Florida Senate - 2022                                     SB 226
       By Senator Powell
       30-00301-22                                            2022226__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to care for retired law enforcement
    3         dogs; providing a short title; creating s. 943.69,
    4         F.S.; providing legislative findings; providing
    5         definitions; creating the Care for Retired Law
    6         Enforcement Dogs Program within the Department of Law
    7         Enforcement; requiring the department to contract with
    8         a nonprofit corporation to administer and manage the
    9         program; specifying requirements for the nonprofit
   10         corporation; specifying requirements for the
   11         disbursement of funds for the veterinary care of
   12         eligible retired law enforcement dogs; limiting annual
   13         funding available for an eligible dog; prohibiting the
   14         accumulation of unused funds from a current year for
   15         use in a future year; prohibiting reimbursement in
   16         certain circumstances; providing for use of
   17         appropriated funds for administrative expenses;
   18         requiring the department to adopt rules; providing an
   19         appropriation; providing an effective date.
   21  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   23         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Care for Retired
   24  Law Enforcement Dogs Program Act.”
   25         Section 2. Section 943.69, Florida Statutes, is created to
   26  read:
   27         943.69Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program.—
   28         (1)LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that:
   29         (a)Law enforcement dogs are an integral part of many law
   30  enforcement efforts statewide, including the apprehension of
   31  suspects through tracking and searching, evidence location, drug
   32  and bomb detection, and search and rescue operations.
   33         (b)Law enforcement agencies agree that the use of law
   34  enforcement dogs is an extremely cost-effective means of crime
   35  control and that these dogs possess skills and abilities that
   36  frequently exceed those of existing technology.
   37         (c)The service of law enforcement dogs is often dangerous
   38  and can expose them to injury at a rate higher than that of
   39  nonservice dogs.
   40         (d)Law enforcement dogs provide significant contributions
   41  to the residents of this state.
   42         (2)DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   43         (a)“Law enforcement agency” means a lawfully established
   44  state or local public agency having primary responsibility for
   45  the prevention and detection of crime or the enforcement of
   46  penal, traffic, highway, regulatory, game, immigration, postal,
   47  customs, or controlled substance laws.
   48         (b)“Retired law enforcement dog” means a dog that was
   49  previously in the service of or employed by a law enforcement
   50  agency in this state for the principal purpose of aiding in the
   51  detection of criminal activity, enforcement of laws, or
   52  apprehension of offenders and that received certification in
   53  obedience and apprehension work from a certifying organization,
   54  such as the National Police Canine Association, Inc., or other
   55  certifying organization.
   56         (c)“Veterinarian” has the same meaning as in s. 474.202.
   57         (d)“Veterinary care” means the practice, by a
   58  veterinarian, of veterinary medicine as defined in s. 474.202.
   59  The term includes annual wellness examinations, vaccinations,
   60  internal and external parasite prevention treatments, testing
   61  and treatment of illnesses and diseases, medications, emergency
   62  care and surgeries, veterinary oncology or other specialty care,
   63  euthanasia, and cremation.
   64         (3)ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.—The Care for Retired Law
   65  Enforcement Dogs Program is created within the department to
   66  provide a stable funding source for the veterinary care for
   67  retired law enforcement dogs.
   68         (4)ADMINISTRATION.—The department shall contract with a
   69  nonprofit corporation organized under chapter 617 to administer
   70  and manage the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program.
   71  Notwithstanding chapter 287, the department shall select the
   72  nonprofit corporation through a competitive grant award process.
   73  The nonprofit corporation must meet all of the following
   74  criteria:
   75         (a)Be dedicated to the protection or care of retired law
   76  enforcement dogs.
   77         (b)Be exempt from taxation under s. 501(a) of the Internal
   78  Revenue Code as an organization described in s. 501(c)(3) of
   79  that code.
   80         (c)Have maintained such tax-exempt status for at least 5
   81  years.
   82         (d)Agree to be subject to review and audit at the
   83  discretion of the Auditor General in order to ensure accurate
   84  accounting and disbursement of state funds.
   85         (e)Demonstrate the ability to effectively and efficiently
   86  disseminate information and to assist former handlers and
   87  adopters of retired law enforcement dogs in complying with this
   88  section.
   89         (5)FUNDING.—
   90         (a)The nonprofit corporation shall be the disbursing
   91  authority for funds the Legislature appropriates to the
   92  department for the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs
   93  Program. These funds must be disbursed to the former handler or
   94  the adopter of a retired law enforcement dog that served for 5
   95  years or more as a law enforcement dog upon receipt of:
   96         1.Valid documentation from the law enforcement agency from
   97  which the dog retired which verifies that the dog was in the
   98  service of or employed by that agency; and
   99         a.That the dog served 5 years or more with that agency; or
  100         b.Documentation showing that the dog served a total of 5
  101  years or more with two or more law enforcement agencies; and
  102         2.A valid invoice from a veterinarian for veterinary care
  103  provided in this state to a retired law enforcement dog and
  104  documentation establishing payment of the invoice by the former
  105  handler or the adopter of the retired law enforcement dog.
  106         (b)Annual disbursements to a former handler or an adopter
  107  to reimburse him or her for the cost of the retired law
  108  enforcement dog’s veterinary care may not exceed $1,500 per dog.
  109  A former handler or an adopter of a retired law enforcement dog
  110  may not accumulate unused funds from a current year for use in a
  111  future year.
  112         (c)A former handler or an adopter of a retired law
  113  enforcement dog who seeks reimbursement for veterinary care may
  114  not receive reimbursement if funds appropriated for the Care for
  115  Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program are depleted in the year
  116  for which the reimbursement is sought.
  117         (6)ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES.—The department shall pay to
  118  the nonprofit corporation, and the nonprofit corporation may
  119  use, up to 10 percent of appropriated funds for its
  120  administrative expenses, including salaries and benefits.
  121         (7)RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt rules to
  122  implement this section.
  123         Section 3. For the 2022-2023 fiscal year, and each fiscal
  124  year thereafter, the sum of $300,000 in recurring funds is
  125  appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of
  126  Law Enforcement for the purpose of implementing and
  127  administering the Care for Retired Law Enforcement Dogs Program.
  128         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.