distance service.
2. All computer networks, systems and equipment, including computer hardware and software, modems, printers, wiring, network connections, maintenance, support staff or services including any county-funded support staff located in the offices of the circuit court, county courts, state attorneys, public defenders, guardians ad litem, and criminal conflict and civil regional counsel; training, supplies, and line charges necessary for an integrated computer system to support the operations and management of the state courts system, the offices of the public defenders, the offices of the state attorneys, the guardian ad litem offices, the offices of criminal conflict and civil regional counsel, and the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts; and the capability to connect those entities and reporting data to the state as required for the transmission of revenue, performance accountability, case management, data collection, budgeting, and auditing purposes. The integrated computer system shall be operational by July 1, 2006, and, at a minimum, permit the exchange of financial, performance accountability, case management, case disposition, and other data across multiple state and county information systems involving multiple users at both the state level and within each judicial circuit and be able to electronically exchange judicial case background data, sentencing scoresheets, and video evidence information stored in integrated case management systems over secure networks. Once the integrated system becomes operational, counties may reject requests to purchase communications services included in this subparagraph not in compliance with standards, protocols, or processes adopted by the board established pursuant to former s. 29.0086.
3. Courier messenger and subpoena services.
4. Auxiliary aids and services for qualified individuals with a disability which are necessary to ensure access to the courts. Such auxiliary aids and services include, but are not limited to, sign language interpretation services required under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act other than services required to satisfy due-process requirements and identified as a state funding responsibility pursuant to ss. 29.004, 29.005, 29.006, and 29.007, real-time transcription services for individuals who are hearing impaired, and assistive listening devices and the equipment necessary to implement such accommodations.
(g) “Existing radio systems” includes, but is not limited to, law enforcement radio systems that are used by the circuit and county courts, the offices of the public defenders, the offices of the state attorneys, and for court-related functions of the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts. This includes radio systems that were operational or under contract at the time Revision No. 7, 1998, to Art. V of the State Constitution was adopted and any enhancements made thereafter, the maintenance of those systems, and the personnel and supplies necessary for operation.
(h) “Existing multiagency criminal justice information systems” includes, but is not limited to, those components of the multiagency criminal justice information system as defined in s. 943.045, supporting the offices of the circuit or county courts, the public defenders’ offices, the state attorneys’ offices, or those portions of the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts performing court-related functions that are used to carry out the court-related activities of those entities. This includes upgrades and maintenance of the current equipment, maintenance and upgrades of supporting technology infrastructure and associated staff, and services and expenses to assure continued information sharing and reporting of information to the state. The counties shall also provide additional information technology services, hardware, and software as needed for new judges and staff of the state courts system, state attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices, guardian ad litem offices, and the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts performing court-related functions.
(2) Counties shall pay reasonable and necessary salaries, costs, and expenses of the state courts system, including associated staff and expenses, to meet local requirements.
(a) Local requirements are those specialized programs, nonjudicial staff, and other expenses associated with specialized court programs, specialized prosecution needs, specialized defense needs, or resources required of a local jurisdiction as a result of special factors or circumstances. Local requirements exist:
1. When imposed pursuant to an express statutory directive, based on such factors as provided in paragraph (b); or
a. The county has enacted an ordinance, adopted a local program, or funded activities with a financial or operational impact on the circuit or a county within the circuit; or
b. Circumstances in a given circuit or county result in or necessitate implementation of specialized programs, the provision of nonjudicial staff and expenses to specialized court programs, special prosecution needs, specialized defense needs, or the commitment of resources to the court’s jurisdiction.
(b) Factors and circumstances resulting in the establishment of a local requirement include, but are not limited to:
1. Geographic factors;
2. Demographic factors;
3. Labor market forces;
4. The number and location of court facilities; or
5. The volume, severity, complexity, or mix of court cases.
(c) Local requirements under subparagraph (a)2. must be determined by the following method:
1. The chief judge of the circuit, in conjunction with the state attorney, the public defender, and the criminal conflict and civil regional counsel only on matters that impact their offices, shall identify all local requirements within the circuit or within each county in the circuit and shall identify the reasonable and necessary salaries, costs, and expenses to meet these local requirements.
2. On or before June 1 of each year, the chief judge shall submit to the board of county commissioners a tentative budget request for local requirements for the ensuing fiscal year. The tentative budget must certify a listing of all local requirements and the reasonable and necessary salaries, costs, and expenses for each local requirement. The board of county commissioners may, by resolution, require the certification to be submitted earlier.
3. The board of county commissioners shall thereafter treat the certification in accordance with the county’s budgetary procedures. A board of county commissioners may:
a. Determine whether to provide funding, and to what extent it will provide funding, for salaries, costs, and expenses under this section;
b. Require a county finance officer to conduct a preaudit review of any county funds provided under this section prior to disbursement;
c. Require review or audit of funds expended under this section by the appropriate county office; and
d. Provide additional financial support for the courts system, state attorneys, public defenders, or criminal conflict and civil regional counsel.
(d) Counties may satisfy these requirements by entering into interlocal agreements for the collective funding of these reasonable and necessary salaries, costs, and expenses.
(3) The following shall be considered a local requirement pursuant to subparagraph (2)(a)1.:
(a) Legal aid programs, which shall be funded at a level equal to or greater than the amount provided from filing fees and surcharges to legal aid programs from October 1, 2002, to September 30, 2003.
(4)(a) The Department of Financial Services shall review county expenditure reports required under s. 29.0085 for the purpose of ensuring that counties fulfill the responsibilities of this section. The department shall compare county fiscal reports to determine if expenditures for the items specified in paragraphs (1)(a)-(h) and subsection (3) have increased by 1.5 percent over the prior county fiscal year. The initial review must compare county fiscal year 2005-2006 to county fiscal year 2004-2005. If the department finds that expenditures for the items specified in paragraphs (1)(a)-(h) and subsection (3) have not increased by 1.5 percent over the prior county fiscal year, the department shall notify the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the respective county. The Legislature may determine that a county has met its obligations for items specified in this section if the prior county fiscal year included nonrecurring expenditures for facilities or information technology that is not needed in the next county fiscal year or expenditures or actions that enable a county to attain efficiencies in providing services to the court system. The Legislature may direct the Department of Revenue to withhold revenue-sharing receipts distributed pursuant to part II of chapter 218, except for revenues used for paying the principal or interest on bonds, tax anticipation certificates, or any other form of indebtedness allowed under s. 218.25(1), (2), or (4), from any county that is not in compliance with the funding obligations in this section by an amount equal to the difference between the amount spent and the amount that would have been spent had the county increased expenditures by 1.5 percent per year.
(b) The department shall transfer the withheld payments to the General Revenue Fund by March 31 of each year for the previous county fiscal year. These payments are appropriated to the Department of Revenue to pay for these responsibilities on behalf of the county.
(c) Counties are exempt from all requirements and provisions of paragraph (a) for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Accordingly, for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, counties shall maintain, but are not required to increase, their expenditures for the items specified in paragraphs (1)(a)-(h) and subsection (3). The requirements described in paragraph (a) shall be reinstated beginning with the 2015-2016 fiscal year. This paragraph expires July 1, 2015.
History.—s. 8, ch. 2000-237; s. 1, ch. 2001-265; ss. 44, 45, ch. 2003-402; s. 28, ch. 2004-265; s. 17, ch. 2005-236; s. 105, ch. 2006-120; s. 6, ch. 2006-122; s. 19, ch. 2007-6; s. 19, ch. 2007-62; s. 10, ch. 2010-153; s. 23, ch. 2011-47; s. 20, ch. 2012-119; s. 14, ch. 2013-41; s. 24, ch. 2014-53.