Florida Senate - 2019                                     SB 328
       By Senator Brandes
       24-00423A-19                                           2019328__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to courts; creating s. 25.025, F.S.;
    3         authorizing certain Supreme Court justices to have an
    4         appropriate facility in their district of residence
    5         designated as their official headquarters; providing
    6         that an official headquarters may serve only as a
    7         justice’s private chambers; providing that such
    8         justices are eligible for a certain subsistence
    9         allowance and reimbursement for certain transportation
   10         expenses; requiring that such allowance and
   11         reimbursement be made to the extent appropriated funds
   12         are available, as determined by the Chief Justice;
   13         requiring the Chief Justice to coordinate with certain
   14         persons in designating official headquarters;
   15         providing that a county is not required to provide
   16         space for a justice in a county courthouse;
   17         authorizing counties to enter into agreements with the
   18         Supreme Court for the use of county courthouse space;
   19         prohibiting the Supreme Court from using state funds
   20         to lease space in specified facilities to allow a
   21         justice to establish an official headquarters;
   22         amending s. 26.012, F.S.; revising the appellate
   23         jurisdiction of the circuit courts; amending s.
   24         29.008, F.S.; providing applicability and
   25         construction; amending s. 30.15, F.S.; requiring
   26         sheriffs to coordinate with the board of county
   27         commissioners and the chief judge of the circuit on a
   28         comprehensive plan for the provision of security for
   29         trial court facilities; requiring sheriffs to retain
   30         operational control over how they provide security for
   31         such facilities; specifying that the chief judge
   32         retains certain decisionmaking authority; specifying
   33         that sheriffs and their deputies, employees, and
   34         contractors are officers of the court when providing
   35         security for trial court facilities; amending s.
   36         34.01, F.S.; increasing the limit on the amount in
   37         controversy in certain actions at law under which the
   38         county court has original jurisdiction, beginning on a
   39         specified date; specifying that certain actions
   40         relating to damages or losses covered by insurance
   41         policies are not within the jurisdiction of the county
   42         court; providing for adjustments to limits at
   43         specified intervals due to inflation or deflation;
   44         requiring the State Courts Administrator to make
   45         certain recommendations to the Governor and the
   46         Legislature by a specified date; amending s. 44.108,
   47         F.S.; prohibiting a filing fee from being levied on an
   48         appeal from the county court to the circuit court for
   49         a claim for more than a specified amount; amending s.
   50         105.031, F.S.; requiring the Department of State or
   51         the supervisor of elections to refund the full amount
   52         of certain qualifying fees; conforming a cross
   53         reference; providing effective dates.
   55  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   57         Section 1. Section 25.025, Florida Statutes, is created to
   58  read:
   59         25.025 Headquarters.—
   60         (1)(a) A Supreme Court justice who permanently resides
   61  outside Leon County shall, if he or she so requests, have a
   62  district court of appeal courthouse, a county courthouse, or
   63  other appropriate facility in his or her district of residence
   64  designated as his or her official headquarters pursuant to s.
   65  112.061. This official headquarters may serve only as the
   66  justice’s private chambers.
   67         (b)A justice for whom an official headquarters is
   68  designated in his or her district of residence under this
   69  subsection is eligible for subsistence at a rate to be
   70  established by the Chief Justice for each day or partial day
   71  that the justice is at the Supreme Court Building for the
   72  conduct of the business of the court. In addition to the
   73  subsistence allowance, a justice is eligible for reimbursement
   74  for transportation expenses as provided in s. 112.061(7) for
   75  travel between the justice’s official headquarters and the
   76  Supreme Court Building for the conduct of the business of the
   77  court.
   78         (c) Payment of subsistence and reimbursement for
   79  transportation expenses relating to travel between a justice’s
   80  official headquarters and the Supreme Court Building must be
   81  made to the extent that appropriated funds are available, as
   82  determined by the Chief Justice.
   83         (2) The Chief Justice shall coordinate with each affected
   84  justice and other state and local officials as necessary to
   85  implement paragraph (1)(a).
   86         (3)(a)This section does not require a county to provide
   87  space in a county courthouse for a justice. A county may enter
   88  into an agreement with the Supreme Court governing the use of
   89  space in a county courthouse.
