December 07, 2019
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       Florida Senate - 2010                                     SB 612
       
       
       
       By Senator Baker
       
       
       
       
       20-00460B-10                                           2010612__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to Special Risk Class retirement;
    3         amending s. 121.091, F.S.; prohibiting certain members
    4         of the Special Risk Class from being reemployed or
    5         contracting with the same employer from which the
    6         member retired; extending the period of time during
    7         which certain Special Risk Class members may
    8         participate in the Florida Retirement System Deferred
    9         Retirement Option Program; providing legislative
   10         findings with respect to the state’s interest in
   11         protecting the public’s safety and welfare by
   12         extending retirement benefits for officers and funding
   13         increased retirement benefits in an actuarially sound
   14         manner; providing an effective date.
   15  
   16         WHEREAS, one of the most fundamental mechanisms for
   17  ensuring the safety and welfare of the public is through the
   18  state’s law enforcement agencies and correctional institutions,
   19  and
   20         WHEREAS, law enforcement agencies and correctional
   21  institutions throughout this state and the nation are
   22  experiencing great difficulty in recruiting and retaining well
   23  qualified law enforcement and correctional officers, and
   24         WHEREAS, this need is projected to become more critical in
   25  the future, and
   26         WHEREAS, the most critical need is to recruit and retain
   27  line officers who have daily and direct contact with the
   28  criminal element, and
   29         WHEREAS, because such work is physically demanding or
   30  arduous and often requires extraordinary agility and mental
   31  acuity that can diminish with age, persons employed in these
   32  positions are classified as special risk and able to retire at
   33  an earlier age, and
   34         WHEREAS, one mechanism for retaining qualified officers is
   35  to extend the amount of time that such officers can remain in
   36  the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), NOW, THEREFORE,
   37  
   38  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   39  
   40         Section 1. Present paragraph (e) of subsection (9) of
   41  section 121.091, Florida Statutes, is redesignated as paragraph
   42  (f), a new paragraph (e) is added to that subsection, and
   43  paragraph (b) of subsection (13) of that section is amended, to
   44  read:
   45         121.091 Benefits payable under the system.—Benefits may not
   46  be paid under this section unless the member has terminated
   47  employment as provided in s. 121.021(39)(a) or begun
   48  participation in the Deferred Retirement Option Program as
   49  provided in subsection (13), and a proper application has been
   50  filed in the manner prescribed by the department. The department
   51  may cancel an application for retirement benefits when the
   52  member or beneficiary fails to timely provide the information
   53  and documents required by this chapter and the department’s
   54  rules. The department shall adopt rules establishing procedures
   55  for application for retirement benefits and for the cancellation
   56  of such application when the required information or documents
   57  are not received.
   58         (9) EMPLOYMENT AFTER RETIREMENT; LIMITATION.—
   59         (e)A member who is employed as a law enforcement officer,
   60  correctional officer, or community-based correctional probation
   61  officer, as described in s. 121.0515(2); who has a rank or the
   62  equivalent rank of captain or below at the beginning of
   63  participation in DROP; and who participates in DROP for an
   64  additional 36 months beyond the 60-month period, at the
   65  conclusion of his or her participation in DROP, may not be
   66  employed, reemployed, or retained in a contractual capacity by
   67  the same employer from which the member retired or from which
   68  the member terminated DROP participation, except that the
   69  retiree may be retained by the employer as a part-time or
   70  auxiliary law enforcement officer, as those terms are defined in
   71  s. 943.10, if the retiree is serving on a voluntary basis and
   72  receives no more than $1 per calendar year for services rendered
   73  directly for the employer. A retiree who is reemployed or
   74  retained in a contractual capacity in violation of this
   75  paragraph voids his or her application for retirement benefits.
   76  A retiree who violates this paragraph and an employer who
   77  employs or contracts with such person in violation of this
   78  paragraph is jointly and severally liable for reimbursement to
   79  the retirement trust fund, including the Florida Retirement
   80  System Trust Fund and the Public Employee Optional Retirement
   81  Program Trust Fund, from which the benefits were paid. This
   82  paragraph does not apply to a retiree who is elected to an
   83  office or appointed to an office by the Governor or by the
   84  Governor and Cabinet.
   85         (13) DEFERRED RETIREMENT OPTION PROGRAM.—In general, and
   86  subject to this section, the Deferred Retirement Option Program,
   87  hereinafter referred to as DROP, is a program under which an
   88  eligible member of the Florida Retirement System may elect to
   89  participate, deferring receipt of retirement benefits while
   90  continuing employment with his or her Florida Retirement System
   91  employer. The deferred monthly benefits shall accrue in the
   92  Florida Retirement System on behalf of the participant, plus
   93  interest compounded monthly, for the specified period of the
   94  DROP participation, as provided in paragraph (c). Upon
   95  termination of employment, the participant shall receive the
