Florida - State services



To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security (created in 2002 following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001), homeland security in Florida in 2003 operated under state statute; the public safety commissioner, designated as the state homeland security advisor, oversaw programs in training and law enforcement.

A "Sunshine" amendment to the constitution and a statutory code of ethics require financial disclosure by elected officials and top-level public employees; the code prohibits actions by officials and employees that would constitute a conflict of interest. The Commission on Ethics, established in 1974, is empowered to investigate complaints of breach of public trust or violation of the code of ethics. In addition, an auditor general appointed by the legislature conducts financial and performance audits of state agencies.

Educational services are provided by the State Department of Education, which sets overall policy and adopts comprehensive objectives for public education, operates the state university and community college systems, and issues bonds (as authorized by the state constitution) to finance capital projects. The Department of Transportation is responsible for developing long-range transportation plans and for construction and maintenance of the state highway system. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles licenses drivers, regulates the registration and sale of motor vehicles, and administers the Florida Highway Patrol.

Health and welfare services are the responsibility primarily of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. In 1994, this department operated 16 major institutions and 71 other facilities, including mental hospitals, institutions for the mentally retarded, alcoholic treatment centers, and training schools for juvenile delinquents. In addition, the department administers such social welfare programs as Medicaid, aid to families with dependent children, food stamps, home health care, and foster care and adoption. It is also responsible for disease prevention and for assisting localities in performing health services.

The Department of Corrections maintains approximately 50 major correctional institutions. The Corrections Commission reviews the state's correctional efforts, recommends policies, and evaluates the implementation of approved policies. The Department of Law Enforcement is responsible for maintaining public order and enforcing the state criminal code; enforcement activities emphasize combating organized crime, vice, and racketeering. The state's Army and Air National Guard are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Military Affairs. The Florida Highway Patrol, within the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, is the only statewide uniformed police force.

The Housing Finance Agency, created in 1980, encourages the investment of private capital in residential housing through the use of public financing. The Northwest Florida Regional Housing Authority provides housing for low-income and other residents of that area. The Florida Housing Advisory Council assists the Department of Community Affairs in carrying out its duties related to housing. The Division of Local Resource Management is designated as the state's housing and urban development agency.

The Department of Labor and Employment Security enforces legislation protecting the state's workers (including child labor and industrial safety laws) and administers the federally funded workers' compensation and unemployment insurance programs and the State Employment Service, whose offices provide employment counseling and assist in job placement. Included in the department are the Division of Employment and Training and the Division of Employment Security. The Department of Administration includes the Division of Personnel, Office of Career Service and State Retirement Commissions, Florida Commission on Human Relations, and Division of Veterans Affairs.

The Department of State manages state historic sites, archives, museums, libraries, and fine arts centers. Enterprise Florida supports new business starts in the state, and the Technology Office encourages high-tech industry.



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