Florida Senate - 2019                                     SB 440
       By Senator Rouson
       19-00408A-19                                           2019440__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Florida Commission on Human
    3         Relations; amending s. 760.03, F.S.; providing quorum
    4         requirements for the Commission on Human Relations and
    5         its panels; amending s. 760.065, F.S.; revising the
    6         number of persons the commission may recommend for the
    7         Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame; amending s. 760.11,
    8         F.S.; requiring the commission to provide notice to an
    9         aggrieved person under specified circumstances;
   10         providing notice requirements; providing a limitation
   11         on the time a civil action may be filed after an
   12         alleged violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act;
   13         amending s. 760.29, F.S.; deleting a requirement that
   14         a facility or community that provides housing for
   15         older persons register with and submit a letter to the
   16         commission; amending s. 760.31, F.S.; conforming a
   17         provision; amending s. 760.60, F.S.; deleting the
   18         requirement for the commission or Attorney General to
   19         investigate a complaint of discrimination in
   20         evaluating an application for club membership;
   21         revising the length of time the commission or Attorney
   22         General has to resolve such a complaint; amending s.
   23         112.31895, F.S.; revising the timeline relating to a
   24         complaint alleging a prohibited personnel action;
   25         deleting a requirement that the commission notify a
   26         complainant upon receipt of the complaint; providing
   27         an effective date.
   29  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   31         Section 1. Subsection (5) of section 760.03, Florida
   32  Statutes, is amended to read:
   33         760.03 Commission on Human Relations; staff.—
   34         (5) A quorum is necessary for the conduct of official
   35  business. Unless otherwise provided by law, a quorum consists of
   36  a majority of the currently appointed commissioners. Seven
   37  members shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business;
   38  however, The commission may establish panels of not less than
   39  three of its members to exercise its powers under the Florida
   40  Civil Rights Act of 1992, subject to such procedures and
   41  limitations as the commission may provide by rule.
   42  Notwithstanding this subsection, three appointed members serving
   43  on panels shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of official
   44  business of the panel.
   45         Section 2. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
   46  760.065, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   47         760.065 Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame.—
   48         (3)(a) The commission shall annually accept nominations for
   49  persons to be recommended as members of the Florida Civil Rights
   50  Hall of Fame. The commission shall recommend up to 10 persons
   51  from which the Governor shall select up to 3 hall-of-fame
   52  members.
   53         Section 3. Subsection (8) of section 760.11, Florida
   54  Statutes, is amended to read:
   55         760.11 Administrative and civil remedies; construction.—
   56         (8) If In the event that the commission fails to conciliate
   57  or determine whether there is reasonable cause on any complaint
   58  under this section within 180 days of the filing of
   59  the complaint:,
   60         (a) An aggrieved person may proceed under subsection (4),
   61  as if the commission determined that there was reasonable cause.
   62         (b)The commission shall promptly notify the aggrieved
   63  person of the failure to conciliate or determine whether there
   64  is reasonable cause. The notice shall provide the options
   65  available to the aggrieved person under subsection (4) and
   66  inform the aggrieved person that a civil action is prohibited if
   67  not filed within 1 year after the date the commission certifies
   68  that the notice was mailed.
   69         (c)Any civil action brought by an aggrieved person under
   70  this section must be commenced within 1 year after the date the
   71  commission certifies that the notice was mailed pursuant to
   72  paragraph (b).
   73         Section 4. Subsection (4) of section 760.29, Florida
   74  Statutes, is amended to read:
   75         760.29 Exemptions.—
   76         (4)(a) Any provision of ss. 760.20-760.37 regarding
   77  familial status does not apply with respect to housing for older
   78  persons.
   79         (b) As used in this subsection, the term “housing for older
   80  persons” means housing:
   81         1. Provided under any state or federal program that the
   82  commission determines is specifically designed and operated to
   83  assist elderly persons, as defined in the state or federal
   84  program;
   85         2. Intended for, and solely occupied by, persons 62 years
   86  of age or older; or
   87         3. Intended and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years
   88  of age or older that meets the following requirements:
   89         a. At least 80 percent of the occupied units are occupied
   90  by at least one person 55 years of age or older.
   91         b. The housing facility or community publishes and adheres
   92  to policies and procedures that demonstrate the intent required
   93  under this subparagraph. If the housing facility or community
   94  meets the requirements of sub-subparagraphs a. and c. and the
   95  recorded governing documents provide for an adult, senior, or
   96  retirement housing facility or community and the governing
   97  documents lack an amendatory procedure, prohibit amendments, or
   98  restrict amendments until a specified future date, then that
   99  housing facility or community shall be deemed housing for older
  100  persons intended and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years
  101  of age or older. If those documents further provide a
  102  prohibition against residents 16 years of age or younger, that
  103  provision shall be construed, for purposes of the Fair Housing
  104  Act, to only apply to residents 18 years of age or younger, in
  105  order to conform with federal law requirements. Governing
  106  documents which can be amended at a future date must be amended
  107  and properly recorded within 1 year after that date to reflect
  108  the requirements for consideration as housing for older persons,
  109  if that housing facility or community intends to continue as
  110  housing for older persons.