   96  total DROP benefits and begin to receive the previously
   97  determined normal retirement benefits. Participation in the DROP
   98  does not guarantee employment for the specified period of DROP.
   99  Participation in DROP by an eligible member beyond the initial
  100  60-month period as authorized in this subsection shall be on an
  101  annual contractual basis for all participants.
  102         (b) Participation in DROP.—
  103         1. An eligible member may elect to participate in DROP for
  104  a period not to exceed a maximum of 60 calendar months.
  105  However:,
  106         a. Members who are instructional personnel employed by the
  107  Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and authorized by the
  108  Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the
  109  Blind, who are instructional personnel as defined in s.
  110  1012.01(2)(a)-(d) in grades K-12 and authorized by the district
  111  school superintendent, or who are instructional personnel as
  112  defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a) employed by a developmental research
  113  school and authorized by the school’s director, or if the school
  114  has no director, by the school’s principal, may participate in
  115  DROP for up to 36 calendar months beyond the 60-month period.
  116         b.Members who are employed as law enforcement officers,
  117  correctional officers, or community-based correctional probation
  118  officers, as described in s. 121.0515(2), and who have a rank or
  119  equivalent rank of captain or below at the beginning of
  120  participation in DROP, may participate in DROP for up to 36
  121  months beyond the 60-month period.
  122         2. Upon deciding to participate in DROP, the member shall
  123  submit, on forms required by the division:
  124         a. A written election to participate in DROP;
  125         b. Selection of DROP participation and termination dates
  126  that satisfy the limitations stated in paragraph (a) and
  127  subparagraph 1. The termination date must be in a binding letter
  128  of resignation to the employer establishing a deferred
  129  termination date. The member may change the termination date
  130  within the limitations of subparagraph 1., but only with the
  131  written approval of the employer;
  132         c. A properly completed DROP application for service
  133  retirement as provided in this section; and
  134         d. Any other information required by the division.
  135         3. The DROP participant is a retiree under the Florida
  136  Retirement System for all purposes, except for paragraph (5)(f)
  137  and subsection (9) and ss. 112.3173, 112.363, 121.053, and
  138  121.122. DROP participation is final and may not be canceled by
  139  the participant after the first payment is credited during the
  140  DROP participation period. However, participation in DROP does
  141  not alter the participant’s employment status, and the member is
  142  not deemed retired from employment until his or her deferred
  143  resignation is effective and termination occurs as defined in s.
  144  121.021.
  145         4. Elected officers are eligible to participate in DROP
  146  subject to the following:
  147         a. An elected officer who reaches normal retirement date
  148  during a term of office may defer the election to participate
  149  until the next succeeding term in that office. An elected
  150  officer who exercises this option may participate in DROP for up
  151  to 60 calendar months or no longer than the succeeding term of
  152  office, whichever is less.
  153         b. An elected or a nonelected participant may run for a
  154  term of office while participating in DROP and, if elected,
  155  extend the DROP termination date accordingly; however, if the
  156  such additional term of office exceeds the 60-month limitation
  157  established in subparagraph 1., and the officer does not resign
  158  from office within the such 60-month limitation, the retirement
  159  and the participant’s DROP is null and void as provided in sub
  160  subparagraph (c)5.d.
  161         c. An elected officer who is dually employed and elects to
  162  participate in DROP must terminate all employment relationships
  163  as provided in s. 121.021(39) for the nonelected position within
  164  the original 60-month period or maximum participation period as
  165  provided in subparagraph 1. For DROP participation ending:
  166         (I) Before July 1, 2010, the officer may continue
  167  employment as an elected officer as provided in s. 121.053. The
  168  elected officer shall be enrolled as a renewed member in the
  169  Elected Officers’ Class or the Regular Class, as provided in ss.
  170  121.053 and 121.122, on the first day of the month after
  171  termination of employment in the nonelected position and
  172  termination of DROP. Distribution of the DROP benefits shall be
  173  made as provided in paragraph (c).
  174         (II) On or after July 1, 2010, the officer may continue
  175  employment as an elected officer but must defer termination as
  176  provided in s. 121.053.
  177         Section 2. The Legislature finds and declares that ensuring
  178  the availability of experienced law enforcement, correctional,
  179  and probation officers to protect the safety and welfare of the
  180  public is an important state interest. Providing such officers
  181  who are members of the Florida Retirement System with an
  182  opportunity to extend their employment as law enforcement
  183  officers, correctional officers, or probation officers by
  184  increasing the maximum participation period in the Deferred
  185  Retirement Option Program will help serve that interest. Funding
  186  for such retirement benefits must be made, administered, and
  187  funded in an actuarially sound manner as required by s. 14,
  188  Article X of the State Constitution and part VII of chapter 112,
  189  Florida Statutes.
  190         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

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