Budget conference: House and Senate agree to $20M for law enforcement signing bonuses

Police officer badge on a dark background, 3D rendering, illustr
Earlier this month, the Governor's Office announced 1,750 new officers received the signing bonus in its first year.

The House and the Senate agree that signing bonuses designed to lure more law enforcement to the Sunshine State should be funded at an amount level with last year: $20 million.

That’s $10 million less than Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed. The money will help fund $5,000 bonuses to each recruit who signs on to protect and serve. It also pays the taxes on the bonus so the newly minted officer gets the full $5,000, in addition to other perks.

The signing bonus program was approved during last year’s Regular Session when DeSantis vowed to build the “strongest law enforcement recruitment and support initiative in the nation.”

The House initially budgeted the bonus program at the $30 million the Governor proposed, but then came down to the Senate level for its first offer.

A news release from the Governor’s Office from earlier this month said 1,750 bonuses were awarded to new recruits in the first year of the program. They came from 48 states, including 200 that hailed from California, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania. The amount awarded as of April 6 came to $11.8 million, according to the release.

At the time the new funding was signed, the Governor highlighted the contrast between Florida and other states.

“While other parts of the country are mistreating, marginalizing, and defunding law enforcement, in Florida we continue to prioritize and appreciate our law enforcement officers,” DeSantis said. “This legislation encourages Floridians to pursue careers in law enforcement and attracts high quality law enforcement officers from other states who are sick and tired of the mistreatment they experience.”

The entire country was experiencing a shortage of police officers in the wake of the pandemic and the reaction to George Floyd’s death being filmed as a Minneapolis police officer held him down by the neck.

Also, reports were that some law enforcement officers balked at having to take a COVID-19 vaccination to secure a job — not an issue in Florida.

The bonus program also offers other perks, including:

— Covering up to $1,000 in eligible education expenses for trainees.

— Reimbursing training costs for certified law enforcement officers who come from out of state.

Budget conference subcommittees will meet throughout the week to resolve differences in each area. When remaining issues reach an impasse, they will be “bumped” to the full budget conference committee. Lawmakers must reach an agreement on a final spending plan by May 2 to meet the 72-hour “cooling off” period required by the state constitution before they can vote on the budget to avoid pushing the Regular Session past its scheduled May 5 end date.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].

One comment

  • Acid Head Ed 🖕

    April 24, 2023 at 11:59 am

    With only a small state income tax.. even $5 a month could see every officer receive about $1000 more a month in pay. But with the anti-tax and small government mentality..they get fked yet still vote for these hogs. The right wing “back the blue” rhetoric is all empty propaganda. Same thing with wages in general in Florida. People not making living wages so some hog can get rich.. and expand business out of state in many cases.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704