   90         (b) The Supreme Court may not use state funds to lease
   91  space in a district court of appeal courthouse, county
   92  courthouse, or other facility to allow a justice to establish an
   93  official headquarters pursuant to subsection (1).
   94         Section 2. Effective January 1, 2020, subsections (1), (2),
   95  and (4) of section 26.012, Florida Statutes, are amended to
   96  read:
   97         26.012 Jurisdiction of circuit court.—
   98         (1)(a) The appellate jurisdiction of the circuit courts
   99  includes: Circuit courts shall have jurisdiction of
  100         1. Appeals from county court orders or judgments in actions
  101  at law within the jurisdiction of the county court under s.
  102  34.01(1)(c).
  103         2. Appeals from county court orders or judgments in
  104  misdemeanor cases.
  105         3. Appeals from county court orders or judgments relating
  106  to family law matters and other matters within the jurisdiction
  107  of the county court under s. 34.01(2).
  108         4. Appeals from final administrative orders of local
  109  government code enforcement boards.
  110         (b) The appellate jurisdiction of the circuit courts does
  111  not include courts except appeals of county court orders or
  112  judgments that:
  113         1. Declare declaring invalid a state statute or a provision
  114  of the State Constitution. and except orders or judgments of a
  115  county court which
  116         2. Are certified by the county court to the district court
  117  of appeal to be of great public importance and that which are
  118  accepted by the district court of appeal for review. Circuit
  119  courts shall have jurisdiction of appeals from final
  120  administrative orders of local government code enforcement
  121  boards.
  122         (2) Circuit courts They shall have exclusive original
  123  jurisdiction:
  124         (a) In all actions at law not cognizable by the county
  125  courts;
  126         (b) Of proceedings relating to the settlement of the
  127  estates of decedents and minors, the granting of letters
  128  testamentary, guardianship, involuntary hospitalization, the
  129  determination of incompetency, and other jurisdiction usually
  130  pertaining to courts of probate;
  131         (c) In all cases in equity including all cases relating to
  132  juveniles except traffic offenses as provided in chapters 316
  133  and 985;
  134         (d) Of all felonies and of all misdemeanors arising out of
  135  the same circumstances as a felony which is also charged;
  136         (e) In all cases involving legality of any tax assessment
  137  or toll or denial of refund, except as provided in s. 72.011;
  138         (f) In actions of ejectment; and
  139         (g) In all actions involving the title and boundaries of
  140  real property.
  141         (4) The chief judge of a circuit may authorize a county
  142  court judge to order emergency hospitalizations pursuant to part
  143  I of chapter 394 in the absence from the county of the circuit
  144  judge; and the county court judge has shall have the power to
  145  issue all temporary orders and temporary injunctions necessary
  146  or proper to the complete exercise of such jurisdiction.
  147         Section 3. Subsection (1) of section 29.008, Florida
  148  Statutes, is amended to read:
  149         29.008 County funding of court-related functions.—
  150         (1) Counties are required by s. 14, Art. V of the State
  151  Constitution to fund the cost of communications services,
  152  existing radio systems, existing multiagency criminal justice
  153  information systems, and the cost of construction or lease,
  154  maintenance, utilities, and security of facilities for the
  155  circuit and county courts, public defenders’ offices, state
  156  attorneys’ offices, guardian ad litem offices, and the offices
  157  of the clerks of the circuit and county courts performing court
  158  related functions. For purposes of this section, the term
  159  “circuit and county courts” includes the offices and staffing of
  160  the guardian ad litem programs, and the term “public defenders’
  161  offices” includes the offices of criminal conflict and civil
  162  regional counsel. The county designated under s. 35.05(1) as the
  163  headquarters for each appellate district shall fund these costs
  164  for the appellate division of the public defender’s office in
  165  that county. For purposes of implementing these requirements,
  166  the term:
  167         (a) “Facility” means reasonable and necessary buildings and
  168  office space and appurtenant equipment and furnishings,
  169  structures, real estate, easements, and related interests in
  170  real estate, including, but not limited to, those for the
  171  purpose of housing legal materials for use by the general public
  172  and personnel, equipment, or functions of the circuit or county
  173  courts, public defenders’ offices, state attorneys’ offices, and
  174  court-related functions of the office of the clerks of the
  175  circuit and county courts and all storage. The term “facility”
  176  includes all wiring necessary for court reporting services. The
  177  term also includes access to parking for such facilities in
  178  connection with such court-related functions that may be
  179  available free or from a private provider or a local government
  180  for a fee. The office space provided by a county may not be less
  181  than the standards for space allotment adopted by the Department
  182  of Management Services, except this requirement applies only to
  183  facilities that are leased, or on which construction commences,
  184  after June 30, 2003. County funding must include physical
  185  modifications and improvements to all facilities as are required
  186  for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Upon
  187  mutual agreement of a county and the affected entity in this
  188  paragraph, the office space provided by the county may vary from
  189  the standards for space allotment adopted by the Department of
  190  Management Services.
  191         1. As of July 1, 2005, equipment and furnishings shall be
  192  limited to that appropriate and customary for courtrooms,
  193  hearing rooms, jury facilities, and other public areas in
  194  courthouses and any other facility occupied by the courts, state
  195  attorneys, public defenders, guardians ad litem, and criminal
  196  conflict and civil regional counsel. Court reporting equipment
  197  in these areas or facilities is not a responsibility of the
  198  county.
  199         2. Equipment and furnishings under this paragraph in
  200  existence and owned by counties on July 1, 2005, except for that
  201  in the possession of the clerks, for areas other than
  202  courtrooms, hearing rooms, jury facilities, and other public
  203  areas in courthouses and any other facility occupied by the
  204  courts, state attorneys, and public defenders, shall be
  205  transferred to the state at no charge. This provision does not
  206  apply to any communications services as defined in paragraph
  207  (f).
  208         (b) “Construction or lease” includes, but is not limited
  209  to, all reasonable and necessary costs of the acquisition or
  210  lease of facilities for all judicial officers, staff, jurors,
  211  volunteers of a tenant agency, and the public for the circuit
  212  and county courts, the public defenders’ offices, state
  213  attorneys’ offices, and for performing the court-related
  214  functions of the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county
  215  courts. This includes expenses related to financing such
  216  facilities and the existing and future cost and bonded
  217  indebtedness associated with placing the facilities in use.
  218         (c) “Maintenance” includes, but is not limited to, all
  219  reasonable and necessary costs of custodial and groundskeeping
  220  services and renovation and reconstruction as needed to
  221  accommodate functions for the circuit and county courts, the
  222  public defenders’ offices, and state attorneys’ offices and for
  223  performing the court-related functions of the offices of the
  224  clerks of the circuit and county court and for maintaining the
  225  facilities in a condition appropriate and safe for the use
  226  intended.
  227         (d) “Utilities” means all electricity services for light,
  228  heat, and power; natural or manufactured gas services for light,
  229  heat, and power; water and wastewater services and systems,
  230  stormwater or runoff services and systems, sewer services and
  231  systems, all costs or fees associated with these services and
  232  systems, and any costs or fees associated with the mitigation of
  233  environmental impacts directly related to the facility.
  234         (e) “Security” includes but is not limited to, all
  235  reasonable and necessary costs of services of law enforcement
  236  officers or licensed security guards and all electronic,
  237  cellular, or digital monitoring and screening devices necessary
  238  to ensure the safety and security of all persons visiting or
  239  working in a facility; to provide for security of the facility,
  240  including protection of property owned by the county or the
  241  state; and for security of prisoners brought to any facility.
  242  This includes bailiffs while providing courtroom and other
  243  security for each judge and other quasi-judicial officers.
