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Cypen & Cypen
NEWSLETTER
for
APRIL 29, 2004

Stephen H. Cypen, Esq., Editor

Never Forget - September 11, 2001

1. GOVERNOR BUSH SIGNS “EXTRA BENEFITS” BILL:

On April 27, 2004, Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed HB 251 into law. Significantly, the Bill adopts the Division of Retirement’s interpretation that “extra benefits” means benefits in addition to or greater than those provided to general employees of the municipality and in addition to those in existence for firefighters or police officers on March 12, 1999. In essence, a municipality may only use increases in premium tax revenues received after 1997 to fund new employee benefits enacted after March 12, 1999. Several municipalities disputed the Division’s interpretation, but it was upheld and the cities have appealed to the First District Court of Appeal. Presumably, the new legislation will moot that proceeding. In addition, the Bill requires the Department of Revenue to create an electronic data base that insurance companies can use to determine the situs of property and casualty insurance policies. Through December 31, 2007, municipalities with police retirement plans under Chapter 185, Florida Statutes, are guaranteed at least as much revenue from the tax on casualty insurance premiums as they received in 2004, unless overall premium tax collections decrease. Further, a board of trustees may, upon written request, authorize the plan administrator to withhold from the monthly retirement payment those funds that are necessary to pay for benefits being received through the governmental entity from which the employee retired, to pay the Certified Bargaining Agent of the governmental entity and to make any payments for child support or alimony. Finally -- and of deep importance to your Editor -- the short titles of Chapters 175 and 185, Florida Statutes, are now the “Marvin B. Clayton Firefighters Pension Trust Fund Act” and the “Marvin B. Clayton Police Officers Pension Trust Fund Act.” Nothing could be more deserved.

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Items in this Newsletter may be excerpts or summaries of original or secondary source material, and may have been reorganized for clarity and brevity. This Newsletter is general in nature and is not intended to provide specific legal or other advice.


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