Online Sunshine Logo
Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislature
August 23, 2019
Text: 'NEW Advanced Legislative Search'
Interpreter Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Go to MyFlorida House
Select Year:  
The Florida Statutes

The 2019 Florida Statutes

Title IV
EXECUTIVE BRANCH
Chapter 16
ATTORNEY GENERAL
View Entire Chapter
CHAPTER 16
CHAPTER 16
ATTORNEY GENERAL
16.01 Residence, office, and duties of Attorney General.
16.015 Legal services; Department of Legal Affairs, other counsel.
16.0155 Contingency fee agreements.
16.016 Payment of per diem, mileage, and other expense.
16.02 Appointment of person to act in case of disability of Attorney General.
16.061 Initiative petitions.
16.08 Superintendence and direction of state attorneys.
16.09 Regulations as to the reports of state attorneys.
16.10 Receipt of Supreme Court reports for office.
16.101 Supreme Court reporter.
16.52 Participation in preserving constitutional integrity of state.
16.53 Legal Affairs Revolving Trust Fund.
16.535 Legal Services Trust Fund.
16.54 Florida Crime Prevention Training Institute; revolving trust fund.
16.555 Crime Stoppers Trust Fund; rulemaking.
16.556 Crime Stoppers Trust Fund.
16.557 Crime stoppers organizations; disclosure of privileged communications or protected information.
16.56 Office of Statewide Prosecution.
16.57 Office of Civil Rights.
16.59 Medicaid fraud control.
16.60 Public records mediation program within the Office of the Attorney General; creation; duties.
16.615 Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys.
16.617 Statewide Council on Human Trafficking; creation; membership; duties.
16.618 Direct-support organization.
16.62 Recognition and awards.
16.01 Residence, office, and duties of Attorney General.The Attorney General:
(1) Shall reside at the seat of government and shall keep his or her office in the capitol.
(2) Shall perform the duties prescribed by the Constitution of this state and also perform such other duties appropriate to his or her office as may from time to time be required of the Attorney General by law or by resolution of the Legislature.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, shall, on the written requisition of the Governor, a member of the Cabinet, the head of a department in the executive branch of state government, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, or the Minority Leader of the Senate, and may, upon the written requisition of a member of the Legislature, other state officer, or officer of a county, municipality, other unit of local government, or political subdivision, give an official opinion and legal advice in writing on any question of law relating to the official duties of the requesting officer.
(4) Shall appear in and attend to, in behalf of the state, all suits or prosecutions, civil or criminal or in equity, in which the state may be a party, or in anywise interested, in the Supreme Court and district courts of appeal of this state.
(5) Shall appear in and attend to such suits or prosecutions in any other of the courts of this state or in any courts of any other state or of the United States. This subsection is not intended to authorize the joinder of the Attorney General as a party in such suits or prosecutions.
(6) Shall act as co-counsel of record in capital collateral proceedings.
(7) Shall have and perform all powers and duties incident or usual to such office.
(8) Shall make and keep in his or her office a record of all his or her official acts and proceedings, containing copies of all official opinions, reports, and correspondence, and also keep and preserve in the office all official letters and communications to him or her and cause a registry and index thereof to be made and kept, all of which official papers and records shall be subject to the inspection of the Governor of the state and to the disposition of the Legislature by act or resolution thereof.
(9) May periodically publish a report of his or her official opinions and may prepare and publish an index or consolidated index or indexes of opinions.
History.s. 2, ch. 2, 1845; ch. 1845, 1871; RS 85; GS 87; RGS 101; CGL 125; s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 7, ch. 59-1; s. 1, ch. 78-399; s. 1, ch. 79-159; s. 7, ch. 81-259; s. 1, ch. 85-123; s. 45, ch. 95-147; s. 10, ch. 97-313; s. 6, ch. 2001-266.
16.015 Legal services; Department of Legal Affairs, other counsel.The Department of Legal Affairs shall be responsible for providing all legal services required by any department, unless otherwise provided by law. However, the Attorney General may authorize other counsel where emergency circumstances exist and shall authorize other counsel when professional conflict of interest is present. Each board, however designated, of which the Attorney General is a member may retain legal services in lieu of those provided by the Attorney General and the Department of Legal Affairs.
History.s. 11, ch. 69-106; s. 2, ch. 77-105.
16.0155 Contingency fee agreements.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Department” means the Department of Legal Affairs.
(b) “Private attorney” means any private attorney or law firm.
(2) The department may not enter into a contingency fee contract with a private attorney unless the Attorney General makes a written determination prior to entering into such a contract that contingency fee representation is both cost-effective and in the public interest. Any written determination shall include specific findings for each of the following factors:
(a) Whether there exist sufficient and appropriate legal and financial resources within the department to handle the matter.
(b) The time and labor required; the novelty, complexity, and difficulty of the questions involved; and the skill requisite to perform the attorney services properly.
(c) The geographic area where the attorney services are to be provided.
(d) The amount of experience desired for the particular kind of attorney services to be provided and the nature of the private attorney’s experience with similar issues or cases.
(3) Notwithstanding the exemption provided in s. 287.057(3)(e), if the Attorney General makes the determination described in subsection (2), he or she shall request proposals from private attorneys to represent the department on a contingency-fee basis, unless the Attorney General determines in writing that requesting proposals is not feasible under the circumstances. The written determination does not constitute a final agency action subject to review pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57. For purposes of this subsection only, the department is exempt from s. 120.57(3), and neither the request for proposals nor the contract award is subject to challenge pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
(4) In addition to the requirements set forth in s. 287.059(16), any private attorney shall maintain detailed contemporaneous time records for the attorneys and paralegals working on the matter in increments of no greater than 1/10 of an hour and shall promptly provide these records to the department, upon request.
