Florida Senate - 2019                                     SB 494
       By Senator Hooper
       16-00789-19                                            2019494__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Firefighters’ Bill of Rights;
    3         amending s. 112.81, F.S.; revising the definition of
    4         the term “interrogation” to include questioning
    5         pursuant to an informal inquiry; amending s. 112.82,
    6         F.S.; requiring that witnesses be interviewed and
    7         certain information be provided to a firefighter
    8         subjected to interrogation before the interrogation is
    9         conducted; authorizing a firefighter to provide a
   10         voluntary statement at any time after being informed
   11         of a certain right; prohibiting a firefighter from
   12         being threatened with certain disciplinary action
   13         during the course of an interrogation; requiring that
   14         a copy of the interrogation be provided to a
   15         firefighter within a specified timeframe, upon
   16         request; creating s. 112.825, F.S.; requiring that a
   17         firefighter be notified and provided certain
   18         information before certain disciplinary actions are
   19         taken; requiring that a firefighter be given the
   20         opportunity to address certain findings; requiring
   21         that certain information be kept confidential and
   22         exempt until a final determination is made, in
   23         accordance with existing law; providing an effective
   24         date.
   26  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   28         Section 1. Subsection (6) of section 112.81, Florida
   29  Statutes, is amended to read:
   30         112.81 Definitions.—As used in this part:
   31         (6) “Interrogation” means the questioning of a firefighter
   32  by an employing agency in connection with a formal investigation
   33  or an administrative proceeding but does shall not include
   34  arbitration or civil service proceedings. Questioning pursuant
   35  to an informal inquiry is considered shall not be deemed to be
   36  an interrogation for purposes of this part.
   37         Section 2. Subsections (2), (6), (7), and (9) of section
   38  112.82, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   39         112.82 Rights of firefighters.—Whenever a firefighter is
   40  subjected to an interrogation, such interrogation shall be
   41  conducted pursuant to the terms of this section.
   42         (2) A No firefighter may not shall be subjected to
   43  interrogation without first receiving written notice in of
   44  sufficient detail of the investigation in order to reasonably
   45  apprise the firefighter of the nature of the investigation. The
   46  firefighter must shall be informed beforehand of the names of
   47  all complainants. All identifiable witnesses must be interviewed
   48  before the beginning of the interrogation of the firefighter,
   49  when possible. The complaint, all witness statements, and all
   50  other existing evidence, including, but not limited to, incident
   51  reports, GPS locator information, and audio or video recordings
   52  relating to the incident under investigation, must be provided
   53  to each firefighter who is the subject of the complaint before
   54  he or she is interrogated. A firefighter may waive the rights
   55  provided under this section and provide a voluntary statement at
   56  any time after being informed of his or her right to review
   57  witness statements.
   58         (6) The firefighter being interrogated may shall not be
   59  subjected to offensive language; threatened with transfer,
   60  dismissal, or disciplinary action; or offered any incentive as
   61  an inducement to answer any questions.
   62         (7) A complete record of any interrogation must shall be
   63  made., Such record may be electronically recorded. and If a
   64  transcript of the such interrogation is made, the firefighter
   65  under investigation must receive a copy, upon request, without
   66  charge. If the firefighter requests a copy of the transcript, it
   67  must be provided within 72 hours, excluding weekends and
   68  holidays, after the interrogation shall be entitled to a copy
   69  without charge. Such record may be electronically recorded.
   70         (9) A No firefighter may not shall be discharged,
   71  disciplined, demoted, denied promotion or seniority,
   72  transferred, reassigned, or otherwise disciplined or
   73  discriminated against in regard to his or her employment, or be
   74  threatened with any such treatment as retaliation for or by
   75  reason solely of his or her exercise of any of the rights
   76  granted or protected by this part.
   77         Section 3. Section 112.825, Florida Statutes, is created to
   78  read:
   79         112.825Notice of disciplinary action.—
   80         (1)A dismissal, demotion, transfer, reassignment, or other
   81  disciplinary action that might result in loss of pay or benefits
   82  or that might otherwise be considered a punitive measure may not
   83  be taken against a firefighter unless the firefighter is
   84  notified of the action and the reason for the action before the
   85  effective date of the action.
   86         (2)A firefighter who is subject to disciplinary action
   87  that consists of suspension with loss of pay, demotion, or
   88  dismissal, or his or her representative, must, upon request, be
   89  given a complete copy of the investigative file, including the
   90  final investigative report and all evidence, by the employing
   91  agency. The firefighter must be given the opportunity to address
   92  the findings in the final investigative report with the
   93  employing agency before such disciplinary action is taken. The
   94  contents of the complaint and all information obtained pursuant
   95  to the subsequent investigation must remain confidential and
   96  exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
   97  Constitution as provided under s. 119.071(2)(k), until such time
   98  as the employing agency makes a final determination as to
   99  whether to issue a notice of disciplinary action that consists
  100  of suspension with loss of pay, demotion, or dismissal.
  101         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.