  111         c. The housing facility or community complies with rules
  112  made by the Secretary of the United States Department of Housing
  113  and Urban Development pursuant to 24 C.F.R. part 100 for
  114  verification of occupancy, which rules provide for verification
  115  by reliable surveys and affidavits and include examples of the
  116  types of policies and procedures relevant to a determination of
  117  compliance with the requirements of sub-subparagraph b. Such
  118  surveys and affidavits are admissible in administrative and
  119  judicial proceedings for the purposes of such verification.
  120         (c) Housing shall not fail to be considered housing for
  121  older persons if:
  122         1. A person who resides in such housing on or after October
  123  1, 1989, does not meet the age requirements of this subsection,
  124  provided that any new occupant meets such age requirements; or
  125         2. One or more units are unoccupied, provided that any
  126  unoccupied units are reserved for occupancy by persons who meet
  127  the age requirements of this subsection.
  128         (d) A person shall not be personally liable for monetary
  129  damages for a violation of this subsection if such person
  130  reasonably relied in good faith on the application of the
  131  exemption under this subsection relating to housing for older
  132  persons. For purposes of this paragraph, a person may show good
  133  faith reliance on the application of the exemption only by
  134  showing that:
  135         1. The person has no actual knowledge that the facility or
  136  the community is ineligible, or will become ineligible, for such
  137  exemption; and
  138         2. The facility or community has stated formally, in
  139  writing, that the facility or community complies with the
  140  requirements for such exemption.
  141         (e)A facility or community claiming an exemption under
  142  this subsection shall register with the commission and submit a
  143  letter to the commission stating that the facility or community
  144  complies with the requirements of subparagraph (b)1.,
  145  subparagraph (b)2., or subparagraph (b)3. The letter shall be
  146  submitted on the letterhead of the facility or community and
  147  shall be signed by the president of the facility or community.
  148  This registration and documentation shall be renewed biennially
  149  from the date of original filing. The information in the
  150  registry shall be made available to the public, and the
  151  commission shall include this information on an Internet
  152  website. The commission may establish a reasonable registration
  153  fee, not to exceed $20, that shall be deposited into the
  154  commission’s trust fund to defray the administrative costs
  155  associated with maintaining the registry. The commission may
  156  impose an administrative fine, not to exceed $500, on a facility
  157  or community that knowingly submits false information in the
  158  documentation required by this paragraph. Such fines shall be
  159  deposited in the commission’s trust fund. The registration and
  160  documentation required by this paragraph shall not substitute
  161  for proof of compliance with the requirements of this
  162  subsection. Failure to comply with the requirements of this
  163  paragraph shall not disqualify a facility or community that
  164  otherwise qualifies for the exemption provided in this
  165  subsection.
  167  A county or municipal ordinance regarding housing for older
  168  persons may not contravene the provisions of this subsection.
  169         Section 5. Subsection (5) of section 760.31, Florida
  170  Statutes, is amended to read:
  171         760.31 Powers and duties of commission.—The commission
  172  shall:
  173         (5) Adopt rules necessary to implement ss. 760.20-760.37
  174  and govern the proceedings of the commission in accordance with
  175  chapter 120. Commission rules shall clarify terms used with
  176  regard to handicapped accessibility, exceptions from
  177  accessibility requirements based on terrain or site
  178  characteristics, and requirements related to housing for older
  179  persons. Commission rules shall specify the fee and the forms
  180  and procedures to be used for the registration required by s.
  181  760.29(4)(e).
  182         Section 6. Subsections (2) and (3) of section 760.60,
  183  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  184         760.60 Discriminatory practices of certain clubs
  185  prohibited; remedies.—
  186         (2) A person who has been discriminated against in
  187  violation of this act may file a complaint with the Commission
  188  on Human Relations or with the Attorney General’s Office of
  189  Civil Rights. A complaint must be in writing and must contain
  190  such information and be in such form as the commission requires.
  191  Upon receipt of a complaint, the commission or the Attorney
  192  General shall provide a copy to the person who represents the
  193  club. Within 30 days after receiving a complaint, the commission
  194  or the Attorney General shall investigate the alleged
  195  discrimination and give notice in writing to the person who
  196  filed the complaint if it intends to resolve the complaint. If
  197  the commission or the Attorney General decides to resolve the
  198  complaint, it shall attempt to eliminate or correct the alleged
  199  discriminatory practices of a club by informal methods of
  200  conference, conciliation, and persuasion.
  201         (3) If the commission or the Attorney General fails, within
  202  30 days after receiving a complaint filed pursuant to subsection
  203  (2), to give notice of its intent to eliminate or correct the
  204  alleged discriminatory practices of a club, or if the commission
  205  or the Attorney General fails to resolve the complaint within 45
  206  30 days after giving such notice, the person or the Attorney
  207  General on behalf of the person filing the complaint may
  208  commence a civil action in a court against the club, its
  209  officers, or its members to enforce this section. If the court
  210  finds that a discriminatory practice occurs at the club, the
  211  court may enjoin the club, its officers, or its members from
  212  engaging in such practice or may order other appropriate action.