(5) Notwithstanding s. 287.059(7)(a), the department may not enter into a contingency fee contract that provides for the private attorney to receive an aggregate contingency fee in excess of:
(a) Twenty-five percent of any recovery of up to $10 million; plus
(b) Twenty percent of any portion of such recovery between $10 million and $15 million; plus
(c) Fifteen percent of any portion of such recovery between $15 million and $20 million; plus
(d) Ten percent of any portion of such recovery between $20 million and $25 million; plus
(e) Five percent of any portion of such recovery exceeding $25 million.

In no event shall the aggregate contingency fee exceed $50 million, exclusive of reasonable costs and expenses, and irrespective of the number of lawsuits filed or the number of private attorneys retained to achieve the recovery.

(6) Copies of any executed contingency fee contract and the Attorney General’s written determination to enter into a contingency fee contract with the private attorney shall be posted on the department’s website for public inspection within 5 business days after the date the contract is executed and shall remain posted on the website for the duration of the contingency fee contract, including any extensions or amendments thereto. Any payment of contingency fees shall be posted on the department’s website within 15 days after the payment of such contingency fees to the private attorney and shall remain posted on the website for at least 365 days thereafter.
(7) By February 1 of each year, the Attorney General shall submit a report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives describing the use of contingency fee contracts with private attorneys in the preceding calendar year. At a minimum, the report shall:
(a) Identify all new contingency fee contracts entered into during the year and all previously executed contingency fee contracts that remain current during any part of the year, and for each contract describe:
1. The name of the private attorney with whom the department has contracted, including the name of the attorney’s law firm;
2. The nature and status of the legal matter;
3. The name of the parties to the legal matter;
4. The amount of any recovery; and
5. The amount of any contingency fee paid.
(b) Include copies of any written determinations made under subsection (2) during the year.
History.s. 1, ch. 2010-7; s. 1, ch. 2011-4; s. 11, ch. 2013-154.
16.016 Payment of per diem, mileage, and other expense.Whenever the Department of Legal Affairs is called upon to represent any administrative agency or regulatory board, the agency or regulatory board so represented shall pay the per diem, mileage, and other reasonable expense of the representative of such department.
History.s. 1, ch. 65-522; ss. 11, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 5, ch. 79-36.
Note.Former s. 455.07.
16.02 Appointment of person to act in case of disability of Attorney General.In case of the disability of the Attorney General to perform any official duty devolving on him or her, by reason of interest or otherwise, the Governor or Attorney General of this state may appoint another person to perform such duty in the Attorney General’s stead.
History.s. 3, ch. 2, 1845; RS 85a; GS 88; RGS 102; CGL 126; s. 46, ch. 95-147.
16.061 Initiative petitions.
(1) The Attorney General shall, within 30 days after receipt of a proposed revision or amendment to the State Constitution by initiative petition from the Secretary of State, petition the Supreme Court, requesting an advisory opinion regarding the compliance of the text of the proposed amendment or revision with s. 3, Art. XI of the State Constitution and the compliance of the proposed ballot title and substance with s. 101.161. The petition may enumerate any specific factual issues that the Attorney General believes would require a judicial determination.
(2) A copy of the petition shall be provided to the Secretary of State and the principal officer of the sponsor.
(3) Any fiscal impact statement that the court finds not to be in accordance with s. 100.371 shall be remanded solely to the Financial Impact Estimating Conference for redrafting.
History.s. 2, ch. 87-363; s. 2, ch. 2002-390; s. 2, ch. 2004-33.
16.08 Superintendence and direction of state attorneys.The Attorney General shall exercise a general superintendence and direction over the several state attorneys of the several circuits as to the manner of discharging their respective duties, and whenever requested by the state attorneys, shall give them her or his opinion upon any question of law.
History.s. 1, ch. 2098, 1877; RS 90; GS 93; RGS 107; CGL 131; s. 48, ch. 95-147.
16.09 Regulations as to the reports of state attorneys.The Attorney General shall prescribe the time and manner in which regular quarterly reports shall be made to him or her by state attorneys, and they shall comply with the Attorney General’s instructions in this respect.
History.s. 3, ch. 2098, 1877; RS 91; GS 94; RGS 108; CGL 132; s. 49, ch. 95-147.
16.10 Receipt of Supreme Court reports for office.The Clerk of the Supreme Court shall deliver to the Attorney General a copy of each volume, or part of volume, of the decisions of the Supreme Court, which may be in the care or custody of said clerk, and which the Attorney General’s office may be without, and take the Attorney General’s receipt for the same. The Attorney General shall keep the same in her or his office at the capitol, and each retiring Attorney General shall take the receipt of her or his successor for the same and file such receipt in the Chief Financial Officer’s office; provided that this shall not authorize the taking away of any book belonging to the Supreme Court library, kept for the use of said court.
History.ch. 3264, 1881; RS 92; GS 95; RGS 109; CGL 133; s. 50, ch. 95-147; s. 11, ch. 2003-261.
16.101 Supreme Court reporter.The Attorney General shall be the reporter for the Supreme Court.
History.Formerly s. 22, Art. IV of the Constitution of 1885, as amended; converted to statutory law by s. 10, Art. XII of the Constitution as revised in 1968.
16.52 Participation in preserving constitutional integrity of state.
(1) In order to provide for independent action and cooperative participation by the state in a program of concerted action among the states, and independent procedure to oppose any existing or proposed federal legislative encroachments upon constitutional state powers, it is hereby made a duty of the Department of Legal Affairs to make a study of federal legislationexisting and proposed—to determine whether such legislation has resulted, or may result, in objectionable or harmful encroachments upon the constitutional integrity of state governments, and with due regard to this state’s full contribution to the national war effort, in cooperation with the attorneys general of other states, or alone, to pursue that course best calculated to preserve and safeguard the constitutional state powers of the government of this state. It shall furnish to each of the several representatives in the Congress from this state, a written statement giving the reasons for any action being considered, or about to be taken hereunder at the time; and if possible, shall procure the assistance of such representatives therein and therefor.
(2) It shall be the duty of the Department of Legal Affairs of this state to render opinions to the representatives in Congress from this state, on any question arising within the scope of the subject matter of this act.
(3) In performing the duties imposed upon it under the provisions of this section, the Department of Legal Affairs is hereby authorized to employ therefor the services of the Council of State Governments, a national conference organization, or its successors in name or organization, or any other similar organization, in such manner not inconsistent with its powers and duties, as it may deem desirable; provided, that the cost of such employment, if any, shall be paid from the necessary and regular appropriation of the Department of Legal Affairs.
History.ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 21679, 1943; ss. 11, 35, ch. 69-106.
16.53 Legal Affairs Revolving Trust Fund.
(1) There is created in the State Treasury the Legal Affairs Revolving Trust Fund, from which the Legislature may appropriate funds for the purpose of funding investigation, prosecution, and enforcement by the Attorney General of the provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, the Florida False Claims Act, or state or federal antitrust laws.
(2) Thirty percent of all moneys recovered by the Attorney General on behalf of the state, its agencies, or units of state government, local governments, or persons resident in this state or, alternatively, attorneys’ fees and costs, whichever is greater, in any civil action for violation of state or federal antitrust laws shall be deposited in the fund.
(3) All moneys recovered by the Attorney General under s. 68.086(1) in any civil action for violation of the Florida False Claims Act shall be deposited in the fund.
(4) Subject to the provisions of s. 895.09, when the Attorney General files an action pursuant to s. 895.05, funds provided to the Department of Legal Affairs pursuant to s. 895.09(2)(a) or, alternatively, attorneys’ fees and costs, whichever is greater, shall be deposited in the fund.
(5)(a) In the case of a forfeiture action pursuant to s. 895.05, the remainder of the moneys recovered shall be distributed as set forth in s. 895.09.
(b) In other actions brought pursuant to the provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act or pursuant to the state or federal antitrust laws, the remainder of the moneys recovered on behalf of the state, its agencies, or units of state government shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund; in the case of other governmental units, transferred to the appropriate fund of such government; or in the case of persons, distributed to such persons or for their benefit, as approved by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(6) “Moneys recovered” means damages or penalties or any other monetary payment, including monetary proceeds from property forfeited to the state pursuant to s. 895.05 remaining after satisfaction of any valid claims made pursuant to s. 895.09(1)(a)-(d), which damages, penalties, or other monetary payment is made by any defendant by reason of any decree or settlement in any Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act or state or federal antitrust action prosecuted by the Attorney General, but excludes attorney fees and costs.
(7) Any moneys remaining in the fund at the end of any fiscal year in excess of 3 times the amount of the combined budgets for the antitrust, consumer protection, and racketeering sections of the Attorney General’s office for the forthcoming fiscal year shall be transferred to the General Revenue Fund unallocated.
History.s. 1, ch. 79-301; s. 1, ch. 83-116; s. 2, ch. 84-249; s. 1, ch. 86-277; s. 2, ch. 89-102; ss. 12, 14, ch. 94-316; s. 1, ch. 2013-207; s. 7, ch. 2016-84.
16.535 Legal Services Trust Fund.
(1) There is created in the State Treasury the Legal Services Trust Fund to be used by the Attorney General in providing legal services to agencies on a contractual basis.
(2) State agencies contracting for legal services with the Department of Legal Affairs are authorized to make advance payments on a quarterly basis.
History.s. 5, ch. 82-196; s. 2, ch. 85-123.
16.54 Florida Crime Prevention Training Institute; revolving trust fund.
(1) There is created within the Department of Legal Affairs the Florida Crime Prevention Training Institute, which shall be a comprehensive program of crime prevention training courses suitable for, and made available to, any interested person.
(2) The department shall establish the curriculum and admission requirements in such a manner as to give priority to those training programs which it determines to have the greatest potential for preventing crime. The department shall provide administrative support services for the institute. The department shall adopt rules and policies for the administration and operation of the institute and fix admission fees in an amount which, in the aggregate, does not exceed the cost of the program; and it may accept donations or grants of any type for any function or purpose of the institute.
(3) There is established within the Department of Legal Affairs the Florida Crime Prevention Training Institute Revolving Trust Fund to be used exclusively for the purposes of this section.
(4) All moneys, fees, donations, or grants collected by the department on behalf of the institute shall be deposited into the Florida Crime Prevention Training Institute Revolving Trust Fund and shall be applied to cover all costs incurred in establishing and conducting the crime prevention training programs authorized under this section, including, but not limited to, salaries for instructors and costs of materials connected with such programs.
History.s. 1, ch. 82-89; s. 4, ch. 83-217.
16.555 Crime Stoppers Trust Fund; rulemaking.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Department” shall mean the Department of Legal Affairs.
(b) “Units of local government” shall mean the various city and county governments of the state.
(c) “Crime Stoppers” shall mean members of the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, Incorporated, a Florida Corporation.
(2) The department shall have all the powers necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes and provisions of this act.
(3) The department shall establish a trust fund for the purpose of grant administration to fund Crime Stoppers and their crime fighting programs within the units of a local government of the state.
(4)(a) The department shall make applications for all federal and state or private grants which meet the purposes of advancing Crime Stoppers in the State of Florida. Upon securing such grants, the funds shall be deposited in the “Crime Stoppers Trust Fund.”
(b) The proceeds of the court cost imposed by s. 938.06 shall be deposited in a separate account in the trust fund, and within that account the funds shall be designated according to the judicial circuit in which they were collected. The funds in this account shall be used as provided in paragraph (5)(b).
(c) After an initial distribution of funds to the judicial circuit in which they were collected, up to 50 percent of the unencumbered funds returned to the Crime Stoppers Trust Fund from that circuit from a previous grant year, may, in subsequent grant years, be reallocated to other judicial circuits for special crime stoppers initiatives or other programs of the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, as prioritized and determined by the department and the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers.
(5)(a) The department shall be the disbursing authority for the distribution of funding to units of local government which apply to the department for funding assistance.
(b) Funds deposited in the trust fund pursuant to paragraph (4)(b) shall be disbursed as provided in this paragraph. A county may apply to the department under s. 938.06 for a grant from the funds collected in the judicial circuit in which the county is located. A grant may be awarded only to counties that are served by an official member of the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers and may be used only to support Crime Stoppers and its crime fighting programs. Only one such official member is eligible for support within any county. To aid the department in determining eligibility, the secretary of the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers shall furnish the department with a schedule of authorized crime stoppers programs and shall update the schedule as necessary. The department shall award grants to eligible counties from available funds and shall distribute funds as equitably as possible, based on amounts collected within each county, if more than one county is eligible within a judicial circuit.
(c) A county that is awarded a grant under this section may use such funds to purchase and distribute promotional items to increase public awareness of, and to educate the public about, Crime Stoppers.
(d) Grants may be awarded to fund student crime watch programs pursuant to s. 1006.07(3).
(e) A county that is awarded a grant under this section may use such funds to pay rewards for tips that result in any of the following:
1. An arrest.
2. The recovery of stolen property.
3. The recovery of illegal narcotics.
4. The recovery of the body of a homicide victim.
5. The recovery of a human trafficking victim or a missing person connected to criminal activity.
6. The recovery of an illegal firearm or an illegal weapon on a K-12 school campus.
7. The prevention of a terrorist act.
8. The solving and closing of a criminal case involving a homicide or other violent felony offense that remains unsolved for 1 year or more after being reported to a law enforcement agency and that has no viable and unexplored investigatory leads.
(6) The department shall adopt and enforce rules to implement the provisions of this act. Such rules shall include, but shall not be limited to:
(a) Criteria for local governments to apply for funding from the “Crime Stoppers Trust Fund” in order to aid in local law enforcement as provided in this section.
(b) The limits of funding to be distributed to local government units based on a pro rata share of grants made available through the “Crime Stoppers Trust Fund” pursuant to paragraph (4)(a), and criteria for the equitable distribution of funds available pursuant to paragraph (4)(b).
(c) Provisions for the return of unused funds to be redeposited in the “Crime Stoppers Trust Fund” if for any reason the unit of local government does not use the funds as intended within an agreed upon time.
(d) Provisions for the coordination with appropriate governmental agencies to support and enhance efforts to train the public in crime prevention methods and in personal safety principles, especially for citizens who live in, work at, or frequent locations having high crime rates.
History.ss. 12, 13, ch. 91-205; s. 2, ch. 98-319; s. 8, ch. 2001-380; s. 22, ch. 2002-402; s. 33, ch. 2003-399; s. 25, ch. 2004-269; s. 1, ch. 2006-2; s. 1, ch. 2015-136; s. 3, ch. 2018-3; s. 1, ch. 2019-167.
16.556 Crime Stoppers Trust Fund.The Crime Stoppers Trust Fund is created to be administered by the Department of Legal Affairs.
History.ss. 1, 2, ch. 98-265; s. 2, ch. 2002-102.
16.557 Crime stoppers organizations; disclosure of privileged communications or protected information.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Crime stoppers organization” means a private not-for-profit organization that collects and expends donations for rewards to persons who report to the organization information concerning criminal activity, and forwards that information to appropriate law enforcement agencies.
(b) “Privileged communication” means the act of providing information to a crime stoppers organization for the purpose of reporting alleged criminal activity.
(c) “Protected information” includes the identity of a person who engages in privileged communication with a crime stoppers organization and any records, recordings, oral or written statements, papers, documents, or other tangible items provided to or collected by a crime stoppers organization, a law enforcement crime stoppers coordinator or his or her staff, or a law enforcement agency in connection with such privileged communication.
(2)(a) Except pursuant to criminal discovery or as provided in paragraph (b), a person who discloses a privileged communication or protected information or any information concerning a privileged communication or protected information commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(b) This subsection does not apply to:
1. The person who provides the privileged communication or protected information; or
2. A law enforcement officer or an employee of a law enforcement agency or the Department of Legal Affairs when he or she is acting within the scope of his or her official duties.
