Florida Senate - 2020 SB 1202 By Senator Powell 30-00151-20 20201202__ 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 nonprofit 8 corporation to administer and manage the program; 9 providing requirements for the corporation not for 10 profit; providing requirements for the disbursement of 11 funds for the veterinary care of eligible retired law 12 enforcement dogs; placing an annual cap on the amount 13 of funds available for the care of an eligible retired 14 law enforcement dog; prohibiting a former handler or 15 adopter from accumulating unused funds from a current 16 year for use in a future year; prohibiting a former 17 handler or adopter from receiving reimbursement if 18 funds are depleted for the year for which the 19 reimbursement is sought; requiring the department to 20 pay to the nonprofit corporation, and authorizing the 21 nonprofit corporation to use, up to a certain 22 percentage of appropriated funds for administrative 23 purposes; requiring the department to adopt rules; 24 providing an appropriation; providing an effective 25 date. 26 27 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 28 29 Section 1. Section 943.69, Florida Statutes, is created to 30 read: 31 943.69 Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program.— 32 (1) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Care for 33 Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program Act.” 34 (2) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that: 35 (a) Law enforcement dogs are an integral part of many law 36 enforcement efforts statewide, including the apprehension of 37 suspects through tracking and searching, evidence location, drug 38 and bomb detection, and search and rescue operations; 39 (b) Law enforcement agencies agree that the use of law 40 enforcement dogs is an extremely cost-effective means of crime 41 control and that these dogs possess skills and abilities that 42 frequently exceed those of existing technology; 43 (c) The service of law enforcement dogs is often dangerous 44 and can expose them to injury at a rate higher than that of 45 nonservice dogs; and 46 (d) Law enforcement dogs provide significant contributions 47 to the residents of this state. 48 (3) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 49 (a) “Law enforcement agency” means a lawfully established 50 state or local public agency having primary responsibility for 51 the prevention and detection of crime or the enforcement of 52 penal, traffic, highway, regulatory, game, immigration, postal, 53 customs, or controlled substance laws. 54 (b) “Retired law enforcement dog” means a dog that was 55 previously in the service of or employed by a law enforcement 56 agency in this state for the principal purpose of aiding in the 57 detection of criminal activity, enforcement of laws, or 58 apprehension of offenders and that received certification in 59 obedience and apprehension work from a certifying organization, 60 such as the National Police Canine Association, Inc., or other 61 certifying organization. 62 (c) “Veterinarian” has the same meaning as provided in s. 63 474.202. 64 (d) “Veterinary care” means the practice, by a 65 veterinarian, of veterinary medicine as defined in s. 474.202. 66 The term includes annual wellness examinations, vaccinations, 67 internal and external parasite prevention treatments, testing 68 and treatment of illnesses and diseases, medications, emergency 69 care and surgeries, veterinary oncology or other specialty care, 70 euthanasia, and cremation. 71 (4) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.—The Care for Retired Law 72 Enforcement Dogs Program is created within the department to 73 provide a stable funding source for the veterinary care these 74 dogs receive. 75 (5) ADMINISTRATION.—The department shall contract with a 76 nonprofit corporation organized under chapter 617 to administer 77 and manage the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program. 78 Notwithstanding chapter 287, the department shall select the 79 nonprofit corporation through a competitive grant award process. 80 The nonprofit corporation must meet all of the following 81 criteria: 82 (a) Be dedicated to the protection or care of retired law 83 enforcement dogs. 84 (b) Be exempt from taxation under s. 501(a) of the Internal 85 Revenue Code as an organization described in s. 501(c)(3) of 86 that code. 87 (c) Have maintained such tax-exempt status for at least 5 88 years. 89 (d) Agree to be subject to review and audit at the 90 discretion of the Auditor General in order to ensure accurate 91 accounting and disbursement of state funds. 92 (e) Demonstrate the ability to effectively and efficiently 93 disseminate information and to assist former handlers and 94 adopters of retired law enforcement dogs in complying with this 95 section. 96 (6) FUNDING.— 97 (a) The nonprofit corporation shall be the disbursing 98 authority for funds the Legislature appropriates to the 99 department for the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs 100 Program. These funds must be disbursed to the former handler or 101 adopter of a retired law enforcement dog upon receipt of: 102 1. Valid documentation from the law enforcement agency from 103 which the dog retired which verifies that the dog was in the 104 service of or employed by that agency; and 105 2. A valid invoice from a veterinarian for veterinary care 106 provided in this state to a retired law enforcement dog and 107 documentation establishing payment of the invoice by the former 108 handler or adopter of a retired law enforcement dog. 109 (b) Annual disbursements to a former handler or adopter to 110 reimburse him or her for the cost of the retired law enforcement 111 dog’s veterinary care may not exceed $1,500 per dog. A former 112 handler or adopter of a retired law enforcement dog may not 113 accumulate unused funds from a current year for use in a future 114 year. 115 (c) A former handler or adopter of a retired law 116 enforcement dog who seeks reimbursement for veterinary care may 117 not receive reimbursement if funds appropriated for the Care for 118 Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program are depleted in the year 119 for which the reimbursement is sought. 120 (7) ADMINISTRATIVE FEES.—The department shall pay to the 121 nonprofit corporation, and the nonprofit corporation may use, up 122 to 10 percent of appropriated funds for its administrative 123 expenses, including salaries and benefits. 124 (8) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.—The department shall adopt rules 125 pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section. 126 Section 2. For the 2020-2021 fiscal year, and each fiscal 127 year thereafter, the sum of $300,000 in recurring funds is 128 appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of 129 Law Enforcement for the purpose of implementing and 130 administering the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program. 131 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.