  244         (f) “Communications services” are defined as any reasonable
  245  and necessary transmission, emission, and reception of signs,
  246  signals, writings, images, and sounds of intelligence of any
  247  nature by wire, radio, optical, audio equipment, or other
  248  electromagnetic systems and includes all facilities and
  249  equipment owned, leased, or used by judges, clerks, public
  250  defenders, state attorneys, guardians ad litem, criminal
  251  conflict and civil regional counsel, and all staff of the state
  252  courts system, state attorneys’ offices, public defenders’
  253  offices, and clerks of the circuit and county courts performing
  254  court-related functions. Such system or services shall include,
  255  but not be limited to:
  256         1. Telephone system infrastructure, including computer
  257  lines, telephone switching equipment, and maintenance, and
  258  facsimile equipment, wireless communications, cellular
  259  telephones, pagers, and video teleconferencing equipment and
  260  line charges. Each county shall continue to provide access to a
  261  local carrier for local and long distance service and shall pay
  262  toll charges for local and long distance service.
  263         2. All computer networks, systems and equipment, including
  264  computer hardware and software, modems, printers, wiring,
  265  network connections, maintenance, support staff or services
  266  including any county-funded support staff located in the offices
  267  of the circuit court, county courts, state attorneys, public
  268  defenders, guardians ad litem, and criminal conflict and civil
  269  regional counsel; training, supplies, and line charges necessary
  270  for an integrated computer system to support the operations and
  271  management of the state courts system, the offices of the public
  272  defenders, the offices of the state attorneys, the guardian ad
  273  litem offices, the offices of criminal conflict and civil
  274  regional counsel, and the offices of the clerks of the circuit
  275  and county courts; and the capability to connect those entities
  276  and reporting data to the state as required for the transmission
  277  of revenue, performance accountability, case management, data
  278  collection, budgeting, and auditing purposes. The integrated
  279  computer system shall be operational by July 1, 2006, and, at a
  280  minimum, permit the exchange of financial, performance
  281  accountability, case management, case disposition, and other
  282  data across multiple state and county information systems
  283  involving multiple users at both the state level and within each
  284  judicial circuit and be able to electronically exchange judicial
  285  case background data, sentencing scoresheets, and video evidence
  286  information stored in integrated case management systems over
  287  secure networks. Once the integrated system becomes operational,
  288  counties may reject requests to purchase communications services
  289  included in this subparagraph not in compliance with standards,
  290  protocols, or processes adopted by the board established
  291  pursuant to former s. 29.0086.
  292         3. Courier messenger and subpoena services.
  293         4. Auxiliary aids and services for qualified individuals
  294  with a disability which are necessary to ensure access to the
  295  courts. Such auxiliary aids and services include, but are not
  296  limited to, sign language interpretation services required under
  297  the federal Americans with Disabilities Act other than services
  298  required to satisfy due-process requirements and identified as a
  299  state funding responsibility pursuant to ss. 29.004, 29.005,
  300  29.006, and 29.007, real-time transcription services for
  301  individuals who are hearing impaired, and assistive listening
  302  devices and the equipment necessary to implement such
  303  accommodations.
  304         (g) “Existing radio systems” includes, but is not limited
  305  to, law enforcement radio systems that are used by the circuit
  306  and county courts, the offices of the public defenders, the
  307  offices of the state attorneys, and for court-related functions
  308  of the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts.
  309  This includes radio systems that were operational or under
  310  contract at the time Revision No. 7, 1998, to Art. V of the
  311  State Constitution was adopted and any enhancements made
  312  thereafter, the maintenance of those systems, and the personnel
  313  and supplies necessary for operation.
  314         (h) “Existing multiagency criminal justice information
  315  systems” includes, but is not limited to, those components of
  316  the multiagency criminal justice information system as defined
  317  in s. 943.045, supporting the offices of the circuit or county
  318  courts, the public defenders’ offices, the state attorneys’
  319  offices, or those portions of the offices of the clerks of the
  320  circuit and county courts performing court-related functions
  321  that are used to carry out the court-related activities of those
  322  entities. This includes upgrades and maintenance of the current
  323  equipment, maintenance and upgrades of supporting technology
  324  infrastructure and associated staff, and services and expenses
  325  to assure continued information sharing and reporting of
  326  information to the state. The counties shall also provide
  327  additional information technology services, hardware, and
  328  software as needed for new judges and staff of the state courts
  329  system, state attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices,
  330  guardian ad litem offices, and the offices of the clerks of the
  331  circuit and county courts performing court-related functions.