(c) This subsection does not limit the right of any criminal defendant to criminal discovery.
History.s. 2, ch. 2019-167.
16.56 Office of Statewide Prosecution.
(1) There is created in the Department of Legal Affairs an Office of Statewide Prosecution. The office shall be a separate “budget entity” as that term is defined in chapter 216. The office may:
(a) Investigate and prosecute the offenses of:
1. Bribery, burglary, criminal usury, extortion, gambling, kidnapping, larceny, murder, prostitution, perjury, robbery, carjacking, home-invasion robbery, and patient brokering;
2. Any crime involving narcotic or other dangerous drugs;
3. Any violation of the Florida RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act, including any offense listed in the definition of racketeering activity in s. 895.02(8)(a), providing such listed offense is investigated in connection with a violation of s. 895.03 and is charged in a separate count of an information or indictment containing a count charging a violation of s. 895.03, the prosecution of which listed offense may continue independently if the prosecution of the violation of s. 895.03 is terminated for any reason;
4. Any violation of the Florida Anti-Fencing Act;
5. Any violation of the Florida Antitrust Act of 1980, as amended;
6. Any crime involving, or resulting in, fraud or deceit upon any person;
7. Any violation of s. 847.0135, relating to computer pornography and child exploitation prevention, or any offense related to a violation of s. 847.0135 or any violation of chapter 827 where the crime is facilitated by or connected to the use of the Internet or any device capable of electronic data storage or transmission;
8. Any violation of chapter 815;
9. Any criminal violation of part I of chapter 499;
10. Any violation of the Florida Motor Fuel Tax Relief Act of 2004;
11. Any criminal violation of s. 409.920 or s. 409.9201;
12. Any crime involving voter registration, voting, or candidate or issue petition activities;
13. Any criminal violation of the Florida Money Laundering Act;
14. Any criminal violation of the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act; or
15. Any violation of chapter 787, as well as any and all offenses related to a violation of chapter 787;

or any attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit any of the crimes specifically enumerated above. The office shall have such power only when any such offense is occurring, or has occurred, in two or more judicial circuits as part of a related transaction, or when any such offense is connected with an organized criminal conspiracy affecting two or more judicial circuits. Informations or indictments charging such offenses shall contain general allegations stating the judicial circuits and counties in which crimes are alleged to have occurred or the judicial circuits and counties in which crimes affecting such circuits or counties are alleged to have been connected with an organized criminal conspiracy.

(b) Investigate and prosecute any crime enumerated in paragraph (a) facilitated by or connected to the use of the Internet. Any such crime is a crime occurring in every judicial circuit within the state.
(c) Upon request, cooperate with and assist state attorneys and state and local law enforcement officials in their efforts against organized crimes.
(d) Request and receive from any department, division, board, bureau, commission, or other agency of the state, or of any political subdivision thereof, cooperation and assistance in the performance of its duties.
(2) The Attorney General shall appoint a statewide prosecutor from not less than three persons nominated by the judicial nominating commission for the Supreme Court. The statewide prosecutor shall be in charge of the Office of Statewide Prosecution for a term of 4 years to run concurrently with the term of the appointing official. The statewide prosecutor shall be an elector of the state, shall have been a member of The Florida Bar for the preceding 5 years, and shall devote full time to the duties of statewide prosecutor and not engage in the private practice of law. The Attorney General may remove the statewide prosecutor prior to the end of his or her term. A vacancy in the position of statewide prosecutor shall be filled within 60 days. During the period of any vacancy, the Attorney General shall exercise all the powers and perform all the duties of the statewide prosecutor. A person appointed statewide prosecutor is prohibited from running for or accepting appointment to any state office for a period of 2 years following vacation of office. The statewide prosecutor shall on March 1 of each year report in writing to the Governor and the Attorney General on the activities of the office for the preceding year and on the goals and objectives for the next year.
(3) The statewide prosecutor may conduct hearings at any place in the state; summon and examine witnesses; require the production of physical evidence; sign informations, indictments, and other official documents; confer immunity; move the court to reduce the sentence of a person convicted of drug trafficking who provides substantial assistance; attend to and serve as the legal adviser to the statewide grand jury; and exercise such other powers as by law are granted to state attorneys. The statewide prosecutor may designate one or more assistants to exercise any such powers.
(4) It is the intent of the Legislature that in carrying out the duties of this office, the statewide prosecutor shall, whenever feasible, use sworn investigators employed by the Department of Law Enforcement, and may request the assistance, where appropriate, of sworn investigators employed by other law enforcement agencies.
History.ss. 1, 9, ch. 85-179; s. 1, ch. 90-12; s. 1, ch. 92-108; s. 4, ch. 93-212; s. 51, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 95-427; s. 8, ch. 96-252; s. 6, ch. 96-260; s. 69, ch. 96-388; s. 3, ch. 97-78; s. 12, ch. 2001-54; s. 30, ch. 2003-155; s. 8, ch. 2004-73; s. 1, ch. 2004-344; s. 6, ch. 2004-391; s. 9, ch. 2005-209; s. 73, ch. 2005-277; s. 2, ch. 2007-143; s. 1, ch. 2009-242; s. 1, ch. 2012-97; s. 7, ch. 2013-2; s. 1, ch. 2015-92; s. 5, ch. 2016-84; s. 50, ch. 2016-105; s. 1, ch. 2017-173.
16.57 Office of Civil Rights.There is created in the Department of Legal Affairs an Office of Civil Rights. The office may investigate and initiate actions authorized by chapter 760. In investigating violations of constitutional and statutory rights under chapter 760, the Attorney General may administer oaths and affirmations, subpoena witnesses or matter, and collect evidence.
History.s. 5, ch. 91-74; s. 3, ch. 2003-396.
16.59 Medicaid fraud control.The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is created in the Department of Legal Affairs to investigate all violations of s. 409.920 and any criminal violations discovered during the course of those investigations. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit may refer any criminal violation so uncovered to the appropriate prosecuting authority. The offices of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Agency for Health Care Administration Medicaid program integrity program, and the Divisions of Investigative and Forensic Services and Public Assistance Fraud within the Department of Financial Services shall, to the extent possible, be collocated; however, positions dedicated to Medicaid managed care fraud within the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit shall be collocated with the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. The Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Legal Affairs, and the Divisions of Investigative and Forensic Services and Public Assistance Fraud within the Department of Financial Services shall conduct joint training and other joint activities designed to increase communication and coordination in recovering overpayments.
History.s. 2, ch. 94-251; s. 1, ch. 96-331; s. 1, ch. 2002-400; s. 6, ch. 2010-144; s. 7, ch. 2016-165.
16.60 Public records mediation program within the Office of the Attorney General; creation; duties.
(1) As used in this section, “mediation” means a process whereby a neutral third person, called the mediator, acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is a formal, nonadversarial process that has the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable, voluntary agreement. In mediation, decisionmaking authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.
(2) The public records mediation program is created within the Office of the Attorney General.
(3) The Office of the Attorney General shall:
(a) Employ one or more mediators to mediate disputes involving access to public records. A person may not be employed by the department as a mediator unless that person is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar.
(b) Recommend to the Legislature needed legislation governing access to public records.
(c) Assist the Department of State in preparing training seminars regarding access to public records.
(4) This section is intended to provide a method for resolving disputes relating to public records, and is intended to be supplemental to, not a substitution for, the other powers given to the Attorney General by law.
History.s. 4, ch. 95-296; s. 3, ch. 2000-158; s. 2, ch. 2000-324; s. 13, ch. 2012-116.
16.615 Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys.
(1) The Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys is established within the Department of Legal Affairs and shall consist of 19 members appointed as follows:
(a) Two members of the Senate who are not members of the same political party, appointed by the President of the Senate with the advice of the Minority Leader of the Senate.
(b) Two members of the House of Representatives who are not members of the same political party, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives with the advice of the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
(c) The Secretary of Children and Families or his or her designee.
(d) The director of the Mental Health Program Office within the Department of Children and Families or his or her designee.
(e) The State Surgeon General or his or her designee.
(f) The Commissioner of Education or his or her designee.
(g) The Secretary of Corrections or his or her designee.
(h) The Attorney General or his or her designee.
(i) The Secretary of Management Services or his or her designee.
(j) The executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity or his or her designee.
(k) A businessperson who is an African American, as defined in s. 760.80(2)(a), appointed by the Governor.
(l) Two persons appointed by the President of the Senate who are not members of the Legislature or employed by state government. One of the appointees must be a clinical psychologist.
(m) Two persons appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives who are not members of the Legislature or employed by state government. One of the appointees must be an Africana studies professional.
(n) The deputy secretary for Medicaid in the Agency for Health Care Administration or his or her designee.
(o) The Secretary of Juvenile Justice or his or her designee.
(2) Each member of the council shall be appointed to a 4-year term; however, for the purpose of providing staggered terms, of the initial appointments, 9 members shall be appointed to 2-year terms and 10 members shall be appointed to 4-year terms. A member of the council may be removed at any time by the member’s appointing authority who shall fill the vacancy on the council.
(3)(a) At the first meeting of the council each year, the members shall elect a chair and a vice chair.
(b) A vacancy in the office of chair or vice chair shall be filled by vote of the remaining members.
(4)(a) The council shall make a systematic study of the conditions affecting black men and boys, including, but not limited to, homicide rates, arrest and incarceration rates, poverty, violence, drug abuse, death rates, disparate annual income levels, school performance in all grade levels including postsecondary levels, and health issues.
(b) The council shall propose measures to alleviate and correct the underlying causes of the conditions described in paragraph (a). These measures may consist of changes to the law or systematic changes that can be implemented without legislative action.
(c) The council may study other topics suggested by the Legislature or as directed by the chair of the council.
(d) The council shall receive suggestions or comments pertinent to the applicable issues from members of the Legislature, governmental agencies, public and private organizations, and private citizens.
(e) The council shall develop a strategic program and funding initiative to establish local Councils on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys.
(5) The council may:
(a) Access data held by any state departments or agencies, which data is otherwise a public record.
(b) Make requests directly to the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee for assistance with research and monitoring of outcomes by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.
(c) Request, through council members who are also legislators, research assistance from the Office of Economic and Demographic Research within the Florida Legislature.
(d) Request information and assistance from the state or any political subdivision, municipal corporation, public officer, or governmental department thereof.
(e) Apply for and accept funds, grants, gifts, and services from the state, the Federal Government or any of its agencies, or any other public or private source for the purpose of defraying clerical and administrative costs as may be necessary for carrying out its duties under this section.
(f) Work directly with, or request information and assistance on issues pertaining to education from, Florida’s historically black colleges and universities.
(6) The Office of the Attorney General shall provide staff and administrative support to the council.
(7) The council shall meet quarterly and at other times at the call of the chair or as determined by a majority of council members and approved by the Attorney General.
(8) Eleven of the members of the council constitute a quorum, and an affirmative vote of a majority of the members present is required for final action.
(9) The council shall issue its annual report by December 15 each year, stating the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the council. The council shall submit the report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the chairpersons of the standing committees of jurisdiction in each chamber.
(10) Members of the council shall serve without compensation. Members are entitled to reimbursement for per diem and travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061. State officers and employees shall be reimbursed from the budget of the agency through which they serve. Other members may be reimbursed by the Department of Legal Affairs.
(11) The council and any subcommittees it forms are subject to the provisions of chapter 119, related to public records, and the provisions of chapter 286, related to public meetings.
(12) Each member of the council who is not otherwise required to file a financial disclosure statement pursuant to s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution or s. 112.3144, must file a disclosure of financial interests pursuant to s. 112.3145.
History.s. 1, ch. 2006-123; s. 2, ch. 2008-6; s. 1, ch. 2008-130; s. 39, ch. 2011-142; s. 3, ch. 2014-19; s. 1, ch. 2019-3; s. 18, ch. 2019-4.
16.617 Statewide Council on Human Trafficking; creation; membership; duties.
(1) CREATION.There is created the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking within the Department of Legal Affairs. The council is created for the purpose of enhancing the development and coordination of state and local law enforcement and social services responses to fight commercial sexual exploitation as a form of human trafficking and to support victims.
(2) MEMBERSHIP.
(a) The council shall consist of the following members:
1. The Attorney General, or a designee, who shall serve as chair.
2. The Secretary of Children and Families, or a designee, who shall serve as vice chair.
3. The State Surgeon General, or a designee.
4. The Secretary of Health Care Administration, or a designee.
5. The executive director of the Department of Law Enforcement, or a designee.
6. The Secretary of Juvenile Justice, or a designee.
7. The Commissioner of Education, or a designee.
8. One member of the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate.
9. One member of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
10. An elected sheriff appointed by the Attorney General.
11. An elected state attorney appointed by the Attorney General.
12. Two members appointed by the Governor, and two members appointed by the Attorney General, who have professional experience to assist the council in the development of care and treatment options for victims of human trafficking.
(b) Each member shall be appointed to a 4-year term. However, for the purpose of achieving staggered terms, the members initially appointed by the Attorney General, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall each serve a 2-year term. All subsequent appointments shall be for 4-year terms. Any vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(c) A member may not receive a commission, fee, or financial benefit in connection with serving on the council. Council members may be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses in accordance with s. 112.061 by the state agency that the member represents. If a member is not affiliated with a state agency, the member shall be reimbursed by the Department of Legal Affairs.
(3) ORGANIZATION AND SUPPORT.
(a) The first meeting of the council shall be held no later than September 1, 2014. Thereafter, the council shall meet at least once each calendar quarter. Meetings may be held via teleconference or other electronic means.
(b) A majority of the members of the council shall constitute a quorum.
(c) The Department of Legal Affairs shall provide the council with staff necessary to assist the council in the performance of its duties.
(d) The council may apply for and accept funds, grants, gifts, and services from the state, the Federal Government or any of its agencies, or any other public or private source for the purpose of defraying costs associated with the annual statewide policy summit.
(4) DUTIES.The council shall:
(a) Develop recommendations for comprehensive programs and services for victims of human trafficking to include recommendations for certification criteria for safe houses and safe foster homes.
(b) Make recommendations for apprehending and prosecuting traffickers and enhancing coordination of responses.
(c) Annually hold a statewide policy summit in conjunction with an institution of higher learning in this state.
(d) Work with the Department of Children and Families to create and maintain an inventory of human trafficking programs and services in each county, including, but not limited to, awareness programs and victim assistance services, which can be used to determine how to maximize existing resources and address unmet needs and emerging trends.
(e) Develop policy recommendations that advance the duties of the council and further the efforts to combat human trafficking in our state.
(5) REPORT.By October 31 of each year, beginning in 2015, the council shall submit a report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives summarizing the accomplishments of the council during the preceding fiscal year and making recommendations regarding the development and coordination of state and local law enforcement and social services responses to fight human trafficking and support victims.
History.s. 9, ch. 2014-161; s. 1, ch. 2017-155.
16.618 Direct-support organization.
(1) The Department of Legal Affairs shall establish a direct-support organization to provide assistance, funding, and support to the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking and to assist in the fulfillment of the council’s purposes. The direct-support organization must be:
(a) A Florida corporation, not for profit, incorporated under chapter 617, and approved by the Secretary of State;
(b) Organized and operated exclusively to solicit funds; request and receive grants, gifts, and bequests of money; acquire, receive, hold, invest, and administer, in its own name, property and funds; and make expenditures in support of the purposes specified in this section; and
(c) Certified by the department, after review, to be operating in a manner consistent with the purposes of the organization and in the best interests of this state.
(2) The direct-support organization shall operate under written contract with the department. The contract must provide for all of the following:
(a) Approval of the articles of incorporation and bylaws of the direct-support organization by the department.
(b) Submission of an annual budget for approval by the department.
(c) Annual certification by the department that the direct-support organization is complying with the terms of the contract and is operating in a manner consistent with the purposes of the organization and in the best interests of this state.
(d) Reversion to the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence of moneys and property held in trust by the direct-support organization if the direct-support organization is no longer approved to operate or if it ceases to exist.
(e) Disclosure of the material provisions of the contract and the distinction between the board of directors and the direct-support organization to donors of gifts, contributions, or bequests, which disclosures must be included in all promotional and fundraising publications.
(f) An annual financial audit in accordance with s. 215.981.
(g) Establishment of the fiscal year of the direct-support organization as beginning on July 1 of each year and ending on June 30 of the following year.
(h) Appointment of the board of directors, pursuant to this section.
(i) Authority of the board of directors of the direct-support organization to hire an executive director.
(3) The board of directors of the direct-support organization shall consist of 13 members. Each member of the board of directors shall be appointed to a 4-year term; however, for the purpose of providing staggered terms, the appointees of the President of the Senate and the appointees of the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall each initially be appointed to 2-year terms, and the Attorney General shall initially appoint 2 members to serve 2-year terms. All subsequent appointments shall be for 4-year terms. Any vacancy that occurs must be filled in the same manner as the original appointment and is for the unexpired term of that seat. The board of directors shall be appointed as follows:
(a) Two members appointed by the executive director of the Department of Law Enforcement, both of whom must have law enforcement backgrounds with experience and knowledge in the area of human trafficking.
(b) Three members appointed by the Attorney General, one of whom must be a survivor of human trafficking and one of whom must be a mental health expert.
(c) Four members appointed by the President of the Senate.
(d) Four members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(4)(a) The direct-support organization may contract with the Florida Forensic Institute for Research, Security, and Tactics to develop the training and information as required by this subsection.
1. The contract with the institute must provide that the direct-support organization may terminate the contract if the institute fails to meet its obligations under this subsection.
2. If the institute ceases to exist, or if the contract between the direct-support organization and the institute is terminated, the department shall contract with another organization in order to develop the training and information as required by this subsection.
(b) Recognizing that this state hosts large-scale events, including sporting events, concerts, and cultural events, which generate significant tourism to this state, produce significant economic revenue, and often are conduits for human trafficking, the institute must develop training that is ready for statewide dissemination by not later than October 1, 2019.
1. Training must focus on detecting human trafficking, best practices for reporting human trafficking, and the interventions and treatment for survivors of human trafficking.
2. In developing the training, the institute shall consult with law enforcement agencies, survivors of human trafficking, industry representatives, tourism representatives, and other interested parties. The institute also must conduct research to determine the reduction in recidivism attributable to the education of the harms of human trafficking for first-time offenders.
(c) The institute shall serve as a repository of information on human trafficking and training materials and resources to recognize and prevent human trafficking.
(d) The human trafficking task force in each circuit, pursuant to s. 409.1754(4), shall coordinate on an ongoing basis with the institute, at least every 6 months, to update training and information on best practices to combat human trafficking.
(e) Sheriffs’ offices and local law enforcement agencies may coordinate with the institute to receive updated training and information on best practices.
(5) In conjunction with the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, and funded exclusively by the direct-support organization, the direct-support organization shall form strategic partnerships to foster the development of community and private sector resources to advance the goals of the council.
(6) The direct-support organization shall consider the participation of counties and municipalities in this state which demonstrate a willingness to participate and an ability to be successful in any programs funded by the direct-support organization.
(7)(a) The department may authorize the appropriate use without charge of the department’s property, facilities, and personnel by the direct-support organization. The use must be for the approved purposes of the direct-support organization and may not be made at times or places that would unreasonably interfere with opportunities for the general public to use departmental facilities.
(b) The department shall prescribe by agreement conditions with which the direct-support organization must comply in order to use department property, facilities, or personnel. Such conditions must provide for budget and audit review and oversight by the department.
(c) The department may not authorize the use of property, facilities, or personnel of the council, department, or designated program by the direct-support organization which does not provide equal employment opportunities to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin.
(8)(a) The direct-support organization may conduct programs and activities; raise funds; request and receive grants, gifts, and bequests of money; acquire, receive, hold, invest, and administer, in its own name, securities, funds, objects of value, or other property, real or personal; and make expenditures to or for the direct or indirect benefit of the council or designated program.
(b) Notwithstanding s. 287.025(1)(e), the direct-support organization may enter into contracts to insure the property of the council or designated programs and may insure objects or collections on loan from other entities in satisfying security terms of the lender.
(9) A departmental employee, a direct-support organization or council employee, a volunteer, or a director 1of a designated program may not:
(a) Receive a commission, fee, or financial benefit in connection with serving on the council; or
(b) Be a business associate of any individual, firm, or organization involved in the sale or the exchange of real or personal property to the direct-support organization, the council, or a designated program.
(10) All moneys received by the direct-support organization shall be deposited into an account of the direct-support organization and shall be used in a manner consistent with the goals of the council or designated program.
(11) The department may terminate its agreement with the direct-support organization at any time if the department determines that the direct-support organization does not meet the objectives of this section.
(12) This section is repealed October 1, 2024, unless reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature.
History.s. 1, ch. 2019-152.
1Note.The word “of” was substituted by the editors for the word “or” to conform to context.
16.62 Recognition and awards.In addition to expenditures separately authorized by law, the Department of Legal Affairs may expend no more than $20,000 annually to support costs associated with the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Recognition and Awards Program and the Victims Services Recognition and Awards Program.
History.s. 2, ch. 2015-92.