Florida Senate - 2019                                     SB 976
       By Senator Powell
       30-01052-19                                            2019976__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to care for retired law enforcement
    3         dogs; creating s. 943.69, F.S.; providing a short
    4         title; providing legislative findings; defining terms;
    5         creating the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs
    6         Program within the Department of Law Enforcement;
    7         requiring the department to contract with a
    8         corporation not for profit to administer and manage
    9         the program; providing requirements for the
   10         corporation not for profit; providing requirements for
   11         the disbursement of funds for the veterinary care of
   12         eligible retired law enforcement dogs; placing an
   13         annual cap on the amount of funds available for the
   14         care of an eligible retired law enforcement dog;
   15         prohibiting a former handler or adopter from
   16         accumulating unused funds from a current year for use
   17         in a future year; prohibiting a former handler or
   18         adopter from receiving reimbursement if funds are
   19         depleted for the year for which such reimbursement is
   20         sought; requiring the department to pay to the
   21         corporation not for profit, and authorizing the
   22         corporation not for profit to use, up to a certain
   23         percentage of appropriated funds for administrative
   24         purposes; requiring the department to adopt rules;
   25         providing an appropriation; providing an effective
   26         date.
   28  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   30         Section 1. Section 943.69, Florida Statutes, is created to
   31  read:
   32         943.69 Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program.—
   33         (1) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Care for
   34  Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program Act.”
   35         (2) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that:
   36         (a) Law enforcement dogs have become an integral part of
   37  many law enforcement efforts statewide, including the
   38  apprehension of suspects through tracking and searching,
   39  evidence location, drug and bomb detection, and search and
   40  rescue operations;
   41         (b) Law enforcement agencies agree that the use of law
   42  enforcement dogs is an extremely cost-effective means of crime
   43  control and that these dogs possess skills and abilities that
   44  frequently exceed those of existing technology;
   45         (c) The service of law enforcement dogs is often dangerous
   46  and can expose them to injury at a rate higher than that of
   47  nonservice dogs; and
   48         (d) Law enforcement dogs provide significant contributions
   49  to the residents of this state.
   50         (3) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   51         (a) “Law enforcement agency” means a lawfully established
   52  state or local public agency having primary responsibility for
   53  the prevention and detection of crime or the enforcement of the
   54  penal, traffic, highway, regulatory, game, immigration, postal,
   55  customs, or controlled substance laws.
   56         (b) “Retired law enforcement dog” means a dog that was
   57  previously in the service of or employed by a law enforcement
   58  agency in this state for the principal purpose of aiding in the
   59  detection of criminal activity, enforcement of laws, or
   60  apprehension of offenders and that received certification in
   61  obedience and apprehension work from a certifying organization
   62  such as the National Police Canine Association, Inc., or other
   63  certifying organization.
   64         (c) “Veterinarian” has the same meaning as provided in s.
   65  474.202.
   66         (d) “Veterinary care” means the practice of veterinary
   67  medicine as defined in s. 474.202 by a veterinarian. The term
   68  includes annual wellness examinations, vaccinations, internal
   69  and external parasite prevention treatments, testing and
   70  treatment of illnesses and diseases, medications, emergency care
   71  and surgeries, specialty care such as veterinary oncology,
   72  euthanasia, and cremation.
   73         (4) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.—The Care for Retired Law
   74  Enforcement Dogs Program is created within the department to
   75  provide a stable funding source for veterinary care that is
   76  provided to these dogs.
   77         (5) ADMINISTRATION.—The department shall contract with a
   78  corporation not for profit organized under chapter 617 to
   79  administer and manage the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs
   80  Program. Notwithstanding chapter 287, the department shall
   81  select the corporation not for profit through a competitive
   82  grant award process. The corporation not for profit must meet
   83  all of the following criteria:
   84         (a) Be dedicated to the protection or care of retired law
   85  enforcement dogs.
   86         (b) Be exempt from taxation under s. 501(a) of the Internal
   87  Revenue Code as an organization described in s. 501(c)(3) of
   88  that code.
   89         (c) Have maintained such tax-exempt status for at least 5
   90  years.
   91         (d) Agree to be subject to review and audit at the
   92  discretion of the Auditor General in order to ensure accurate
   93  accounting and disbursement of state funds.
   94         (e) Demonstrate the ability to effectively and efficiently
   95  disseminate information and to assist former handlers and
   96  adopters of retired law enforcement dogs in complying with this
   97  section.
   98         (6) FUNDING.—
   99         (a) The corporation not for profit shall be the disbursing
  100  authority for funds appropriated by the Legislature to the
  101  department for the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs
  102  Program. These funds must be disbursed to the former handler or
  103  adopter of a retired law enforcement dog upon receipt of:
  104         1. Valid documentation from the law enforcement agency from
  105  which the dog retired which verifies that the dog was in the
  106  service of or employed by such agency; and
  107         2. A valid invoice from a veterinarian for veterinary care
  108  provided in this state to a retired law enforcement dog and
  109  documentation establishing payment of the invoice by the former
  110  handler or adopter of a retired law enforcement dog.
  111         (b) Annual disbursements to a former handler or adopter to
  112  reimburse him or her for the cost of veterinary care provided to
  113  a retired law enforcement dog may not exceed $1,500 per dog. A
  114  former handler or adopter of a retired law enforcement dog may
  115  not accumulate unused funds from a current year for use in a
  116  future year.
  117         (c) A former handler or adopter of a retired law
  118  enforcement dog who seeks reimbursement for veterinary care may
  119  not receive reimbursement if funds appropriated for the Care for
  120  Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program are depleted in the year
  121  for which the reimbursement is sought.
  122         (7) ADMINISTRATIVE FEES.—The department shall pay to the
  123  corporation not for profit, and the corporation not for profit
  124  may use, up to 10 percent of appropriated funds for its
  125  administrative expenses, including salaries and benefits.
  126         (8) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.—The department shall adopt rules
  127  pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section.
  128         Section 2. For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, and each fiscal
  129  year thereafter, the sum of $300,000 in recurring funds is
  130  appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of
  131  Law Enforcement for the purpose of implementing and
  132  administering the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program.
  133         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.