Florida Senate - 2021                                     SB 970
       By Senator Hooper
       16-01012A-21                                           2021970__
    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.; expanding the rights of
    5         firefighters to include informal inquiries;
    6         prohibiting firefighters from being threatened with
    7         transfer, dismissal, or disciplinary action during an
    8         interrogation; providing an effective date.
   10  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   12         Section 1. Subsections (3) and (4) of section 112.81,
   13  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   14         112.81 Definitions.—As used in this part:
   15         (3) “Informal inquiry” means a meeting by supervisory or
   16  management personnel with a firefighter about whom an allegation
   17  of misconduct has come to the attention of such supervisory or
   18  management personnel, the purpose of which meeting is to mediate
   19  the a complaint or discuss the facts to determine whether a
   20  formal investigation should commence be commenced. The term does
   21  not include discussions such as safety sessions, normal
   22  operational fire debriefings, or routine work-related
   23  discussions.
   24         (4) “Formal investigation” means the process of
   25  investigation ordered by supervisory or management personnel to
   26  determine whether a, after the supervisory personnel have
   27  previously determined that the firefighter must shall be
   28  disciplined, reprimanded, suspended, or removed, during which
   29  the questioning of the a firefighter is conducted for the
   30  purpose of gathering evidence of misconduct.
   31         Section 2. Section 112.82, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   32  read:
   33         112.82 Rights of firefighters.—Whenever a firefighter is
   34  subjected to an interrogation or an informal inquiry, such
   35  process must interrogation shall be conducted in accordance with
   36  pursuant to the terms of this section.
   37         (1) The interrogation must shall take place at the facility
   38  where the investigating officer is assigned, or at the facility
   39  that which has jurisdiction over the place where the incident
   40  under investigation allegedly occurred, as designated by the
   41  investigating officer.
   42         (2) A No firefighter may not shall be subjected to
   43  interrogation without first receiving written notice of
   44  sufficient detail of the investigation in order to reasonably
   45  apprise the firefighter of the nature of the investigation. The
   46  firefighter shall be informed beforehand of the names of all
   47  complainants.
   48         (3) All interrogations and informal inquiries must shall be
   49  conducted at a reasonable time of day, preferably when the
   50  firefighter is on duty, unless the importance of the
   51  interrogation or investigation is of such a nature that
   52  immediate action is required.
   53         (4) The firefighter under investigation shall be informed
   54  of the name, rank, and unit or command of the officer in charge
   55  of the investigation, the interrogators, and all persons present
   56  during any interrogation.
   57         (5) Interrogation and informal inquiry sessions shall be of
   58  reasonable duration and the firefighter shall be permitted
   59  reasonable periods for rest and personal necessities.
   60         (6) The firefighter being interrogated may shall not be
   61  subjected to offensive language; threatened with transfer,
   62  dismissal, or disciplinary action; or offered any incentive as
   63  an inducement to answer any questions.
   64         (7) A complete record of any interrogation shall be made,
   65  and if a transcript of such interrogation is made, the
   66  firefighter under investigation shall be entitled to a copy
   67  without charge. Such record may be electronically recorded.
   68         (8) An employee or officer of an employing agency may
   69  represent the agency, and an employee organization may represent
   70  any member of a bargaining unit desiring such representation and
   71  be present in any proceeding to which this part applies. If a
   72  collective bargaining agreement provides for the presence of a
   73  representative of the collective bargaining unit during informal
   74  inquiries, or formal investigations or interrogations, such
   75  representative shall be allowed to be present.
   76         (9)  A No firefighter may not shall be discharged,
   77  disciplined, demoted, denied promotion or seniority,
   78  transferred, reassigned, or otherwise disciplined or
   79  discriminated against in regard to his or her employment, or be
   80  threatened with any such treatment as retaliation for or by
   81  reason solely of his or her exercise of any of the rights
   82  granted or protected by this part.
   83         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.