  213         Section 7. Subsections (1) and (2), paragraphs (d) and (e)
  214  of subsection (3), and paragraph (a) of subsection (4) of
  215  section 112.31895, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  216         112.31895 Investigative procedures in response to
  217  prohibited personnel actions.—
  218         (1)(a) If a disclosure under s. 112.3187 includes or
  219  results in alleged retaliation by an employer, the employee or
  220  former employee of, or applicant for employment with, a state
  221  agency, as defined in s. 216.011, that is so affected may file a
  222  complaint alleging a prohibited personnel action, which
  223  complaint must be made by filing a written complaint with the
  224  Office of the Chief Inspector General in the Executive Office of
  225  the Governor or the Florida Commission on Human Relations, no
  226  later than 60 days after the prohibited personnel action.
  227         (b) Within 5 three working days after receiving a complaint
  228  under this section, the office or officer receiving the
  229  complaint shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint and provide
  230  copies of the complaint and any other preliminary information
  231  available concerning the disclosure of information under s.
  232  112.3187 to each of the other parties named in paragraph (a),
  233  which parties shall each acknowledge receipt of such copies to
  234  the complainant.
  235         (2) FACT FINDING.—The Florida Commission on Human Relations
  236  shall:
  237         (a) Receive any allegation of a personnel action prohibited
  238  by s. 112.3187, including a proposed or potential action, and
  239  conduct informal fact finding regarding any allegation under
  240  this section, to the extent necessary to determine whether there
  241  are reasonable grounds to believe that a prohibited personnel
  242  action under s. 112.3187 has occurred, is occurring, or is to be
  243  taken.
  244         (b)Notify the complainant, within 15 days after receiving
  245  a complaint, that the complaint has been received by the
  246  department.
  247         (b)(c) Within 180 90 days after receiving the complaint,
  248  provide the agency head and the complainant with a fact-finding
  249  report that may include recommendations to the parties or
  250  proposed resolution of the complaint. The fact-finding report
  251  shall be presumed admissible in any subsequent or related
  252  administrative or judicial review.
  254         (d) If the Florida Commission on Human Relations is unable
  255  to conciliate a complaint within 35 60 days after receipt of the
  256  fact-finding report, the Florida Commission on Human Relations
  257  shall terminate the investigation. Upon termination of any
  258  investigation, the Florida Commission on Human Relations shall
  259  notify the complainant and the agency head of the termination of
  260  the investigation, providing a summary of relevant facts found
  261  during the investigation and the reasons for terminating the
  262  investigation. A written statement under this paragraph is
  263  presumed admissible as evidence in any judicial or
  264  administrative proceeding but is not admissible without the
  265  consent of the complainant.
  266         (e)1. The Florida Commission on Human Relations may request
  267  an agency or circuit court to order a stay, on such terms as the
  268  court requires, of any personnel action for 45 days if the
  269  Florida Commission on Human Relations determines that reasonable
  270  grounds exist to believe that a prohibited personnel action has
  271  occurred, is occurring, or is to be taken. The Florida
  272  Commission on Human Relations may request that such stay be
  273  extended for appropriate periods of time.
  274         2. If, in connection with any investigation, the Florida
  275  Commission on Human Relations determines that reasonable grounds
  276  exist to believe that a prohibited action has occurred, is
  277  occurring, or is to be taken which requires corrective action,
  278  the Florida Commission on Human Relations shall report the
  279  determination together with any findings or recommendations to
  280  the agency head and may report that determination and those
  281  findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Chief
  282  Financial Officer. The Florida Commission on Human Relations may
  283  include in the report recommendations for corrective action to
  284  be taken.
  285         3. If, after 35 20 days, the agency does not implement the
  286  recommended action, the Florida Commission on Human Relations
  287  shall terminate the investigation and notify the complainant of
  288  the right to appeal under subsection (4), or may petition the
  289  agency for corrective action under this subsection.
  290         4. If the Florida Commission on Human Relations finds, in
  291  consultation with the individual subject to the prohibited
  292  action, that the agency has implemented the corrective action,
  293  the commission shall file such finding with the agency head,
  294  together with any written comments that the individual provides,
  295  and terminate the investigation.
  296         (4) RIGHT TO APPEAL.—
  297         (a) Not more than 21 60 days after receipt of a notice of
  298  termination of the investigation from the Florida Commission on
  299  Human Relations, the complainant may file, with the Public
  300  Employees Relations Commission, a complaint against the
  301  employer-agency regarding the alleged prohibited personnel
  302  action. The Public Employees Relations Commission shall have
  303  jurisdiction over such complaints under ss. 112.3187 and
  304  447.503(4) and (5).
  305         Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.