Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 080406
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File Number: 080406 File Type: Ordinance Status: Deferred in Committee
Version: 0 Reference: Control: Economic Development and Human Services Committee
File Name: PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR DOMESTIC PARTNERS FOR EMPLOYEE Introduced: 2/7/2008
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action:
Agenda Date: Agenda Item Number:
Notes: Title: ORDINANCE CREATING ARTICLE IX OF CHAPTER 11A OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING HEALTH INSURANCE ELIGIBILITY AND OTHER BENEFITS TO THE DOMESTIC PARTNERS OF MIAMI DADE COUNTY EMPLOYEES; PROVIDING FOR THE REGISTRATION OF DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS; ESTABLISHING DOMESTIC PARTNER RIGHTS OF VISITATION; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE
Indexes: BENEFIT PLAN
  COUNTY EMPLOYEE
  HEALTH INSURANCE
Sponsors: Bruno A. Barreiro, Prime Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
  Carlos A. Gimenez, Co-Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Barbara J. Jordan, Co-Sponsor
  Katy Sorenson, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Economic Development and Human Services Committee 4/16/2008 1E1 Withdrawn
REPORT: See Agenda Item 1E1 Substitute; Legislative File No.080986.

County Attorney 3/27/2008 Referred Economic Development and Human Services Committee 4/16/2008

Economic Development and Human Services Committee 3/12/2008 1E2 Deferred P
REPORT: During consideration of changes to today's (3/12) agenda, the Committee deferred the foregoing proposed ordinance to no date certain as noted by Assistant County Attorney Cynthia Johnson-Stacks.

Board of County Commissioners 2/19/2008 Tentatively scheduled for a public hearing Economic Development and Human Services Committee 3/12/2008

Board of County Commissioners 2/19/2008 4E Adopted on first reading 3/12/2008 P
REPORT: The foregoing proposed ordinance was adopted on first reading and scheduled for public hearing before the Economic Development and Human Services Committee on March 12, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.

County Attorney 2/8/2008 Assigned Economic Development and Human Services Committee 3/12/2008

County Attorney 2/8/2008 Assigned Lee Kraftchick

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE CREATING ARTICLE IX OF CHAPTER 11A OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING HEALTH INSURANCE ELIGIBILITY AND OTHER BENEFITS TO THE DOMESTIC PARTNERS OF MIAMI DADE COUNTY EMPLOYEES; PROVIDING FOR THE REGISTRATION OF DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS; ESTABLISHING DOMESTIC PARTNER RIGHTS OF VISITATION; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE

BODY
Section 1. The Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended by adding the following new sections to Chapter 11A:
ARTICLE IX DOMESTIC PARTNERS AND FAMILY HEALTH COVERAGE

Sec. 11A-70. Legislative Findings and Purpose

(a)     The Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners finds that a significant number of Miami-Dade residents establish and maintain important personal, emotional, and economic relationships with persons to whom they are not married. Individuals forming such domestic partnerships often live in a committed family relationship. Domestic partners may be denied the right to visit each other or their children or parents when hospitalized or incarcerated for lack of a system that establishes rights of visitation in such circumstances. Also, partners in domestic relationships may be denied public and private sector benefits because there is no established system for such relationships to be registered or recognized. In addition, because of the status of their relationship, domestic partners in many cases are not extended certain employment benefits that are otherwise made available to other employees.

(b)     The Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners finds that employment benefits form an essential portion of the compensation provided to County employees.

(c)   The Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners acknowledges that in 1994 over 3 million Americans identified themselves as living in a domestic partnership. As a result, employers have begun to provide domestic partner benefits in greater numbers.

(d)     The Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners finds that the provision of domestic partner benefits promotes employee recruitment, employee retention, and employee loyalty. Furthermore, the provision of such benefits promotes fairness and serves to address the discriminatory effect of practices which deny such benefits solely upon the basis of an employee’s familial or marital status.

