Matt Puckett

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A new Florida law requiring autism awareness training for law enforcement officers takes effect Sunday.

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Governor Rick Scott recently signed a bill into law requiring autism awareness training for Florida’s law enforcement officers. But, some may not see the merits of the new law—that gained traction after a high profile incident last year.

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Governor Rick Scott has signed a body-camera related bill into law. But, while it has the support of Florida law enforcement groups, others continue to have reservations.

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A couple of bills moving in the Florida legislature aims to make law enforcement officers’ jobs a bit easier.

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A body cameras bill is starting to move through the House and Senate. But,  some lawmakers want another measure to move forward that mandates officers use the cameras at all traffic stops, citing a high profile South Florida death.

Florida Department of Corrections

Florida’s largest state agency is asking the Governor and the state Legislature for more than $147 million. While Florida Department of Corrections officials say pay increases are among their top legislative priorities, the union that has taken back the bargaining rights for the department’s correctional officers hopes even more money will be forthcoming.

Florida’s correctional officers and probation officers want their old union back. After a recent vote, the Florida Police Benevolent Association won the right to represent the officers.

Starting next month, thousands of Florida’s correctional and probation officers will decide which union they want representing them. The choice is between the Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Teamsters Union.

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Members of the law enforcement community are weighing in on a so-called “Blue Lives Matter Act” that may be filed in the 2017 legislative session. The proposal would expand Florida’s definition of a hate crime to include law enforcement officers and firefighters—similar to a bill filed last year.

Two unions are gearing up to fight over who will represent state correctional and probation officers during the next legislative session.

Florida Channel

A renewed effort in the House to make changes to Florida’s Retirement System is getting some mixed reviews among public employee unions.

Governor Rick Scott recently gave the nod to several priorities of the state’s first responder unions. Now, those unions are speaking out on what they’d like Florida lawmakers to include in the still-to-be-considered state budget.

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Traffic ticket quotas will soon be officially illegal under a bill recently signed into law by Governor Rick Scott. A union representing the state’s police officers says the bill is long overdue.

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While one body cameras-related bill was sent to the Governor, another died amid the budget impasse between the House and Senate. But, the bill’s main sponsor says he’ll be back again next year.

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Pension reform is slated to come up during the 2015 legislative session. So, could this be the year local pension reform actually comes to pass? What about overhauling Florida’s Retirement System that opponents say is already sound? We'll take a look at what stakeholders are hoping for in the New Year.

Robert Weissert is the Chief Research Officer for Florida TaxWatch, a government watchdog group, which recently released its annual cost savings report. One area Weissert says state government could save some money is by overhauling the Florida Retirement System.

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The sponsor of a bill requiring law enforcement across the state to wear police body cameras calls his bill a win-win for everyone. But, at least one group representing thousands of Florida police officers disagrees with the proposed mandate.

Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) filed the bill. Former Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith is set to file the Senate companion.

After the issue died during the 2014 session, should Florida lawmakers revisit a push to make changes to municipal pensions largely affecting police and firefighter unions? A coalition made up of mainly business-backed groups say yes. But, some say while they agree, the recent formation of the coalition pushing for local pension reform is disingenuous.

Bill To Be Filed In 2015

Pelican Post

As Florida lawmakers look to overhaul the state’s retirement system, there are multiple hurdles ahead for the pension reform proposals now before the Senate. The two chambers haven’t agreed on a plan yet, a special exemption is splitting employee unions, and a study with the necessary numbers is not yet complete—pitting some Republicans against one another.

Trilby Republican Senator Wilton Simpson, who’s leading his chamber’s effort, says he’s particularly proud of the “Deferred Compensation” program.

“Failure to follow procedural rules” is what it took for a long-standing battle, over the constitutionality of a prison privatization plan, to come to an end.  That’s what a Florida appellate court stated Tuesday when a rejected a request by Attorney General Pam Bondi to overturn a lower court’s ruling, which blocked the plan.

As a legal battle to privatize South Florida prisons continues, an appeals court, expected to hear oral arguments next month, has pushed the date back. Sascha Cordner has more.

The First District Court of Appeals originally scheduled oral arguments in the prison privatization suit for June 13th. But, the appeals court recently moved the date to June 27th. Matt Puckett with the Florida Police Benevolent Association says the Attorney General’s office asked for the extension: