440.44 Workers’ compensation; staff organization.—
(1) INTERPRETATION OF LAW.—As a guide to the interpretation of this chapter, the Legislature takes due notice of federal social and labor acts and hereby creates an agency to administer such acts passed for the benefit of employees and employers in Florida industry, and desires to meet the requirements of such federal acts wherever not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of Florida.
(2) INTENT.—It is the intent of the Legislature that the department, the agency, and the Division of Administrative Hearings assume an active and forceful role in its administration of this act, so as to ensure that the system operates efficiently and with maximum benefit to both employers and employees.
(3) EXPENDITURES.—The department, the agency, the office, and the director of the Division of Administrative Hearings shall make such expenditures, including expenditures for personal services and rent at the seat of government and elsewhere, for law books; for telephone services and WATS lines; for books of reference, periodicals, equipment, and supplies; and for printing and binding as may be necessary in the administration of this chapter. All expenditures in the administration of this chapter shall be allowed and paid as provided in s. 440.50 upon the presentation of itemized vouchers therefor approved by the department, the agency, the office, or the director of the Division of Administrative Hearings.
(4) PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATION.—Subject to the other provisions of this chapter, the department, the agency, the office, and the Division of Administrative Hearings may appoint, and prescribe the duties and powers of, bureau chiefs, attorneys, accountants, medical advisers, technical assistants, inspectors, claims examiners, and such other employees as may be necessary in the performance of their duties under this chapter.
(5) OFFICE.—The department, the agency, and the Deputy Chief Judge shall maintain and keep open during reasonable business hours an office, which shall be provided in the Capitol or some other suitable building in the City of Tallahassee, for the transaction of business under this chapter, at which office the official records and papers shall be kept. The office shall be furnished and equipped. The department, the agency, any judge of compensation claims, or the Deputy Chief Judge may hold sessions and conduct hearings at any place within the state. The Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims shall maintain the 17 district offices, 31 judges of compensation claims, and 31 mediators as they exist on June 30, 2001.
(6) SEAL.—The department and the judges of compensation claims shall have a seal upon which shall be inscribed the words “State of Florida Department of Financial Services—Seal” and “Division of Administrative Hearings—Seal,” respectively.
(7) DESTRUCTION OF OBSOLETE RECORDS.—The department is expressly authorized to provide by regulation for and to destroy obsolete records of the department. The Division of Administrative Hearings is expressly authorized to provide by regulation for and to destroy obsolete records of the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims.
(8) PROCEDURE.—In the exercise of their duties and functions requiring administrative hearings, the department and the agency shall proceed in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. The authority of the department and the agency to issue orders resulting from administrative hearings as provided for in this chapter shall not infringe upon the jurisdiction of the judges of compensation claims.
History.—s. 44, ch. 17481, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 5966(42); s. 15, ch. 18413, 1937; s. 1, ch. 20299, 1941; s. 1, ch. 21875, 1943; s. 4, ch. 22814, 1945; s. 1, ch. 23920, 1947; s. 10, ch. 26484, 1951; s. 11, ch. 28241, 1953; s. 24, ch. 57-1; s. 1, ch. 57-785; s. 1, ch. 57-156; s. 1, ch. 63-274; s. 19, ch. 63-400; s. 2, ch. 67-554; ss. 17, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 163, ch. 71-377; ss. 1, 2, ch. 72-143; s. 2, ch. 72-241; s. 1, ch. 73-283; s. 19, ch. 74-197; s. 21, ch. 75-209; s. 3, ch. 75-237; s. 23, ch. 78-300; s. 4, ch. 78-323; s. 18, ch. 79-7; ss. 33, 124, ch. 79-40; ss. 17, 21, ch. 79-312; s. 15, ch. 80-236; ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 81-76; s. 10, ch. 81-119; ss. 1, 4, ch. 82-46; ss. 22, 42, 43, ch. 89-289; ss. 37, 56, ch. 90-201; ss. 35, 52, ch. 91-1; s. 33, ch. 91-46; s. 24, ch. 2001-91; s. 45, ch. 2002-194; s. 488, ch. 2003-261; s. 5, ch. 2012-135.