(e)      The rules developed to implement the provisions of this ordinance shall be liberally construed to accomplish the policies and purposes of the ordinance. However, this ordinance shall not be construed to supersede any federal, state, or county laws or regulations, nor shall this ordinance be interpreted in a manner as to bring it into conflict with federal, state, or other county laws. Nothing in this ordinance shall be construed as recognizing or treating a domestic partnership as a marriage.


Sec. 11A-71. Definitions.

For purposes of this Act:

(a)     County employee means any employee of Miami-Dade County, including employees of the Miami-Dade Public Health Trust and all other agencies and instrumentalities of the County.

(b)    Domestic Partners means only two adults who are parties to a valid domestic partnership relationship and who meet the requisites for a valid domestic partnership relationship as established pursuant to section 11A-72.

(c)     Declaration of Domestic Partnership means a sworn form under penalty of perjury, which certifies that two domestic partners meet the requirements of a domestic partnership relationship as described in section 11A-72.

(d)     Jointly Responsible means each domestic partner mutually agrees to provide for the other partner’s basic food and shelter living expenses while the domestic partnership relationship is in effect, except that partners need not contribute equally or jointly to said basic food and shelter.

(e)     Health Care Facility means any hospital, convalescent facility, walk-in clinic, doctor’s office, mental health care facility and any other short- or long-term health care facility located within Miami-Dade County.


Sec. 11A-72.  Registration of Domestic Partnerships.

(a)     A valid domestic partnership relationship may be registered by any two persons by filing a declaration of domestic partnership with the Miami-Dade County Consumer Services Department, which declaration shall comply with all requirements set forth in this ordinance for establishing such domestic partnership. Upon payment of any required fees, the Consumer Services Department shall file the declaration of domestic partnership and issue a certificate reflecting the registration of the domestic partnership relationship in Miami-Dade County.

(b)     A declaration of domestic partnership shall contain the name and address of each domestic partner, the signature of each partner, and each partner shall swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that

(1)     Each person is at least 18 years old and competent to contract;

(2)     Neither person is married, a partner to another domestic partnership relationship or a member of another civil union;

(3)     They are not related by blood;

(4)     Each person considers himself or herself to be a member of the immediate family of the other partner and to be jointly responsible for maintaining and supporting the Registered Domestic Partnership.

(5) Each person agrees to immediately notify the Consumer Services Department, in writing, if the terms of the Registered Domestic Partnership are no longer applicable or one of the domestic partners wishes to terminate the domestic partnership.

(c)     Any partner to a domestic partnership may file an amendment to the domestic partnership certificate issued by the Consumer Services Department to reflect a change in his or her legal name or address, or to add or delete children.


Sec. 11A-73.  Termination of registered domestic partnership
relationship.

(a)     Either partner to a registered domestic partnership relationship may terminate such relationship by filing a notarized declaration of termination of domestic partnership relationship with the Consumer Services Department. Upon the payment of the required fee, the Consumer Services Department shall file the declaration and issue a certificate of termination of domestic partnership relationship to each partner of the former relationship. The termination shall become effective 30 days from the date the certificate of termination is issued.

(b)     If any partner to a domestic partnership relationship enters into a legal marriage, the domestic partnership relationship shall terminate automatically, and all rights, benefits, and entitlements there under shall cease as of the effective date of the marriage. The marrying domestic partner shall file a declaration terminating the domestic partnership relationship within 10 days after entering into a legal marriage.

(c) The death of either domestic partner shall automatically terminate the domestic partner relationship.

(d) If either member of the domestic partnership ceases to be responsible for the other’s basic food and shelter, the domestic partnership shall be considered terminated.

Sec. 11A-74.  Maintenance of records; filing fees.

(a)     The Miami-Dade County Mayor shall by administrative rule prescribe the form of all declarations, amendments, and certificates required to be filed under this act. The Consumer Services Department shall maintain a record of all declarations, amendments, and certificates filed pursuant to this ordinance.

