Florida Senate - 2019                       CS for CS for SB 494
       By the Committees on Rules; and Governmental Oversight and
       Accountability; and Senators Hooper and Broxson
       595-03328-19                                           2019494c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Firefighters’ Bill of Rights;
    3         amending s. 112.81, F.S.; revising definitions;
    4         amending s. 112.82, F.S.; requiring that witnesses be
    5         interviewed and certain information be provided to a
    6         firefighter subjected to interrogation before the
    7         interrogation is conducted; authorizing a firefighter
    8         to provide a voluntary statement at any time after
    9         being informed of a certain right; prohibiting a
   10         firefighter from being threatened with certain
   11         disciplinary action during the course of an
   12         interrogation; requiring that a copy of the
   13         interrogation be provided to a firefighter within a
   14         specified timeframe, upon request; creating s.
   15         112.825, F.S.; requiring that a firefighter be
   16         notified and provided certain information before
   17         certain disciplinary actions are taken; requiring that
   18         a firefighter be given the opportunity to address
   19         certain findings; requiring that certain information
   20         be kept confidential and exempt in accordance with
   21         existing law; providing an effective date.
   23  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   25         Section 1. Subsections (3) and (6) of section 112.81,
   26  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   27         112.81 Definitions.—As used in this part:
   28         (3) “Informal inquiry” means a meeting by supervisory or
   29  management personnel with a firefighter about whom an allegation
   30  of misconduct has come to the attention of such supervisory or
   31  management personnel, the purpose of which meeting is to mediate
   32  a complaint or discuss the facts to determine whether a formal
   33  investigation should be commenced. The term does not include
   34  discussions such as safety sessions, normal operational fire
   35  debriefings, and routine work-related discussions.
   36         (6) “Interrogation” means the questioning of a firefighter
   37  by an employing agency in connection with a formal investigation
   38  or an administrative proceeding but does shall not include
   39  arbitration or civil service proceedings. Questioning pursuant
   40  to an informal inquiry is considered shall not be deemed to be
   41  an interrogation for purposes of this part.
   42         Section 2. Subsections (2), (6), (7), and (9) of section
   43  112.82, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   44         112.82 Rights of firefighters.—Whenever a firefighter is
   45  subjected to an interrogation, such interrogation shall be
   46  conducted pursuant to the terms of this section.
   47         (2) A No firefighter may not shall be subjected to
   48  interrogation without first receiving written notice in of
   49  sufficient detail of the investigation in order to reasonably
   50  apprise the firefighter of the nature of the investigation. The
   51  firefighter must shall be informed beforehand of the names of
   52  all complainants. All identifiable witnesses must be interviewed
   53  before the beginning of the interrogation of the firefighter,
   54  when possible. The complaint, all witness statements, and all
   55  other existing evidence, including, but not limited to, incident
   56  reports, GPS locator information, and audio or video recordings
   57  relating to the incident under investigation, must be provided
   58  to each firefighter who is the subject of the complaint before
   59  he or she is interrogated. A firefighter may waive the rights
   60  provided under this section and provide a voluntary statement at
   61  any time after being informed of his or her right to review
   62  witness statements.
   63         (6) The firefighter being interrogated may shall not be
   64  subjected to offensive language; threatened with transfer,
   65  dismissal, or disciplinary action; or offered any incentive as
   66  an inducement to answer any questions.
   67         (7) A complete record of any interrogation must shall be
   68  made., Such record may be electronically recorded. and If a
   69  transcript of the such interrogation is made, the firefighter
   70  under investigation must receive a copy, upon request, without
   71  charge. If the firefighter requests a copy of the transcript, it
   72  must be provided within 72 hours, excluding weekends and
   73  holidays, after the interrogation shall be entitled to a copy
   74  without charge. Such record may be electronically recorded.
   75         (9) A No firefighter may not shall be discharged,
   76  disciplined, demoted, denied promotion or seniority,
   77  transferred, reassigned, or otherwise disciplined or
   78  discriminated against in regard to his or her employment, or be
   79  threatened with any such treatment as retaliation for or by
   80  reason solely of his or her exercise of any of the rights
   81  granted or protected by this part.
   82         Section 3. Section 112.825, Florida Statutes, is created to
   83  read:
   84         112.825Notice of disciplinary action.—
   85         (1)A dismissal, demotion, transfer, reassignment, or other
   86  disciplinary action that might result in loss of pay or benefits
   87  or that might otherwise be considered a punitive measure may not
   88  be taken against a firefighter unless the firefighter is
   89  notified of the action and the reason for the action before the
   90  effective date of the action.
   91         (2)A firefighter who is subject to disciplinary action
   92  that consists of suspension with loss of pay, demotion, or
   93  dismissal, or his or her representative, must, upon request, be
   94  given a complete copy of the investigative file, including the
   95  final investigative report and all evidence, by the employing
   96  agency. The firefighter must be given the opportunity to address
   97  the findings in the final investigative report with the
   98  employing agency before such disciplinary action is taken. The
   99  contents of the complaint and all information obtained pursuant
  100  to the subsequent investigation must remain confidential and
  101  exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
  102  Constitution as provided under s. 119.071(2)(k).
  103         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.