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Deadlines Loom For Dozier Memorials, BP Settlement Funds

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Gov. Rick Scott has until next week to decide on a proposal to create memorials for the victims of the shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. He also has one week to act on a measure that will send BP oil-spill settlement money to Northwest Florida counties hard hit by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The bills are among 37 that have a June 2 deadline for Scott to sign, veto or allow to become law without his signature. The Dozier monuments (HB 7115) would be placed at the Capitol complex in Tallahassee and in Jackson County, the site of the now-closed reform school where hundreds of boys said they were physically and sexually abused.

The House and Senate passed the legislation along with a formal apology for the Dozier abuses. The BP settlement measures (HB 7077 and HB 7079) steers to eight Gulf Coast counties $300 million of $400 million received by the state last year.

The eight counties --- Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla and Walton --- are also slated to get three-fourths of the remainder of the $2 billion the state is expected to receive for damages associated with the BP disaster, which dumped millions of gallons of oil less than 100 miles off the Florida coast. 

The board of directors for Triumph Gulf Coast, which will receive and allocate the money, voted last Monday to file incorporation documents once the bill is signed. The bill sets minimums for how much each county will receive and expands the Triumph board from five to seven, to give more representation for the less-populated counties.