(b)     Filing Fees. The Mayor is authorized to establish fees for the filing of any declarations, amendments, and the issuance of any certificates required by this act, subject to the approval of the County Commission. The fees shall be included within a Miami-Dade County Administrative Order. Any fees established under this section shall be commensurate with the actual costs of administering the provisions of this ordinance.

Sec. 11A-75.  Extension of benefits to domestic partners
of County employees.

(a)     Any County employee who is a party to a registered domestic partnership relationship under this ordinance shall be entitled to elect insurance coverage for his or her domestic partner or the children of such domestic partner on the same basis in which any County employee may elect insurance coverage for his or her spouse or children. A County employee’s right to elect insurance coverage for his or her domestic partner, or the partner’s children, shall extend to all forms of insurance provided by the County to the spouses and children of County employees, unless such coverage is prohibited by state or federal law or the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. All elections of coverage shall be made in accordance with the requirements of applicable county ordinances, administrative rules, county policies and applicable collective bargaining agreements. However, in no event shall an employee make an election for coverage of a domestic partner more than two times in a plan year.

(b)      Any County employee who is a party to a registered domestic partnership relationship under this ordinance shall be entitled to use all forms of leave provided by the County including, but not limited to, sick leave, annual leave, funeral leave and family leave to care for his or her domestic partner or the children or parents of the domestic partner as applicable. The use of leave authorized in this section shall be consistent with the applicable requirements in county ordinances, administrative rules, and collective bargaining agreements.

(c)     Unless prohibited by state or federal law or the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, all other benefits available to the spouses and children of County employees shall be made available on the same basis to the domestic partner, or child of such domestic partner, of a County employee who is a party to a registered domestic partnership relationship pursuant to this ordinance.

(d) Any County employee who obtains or attempts to obtain benefits under this provision fraudulently shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

(e) The Mayor is authorized and directed to take all actions necessary to implement the provisions of this section within ninety (90) days after this ordinance is enacted.

Sec. 11A-76. Health care facility visitation rights.

Whenever a domestic partner is a patient in a health care facility in Miami-Dade County, the health care facility shall afford:

(a) the domestic partner of the patient the same right to visit the patient as the facility would provide to the spouse of a patient;

(b) the parent of the domestic partner of the patient the same right to visit the patient as the facility would provide to the parent of a spouse of a patient.

(c) the children of a domestic partner of the patient the same right to visit the patient as the facility would provide to the children of a spouse of a patient.

Sec. 11A-77. Visitation rights at county correctional and juvenile detention facilities.

(a) Any person who is a party to a registered domestic partnership relationship, pursuant to section 11A-72, shall be entitled to visit his or her domestic partner, or other family member of the domestic partner, who is an inmate at a county correctional facility or a juvenile detention facility, upon the same terms and conditions under which visitation is afforded to spouses, children, or parents of inmates. Visitation rights provided by this section shall extend to any children of the domestic partners, and the domestic partners of an inmate’s parents or children.

(b) In any situation providing for mandatory or permissible notification of family members of inmates, including notification of family members in an emergency, or when permission is granted to inmates to contact family members, “notification of family” shall include domestic partners.

Sec. 11A-78. Recognition of domestic partnerships, civil unions and similar legal relationships registered in other jurisdictions

All rights, privileges and benefits provided to domestic partners registered under this ordinance shall be extended to persons legally registered as domestic partners, partners in a civil union, or partners in any similar legal relationship in another country or in another jurisdiction within the United States.

Sec. 11A-79. Enforcement

County employees who believe the County has violated any right established by this ordinance shall have the right to file a complaint with the Office of Fair Employment Practices in accordance with section 11A-37 and the rules promulgated by that Office. The terms of this ordinance may be enforced by persons other than County employees, and by County employees against private businesses, through the filing of a private action in any court of competent jurisdiction for declaratory or injunctive relief or both.


Section 2. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity.
Section 3. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance, including any sunset provision, shall become and be made a part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word “ordinance” may be changed to “section,” “article,” or other appropriate word.
Section 4. This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.



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