Bill Text: FL S0824 | 2023 | Regular Session | Comm Sub

Bill Title: Veterans' Services and Recognition

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Introduced) 2023-05-01 - Laid on Table, companion bill(s) passed, see CS/HB 485 (Ch. 2023-162) [S0824 Detail]

Download: Florida-2023-S0824-Comm_Sub.html
       Florida Senate - 2023                              CS for SB 824
       By the Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and
       Domestic Security; and Senator Collins
       583-03301-23                                           2023824c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to veterans’ services and recognition;
    3         amending s. 20.37, F.S.; creating the Division of
    4         Long-term Care within the Department of Veterans’
    5         Affairs; amending s. 292.11, F.S.; revising
    6         qualifications for employment of county and city
    7         veteran service officers; creating part III of ch.
    8         296, F.S.; creating the “Veterans’ Adult Day Health
    9         Care of Florida Act”; providing a purpose and
   10         definitions; providing for the appointment of an
   11         operator; requiring the department to determine
   12         applicant eligibility; requiring the department to
   13         adopt specified rules; specifying the qualifications,
   14         duties, and responsibilities of the operator;
   15         establishing a nondiscrimination policy for the
   16         program; providing for eligibility and priority of
   17         admittance; providing for participants’ contribution
   18         to support; providing for program audits, inspections,
   19         and operational standards; creating s. 683.1475, F.S.;
   20         designating the week of November 11 of each year as
   21         “Veterans Week” in Florida; authorizing the Governor
   22         to issue an annual proclamation; providing an
   23         effective date.
   25  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   27         Section 1. Paragraph (c) is added to subsection (2) of
   28  section 20.37, Florida Statutes, to read:
   29         20.37 Department of Veterans’ Affairs.—There is created a
   30  Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
   31         (2) The following divisions, and bureaus within these
   32  divisions, of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs are
   33  established:
   34         (c)Division of Long-term Care.
   35         Section 2. Subsection (1) of section 292.11, Florida
   36  Statutes, is amended to read:
   37         292.11 County and city veteran service officer.—
   38         (1) Each board of county commissioners or the governing
   39  body of any city may employ a county veteran service officer;
   40  provide office space, clerical assistance, and the necessary
   41  supplies incidental to providing and maintaining a county
   42  service office; and pay related said expenses and salaries from
   43  the moneys hereinafter provided for. The governing body of any
   44  city may employ a city veteran service officer; provide such
   45  office space, clerical assistance, and supplies; and pay
   46  expenses and salaries. A county or city veteran service officer
   47  must be a veteran as defined in s. 1.01(14) who served as a
   48  member of the Armed Forces of the United States during a period
   49  of war, as defined in Title 38, U.S.C.; who served at least 18
   50  months’ active duty in the Armed Forces; and who was separated
   51  from such service under honorable conditions, or the surviving
   52  spouse of any such a veteran and must. Any honorably discharged
   53  wartime veteran who was so discharged for service-connected or
   54  aggravated medical reasons before serving 18 months of active
   55  duty; who completed a tour of duty other than active duty for
   56  training, regardless of the length of the tour; or who satisfied
   57  his or her military obligation in a manner other than active
   58  duty for training or reserve duty shall be eligible for
   59  employment as a county or city veteran service officer. Every
   60  county or city veteran service officer, in order to be eligible
   61  for employment as a county or city veteran service officer,
   62  shall have a 2-year degree from an accredited university,
   63  college, or community college or a high school degree or
   64  equivalency diploma and 4 years of administrative experience.
   65         Section 3. Part III of chapter 296, Florida Statutes,
   66  consisting of sections 296.42 through 296.49, Florida Statutes,
   67  is created to read:
   68                              PART III                             
   70         296.42Short title.—This part may be cited as the
   71  “Veterans’ Adult Day Health Care of Florida Act.”
   72         296.43Purpose.—The purpose of this part is to provide for
   73  the establishment of basic standards for the operation of
   74  veterans’ adult day health care programs for eligible veterans
   75  in need of such services.
   76         296.44Definitions.—As used in this part, the term:
   77         (1)“Contractor” means an entity responsible for the day
   78  to-day operations of an adult day health care facility or adult
   79  day care center as prescribed by 38 C.F.R. s. 59.160 or part III
   80  of chapter 429, respectively. The contractor may be a for-profit
   81  or nonprofit entity that operates the adult day health care
   82  facility or adult day care center under the direction of the
   83  executive director of the department.
   84         (2)“Department” means the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
   85         (3)“Director” means the executive director of the
   86  department.
   87         (4)“Operator” means the person designated to have and who
   88  has the general administrative charge of an adult day health
   89  care facility or adult day care center. The administrator of a
   90  veterans’ nursing home under s. 296.34 or the administrator of
   91  the Veterans’ Domiciliary Home of Florida under s. 296.04 may
   92  serve as the operator if the adult day health care facility or
   93  adult day care center is colocated at an existing veterans’
   94  nursing home or the Veterans’ Domiciliary Home of Florida or is
   95  a freestanding facility.
   96         (5)“Participant” means an eligible veteran recipient of