  333  This subsection applies only to matters relating to court
  334  funding and may not be construed to enhance, limit, or define
  335  the authority of any court.
  336         Section 4. Subsection (4) is added to section 30.15,
  337  Florida Statutes, to read:
  338         30.15 Powers, duties, and obligations.—
  339         (4)(a)In accordance with each county’s obligation under s.
  340  14, Art. V of the State Constitution and s. 29.008 to fund
  341  security for trial court facilities, the sheriff of each county
  342  shall coordinate with the board of county commissioners of that
  343  county and the chief judge of the circuit in which that county
  344  is located on the development of a comprehensive plan for the
  345  provision of security for trial court facilities. Each sheriff
  346  shall retain authority over the operational control and
  347  provision of law enforcement services associated with the plan.
  348  The chief judge of the circuit shall retain decisionmaking
  349  authority to ensure the protection of due process rights,
  350  including, but not limited to, the scheduling and conduct of
  351  trial and other judicial proceedings, as part of his or her
  352  responsibility for the administrative supervision of trial
  353  courts under s. 43.26.
  354         (b) Sheriffs and their deputies, employees, and contractors
  355  are officers of the court when providing security for trial
  356  court facilities under this subsection.
  357         Section 5. Subsection (1) of section 34.01, Florida
  358  Statutes, is amended to read:
  359         34.01 Jurisdiction of county court.—
  360         (1) County courts shall have original jurisdiction:
  361         (a) In all misdemeanor cases not cognizable by the circuit
  362  courts.;
  363         (b) Of all violations of municipal and county ordinances.;
  364         (c)1. Of all actions at law filed on or before December 31,
  365  2019, in which the matter in controversy does not exceed the sum
  366  of $15,000, exclusive of interest, costs, and attorney
  367  attorney’s fees, except those within the exclusive jurisdiction
  368  of the circuit courts.; and
  369         2. Of all actions at law filed on or after January 1, 2020,
  370  in which the matter in controversy does not exceed the sum of
  371  $50,000, exclusive of interest, costs, and attorney fees,
  372  except:
  373         a. Actions within the exclusive jurisdiction of the circuit
  374  courts; and
  375         b. Actions relating to damages or losses covered by an
  376  insurance policy, including coverage disputes, which are filed
  377  on or after January 1, 2020, and in which the matter in
  378  controversy does not exceed the sum of $25,000, exclusive of
  379  interest, costs, and attorney fees.
  381  The limits in subparagraph 2. must be adjusted every 10 years
  382  after January 1, 2020, to reflect the rate of inflation or
  383  deflation as indicated in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban
  384  Consumers, U.S. City Average, All Items, or successor reports as
  385  reported by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of
  386  Labor Statistics, or its successor. Such adjustments must be
  387  rounded to the nearest $5,000.
  388         (d) Of disputes occurring in the homeowners’ associations
  389  as described in s. 720.311(2)(a), which shall be concurrent with
  390  jurisdiction of the circuit courts.
  392  By March 1, 2021, the State Courts Administrator shall make
  393  recommendations regarding the adjustment of county court
  394  jurisdiction to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and
  395  the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The recommendation
  396  must include an analysis of workflow, timely access to court by
  397  litigants, and any resulting fiscal impact to the state as a
  398  result of adjusted jurisdictional limits.
