State-by-State 2011 Legislative Year in Review: Florida

New laws affecting the courts enacted by the Florida legislature in 2011, plus a constitutional amendment to appear on the 2012 ballot, include the following:

HJR 7111 (Constitutional Amendment)

  • Selection: Retains judicial nomination commissions but requires for Supreme Court justices only nominees selected by the governor be subject to senate confirmation.
  • Rule Making: Allows legislature able to repeal any rule adopted by the Supreme Court by a majority vote (currently, requires two-thirds of legislature). Allows court to readopt the rule, so long as it was in conformance with the expressed policy expressed in the repeal bill or resolution. Provides if rule is repealed a second time, the Supreme Court could not readopt it without legislative permission.
  • Other: Removes the power of the Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal to name its Clerks and Marshals. Removes the Governor’s power to ask the judicial qualifications commission for all information investigations/complaints against judges. Provides commission would still be obligated to turn such information over, on request, to the House of Representatives. Provides all information so turned over would remain confidential during any investigation and until such information is used in the pursuit of any impeachment.

HB 19 Authorizes each county commissioner, circuit court clerk, county comptroller, sheriff, supervisor of elections, property appraiser, & tax collector to reduce his or her salary on voluntary basis.

HB 563 Requires Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers, subject to available funding, develop an automated process by which a petitioner may request notification that a respondent has been served with a protective injunction against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, or sexual violence.

HB 849 Repeals requirement state court buildings meet certain named energy efficiency and sustainable materials rating standards. Requires state court buildings “comply with a sustainable building rating system or a national model green building code.”

HB 4067 Repeals requirement that the clerk of the circuit court, or a deputy, shall reside at the county seat or within 2 miles thereof

HB 5405 Redirect moneys generated from filing fees from the state courts’™ Mediation and Arbitration Trust Fund to the State Courts Revenue Trust Fund. Provides moneys credited to the trust fund include fees for trial and appellate proceedings, filing fees from any civil action, suit, or proceeding in county court, clerk of district court filing fees, and a filing fee of $1 on all proceedings in the circuit or county courts.

SB 170 Requires that each state attorney and public defender implement a system by which the state attorney and public defender can electronically file court documents with the clerk of the court. Requires that the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Florida Public Defender Association report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by a specified date on the progress made in implementing the electronic filing system, etc.

SB 1018 Re-creates the State Courts Revenue Trust Fund within the state courts system without modification. Abrogates provisions relating to the termination of the trust fund to conform.

SB 1314 Requires judicial branch and each state agency provide certain contract information in its Legislative Budget Request when granting a concession contract. Requires judicial branch and state agencies identify the specific appropriation in the contract that will be used to make payment for the first year of the contract with a $5 million threshold, unless the Legislature specifically authorizes otherwise.

SB 2110 Allows Auditor General conduct operational audits of the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation every three years (currently required annually).