   97  basic services or of supportive and optional services provided
   98  by an adult day health care facility or adult day care center.
   99         (6)“Program” means a licensed facility operated by the
  100  department under part III of chapter 429.
  101         (7)“Veteran” has the same meaning as in s. 1.01(14).
  102         296.45Operator; qualifications, duties, and
  103  responsibilities.—
  104         (1)The director shall appoint an operator who is
  105  responsible for the overall operation of the program and for the
  106  care of the participant or shall designate a contractor to
  107  perform the same duties.
  108         (2)The department shall determine the eligibility of
  109  applicants for admission to the program in accordance with
  110  provisions of this part and shall adopt rules necessary for the
  111  proper administration of the program, including rules for the
  112  preservation of order and enforcement of discipline in the
  113  program. Rules governing the program must conform as nearly as
  114  possible to the rules and regulations for comparable facilities
  115  of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
  116         (3)The operator position is assigned to the Selected
  117  Exempt Service under part V of chapter 110 unless the operation
  118  of the program is assigned to a contractor. The director must
  119  give veterans preference in selecting an operator as provided in
  120  ss. 295.07 and 295.085 if the operation of the program is not
  121  assigned to a contractor.
  122         (4)Employees who fill authorized and established positions
  123  appropriated for the program must be state employees unless the
  124  operation of the program is assigned to a contractor. The
  125  department shall classify such employees in the manner
  126  prescribed in chapter 110.
  127         (5)The operator shall administer and enforce all rules of
  128  the program, including rules of discipline, and may dismiss a
  129  participant in the program for an infraction of the rules,
  130  subject to the approval of the director.
  131         296.46Nondiscrimination policy of the program.—It is the
  132  policy of the state to admit residents into the program without
  133  regard to race, age, sex, creed, religion, national origin, or
  134  any other reason that would thereby create a practice of
  135  discrimination. However, consideration of an applicant’s veteran
  136  status does not constitute discrimination.
  137         296.47Eligibility and priority of admittance.—
  138         (1)To be eligible for admittance to the program, the
  139  person must be a veteran or have eligible peacetime service as
  140  defined in s. 296.02 and must:
  141         (a)Be in need of adult day health care;
  142         (b)Be a resident of this state at the time of application
  143  for admission to the program;
  144         (c)Not owe money to the department for services rendered
  145  during any previous stay at a department facility;
  146         (d)Have applied for all financial assistance reasonably
  147  available through governmental sources; and
  148         (e)Have been approved as eligible for care and treatment
  149  by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
  150         (2)The operator may waive the residency requirement for a
  151  veteran who is otherwise eligible under Florida law for
  152  admittance to a program. The waiver must be limited to a veteran
  153  who is a disaster evacuee of a state that is under a declared
  154  state of emergency.
  155         (3)Admittance priority must be given to eligible veterans
  156  in the following order of priority:
  157         (a)An eligible veteran who is a resident of this state.
  158         (b)An eligible veteran who has a service-connected
  159  disability as determined by the United States Department of
  160  Veterans Affairs, or was discharged or released from military
  161  service for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of
  162  duty, and the disability is the condition for which adult day
  163  health care is needed.
  164         (c)An eligible veteran who has a non-service-connected
  165  disability and is unable to defray the expense of adult day
  166  health care and so states under oath before a notary public or
  167  other officer authorized to administer an oath.
  168         296.48Participants; contribution to support.—The operator
  169  may, if there is room, admit to participation in the program a
  170  veteran who has sufficient means for his or her own support but
  171  is otherwise eligible to become a participant in the program,
  172  upon payment of the full cost of his or her support, which cost
  173  and method of collection must be fixed from time to time by the
  174  operator.
  175         296.49Audit; inspection; standards for the program.—The
  176  program must be open at any time to audit and inspection by the
  177  Auditor General and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and
  178  Government Accountability, as provided by law, the department,
  179  and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and to any
  180  other audits or inspections as required by law to maintain
  181  appropriate standards in the program. The standards that the
  182  department must use to regulate the operation of the program are
  183  those prescribed by the United States Department of Veterans
  184  Affairs, provided that when the state’s standards are more
  185  restrictive, the standards of the state must apply.
  186         Section 4. Section 683.1475, Florida Statutes, is created
  187  to read:
  188         683.1475Veterans Week.—
  189         (1)The week of November 11 of each year is designated as
  190  “Veterans Week, with the week starting with the Sunday
  191  preceding November 11. If November 11 falls on a Sunday,
  192  “Veterans Week” begins on that day.
  193         (2)The Governor may annually issue a proclamation
  194  designating the week of November 11 as Veterans Week.” Public
  195  officials, schools, private organizations, and all residents of
  196  this state are encouraged to commemorate Veterans Week and honor
  197  the men and women who answered the call during times of war and
  198  peace to protect and preserve the treasured freedom of all
  199  citizens of the United States.
  200         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2023.