  399         Section 6. Subsection (1) of section 44.108, Florida
  400  Statutes, is amended to read:
  401         44.108 Funding of mediation and arbitration.—
  402         (1) Mediation and arbitration should be accessible to all
  403  parties regardless of financial status. A filing fee of $1 is
  404  levied on all proceedings in the circuit or county courts to
  405  fund mediation and arbitration services which are the
  406  responsibility of the Supreme Court pursuant to the provisions
  407  of s. 44.106. However, the filing fee may not be levied on an
  408  appeal from the county court to the circuit court for a claim of
  409  more than $15,000. The clerk of the court shall forward the
  410  moneys collected to the Department of Revenue for deposit in the
  411  State Courts Revenue Trust Fund.
  412         Section 7. Effective upon this act becoming a law,
  413  subsections (3) and (5) of section 105.031, Florida Statutes,
  414  are amended to read:
  415         105.031 Qualification; filing fee; candidate’s oath; items
  416  required to be filed.—
  417         (3) QUALIFYING FEE.—
  418         (a) Each candidate qualifying for election to a judicial
  419  office or the office of school board member, except write-in
  420  judicial or school board candidates, shall, during the time for
  421  qualifying, pay to the officer with whom he or she qualifies a
  422  qualifying fee, which shall consist of a filing fee and an
  423  election assessment, or qualify by the petition process. The
  424  amount of the filing fee is 3 percent of the annual salary of
  425  the office sought. The amount of the election assessment is 1
  426  percent of the annual salary of the office sought. Except as
  427  otherwise required by paragraph (b), the Department of State
  428  shall transfer all filing fees to the Department of Legal
  429  Affairs for deposit in the Elections Commission Trust Fund and.
  430  the supervisor of elections shall forward all filing fees to the
  431  Elections Commission Trust Fund. The election assessment shall
  432  be deposited into the Elections Commission Trust Fund. The
  433  annual salary of the office for purposes of computing the
  434  qualifying fee shall be computed by multiplying 12 times the
  435  monthly salary authorized for such office as of July 1
  436  immediately preceding the first day of qualifying. This
  437  paragraph subsection does not apply to candidates qualifying for
  438  retention to judicial office.
  439         (b) Not later than 20 days after the close of qualifying,
  440  the Department of State or the supervisor of elections, as
  441  appropriate, shall refund the full amount of the qualifying fee
  442  to a candidate for the office of circuit court judge or county
  443  court judge who is unopposed at the time the qualifying period
  444  closes.
  445         (5) ITEMS REQUIRED TO BE FILED.—
  446         (a) In order for a candidate for judicial office or the
  447  office of school board member to be qualified, the following
  448  items must be received by the filing officer by the end of the
  449  qualifying period:
  450         1. Except for candidates for retention to judicial office,
  451  a properly executed check drawn upon the candidate’s campaign
  452  account in an amount not less than the fee required by paragraph
  453  (3)(a) subsection (3) or, in lieu thereof, the copy of the
  454  notice of obtaining ballot position pursuant to s. 105.035. If a
  455  candidate’s check is returned by the bank for any reason, the
  456  filing officer shall immediately notify the candidate and the
  457  candidate shall, the end of qualifying notwithstanding, have 48
  458  hours from the time such notification is received, excluding
  459  Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, to pay the fee with a
  460  cashier’s check purchased from funds of the campaign account.
  461  Failure to pay the fee as provided in this subparagraph shall
  462  disqualify the candidate.
  463         2. The candidate’s oath required by subsection (4), which
  464  must contain the name of the candidate as it is to appear on the
  465  ballot; the office sought, including the district or group
  466  number if applicable; and the signature of the candidate, duly
  467  acknowledged.
  468         3. The loyalty oath required by s. 876.05, signed by the
  469  candidate and duly acknowledged.
  470         4. The completed form for the appointment of campaign
  471  treasurer and designation of campaign depository, as required by
  472  s. 106.021. In addition, each candidate for judicial office,
  473  including an incumbent judge, shall file a statement with the
  474  qualifying officer, within 10 days after filing the appointment
  475  of campaign treasurer and designation of campaign depository,
  476  stating that the candidate has read and understands the
  477  requirements of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct. Such
  478  statement shall be in substantially the following form:
  480             Statement of Candidate for Judicial Office            
  482  I, ...(name of candidate)..., a judicial candidate, have
  483  received, read, and understand the requirements of the Florida
  484  Code of Judicial Conduct.
  485  ...(Signature of candidate)...
  486  ...(Date)...
  488         5. The full and public disclosure of financial interests
  489  required by s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution or the
  490  statement of financial interests required by s. 112.3145,
  491  whichever is applicable. A public officer who has filed the full
  492  and public disclosure or statement of financial interests with
  493  the Commission on Ethics or the supervisor of elections prior to
  494  qualifying for office may file a copy of that disclosure at the
  495  time of qualifying.
  496         Section 8. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
  497  act and except for this section, which shall take effect upon
  498  becoming a law, this act shall take effect October 1, 2019.