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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XIX
PUBLIC BUSINESS
Chapter 288
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
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CHAPTER 288
CHAPTER 288
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
PART I
GENERAL PROVISIONS
(ss. 288.0001-288.1258)
PART II
DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE
(ss. 288.13-288.33)
PART III
FOREIGN TRADE ZONES
(ss. 288.35-288.38)
PART IV
SMALL AND MINORITY BUSINESS
(ss. 288.7015-288.714)
PART V
EXPORT FINANCE
(ss. 288.770-288.778)
PART VI
GULF COAST ECONOMIC CORRIDOR
(ss. 288.80-288.8018)
PART VII
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
(ss. 288.816-288.860)
PART VIII
CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT
(ss. 288.9602-288.9619)
PART IX
CAPITAL FORMATION
(ss. 288.9621-288.9627)
PART X
DEFENSE CONVERSION AND TRANSITION
(ss. 288.972-288.987)
PART XI
MICROFINANCE PROGRAMS
(ss. 288.993-288.9935)
PART XII
FLORIDA OFFICE OF BROADBAND
(ss. 288.9961-288.9963)
PART I
GENERAL PROVISIONS
288.0001 Economic Development Programs Evaluation.
288.001 The Florida Small Business Development Center Network.
288.002 Public records exemption for certain materials held by the former Enterprise Florida, Inc.
288.005 Definitions.
288.006 General operation of loan programs.
288.0065 Annual incentives report.
288.007 Inventory of communities seeking to recruit businesses.
288.0071 Economic incentives to foreign countries of concern prohibited.
288.012 State of Florida international offices; direct-support organization.
288.017 Cooperative advertising matching grants program.
288.018 Regional Rural Development Grants Program.
288.019 Rural considerations in grant review and evaluation processes.
288.021 Economic development liaison.
288.0251 International development outreach activities in Latin America and Caribbean Basin.
288.035 Economic development activities.
288.037 Department of State; agreement with county tax collector.
288.041 Solar energy industry; legislative findings and policy; promotional activities.
288.0415 Solar energy; advancement; economic development strategy.
288.046 Quick-response training; legislative intent.
288.047 Quick-response training for economic development.
288.061 Economic development incentive application process.
288.065 Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Fund.
288.0655 Rural Infrastructure Fund.
288.0656 Rural Economic Development Initiative.
288.06561 Reduction or waiver of financial match requirements.
288.0657 Florida rural economic development strategy grants.
288.0658 Nature-based recreation; promotion and other assistance by Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
288.0659 Local Government Distressed Area Matching Grant Program.
288.066 Local Government Emergency Revolving Bridge Loan Program.
288.075 Confidentiality of records.
288.076 Return on investment reporting for economic development programs.
288.095 Economic Development Trust Fund.
288.101 Florida Job Growth Grant Fund.
288.107 Brownfield redevelopment bonus refunds.
288.108 High-impact business.
288.1097 Qualified job training organizations; certification; duties.
288.111 Information concerning local manufacturing development programs.
288.1162 Professional sports franchises; duties.
288.11621 Spring training baseball franchises.
288.11631 Retention of Major League Baseball spring training baseball franchises.
288.1166 Professional sports facility; designation as shelter site for the homeless; establishment of local programs.
288.1167 Sports franchise contract provisions for food and beverage concession and contract awards to minority business enterprises.
288.1175 Agriculture education and promotion facility.
288.1201 State Economic Enhancement and Development Trust Fund.
288.122 Tourism Promotional Trust Fund.
288.1226 Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation; use of property; board of directors; duties; audit.
288.12265 Welcome centers.
288.12266 Targeted Marketing Assistance Program.
288.1229 Promotion and development of sports-related industries and amateur athletics; direct-support organization established; powers and duties.
288.124 Convention grants program.
288.125 Definition of “entertainment industry.”
288.1258 Entertainment industry qualified production companies; application procedure; categories; duties of the Department of Revenue; records and reports.
288.0001 Economic Development Programs Evaluation.The Office of Economic and Demographic Research and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) shall develop and present to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the chairs of the legislative appropriations committees the Economic Development Programs Evaluation.
(1) The Office of Economic and Demographic Research and OPPAGA shall coordinate the development of a work plan for completing the Economic Development Programs Evaluation and shall submit the work plan to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by July 1, 2013.
(2) The Office of Economic and Demographic Research and OPPAGA shall provide a detailed analysis of economic development programs as provided in the following schedule:
(a) By January 1, 2014, and every 3 years thereafter, an analysis of the following:
1. The capital investment tax credit established under s. 220.191.
12. Space Florida established under s. 331.302.
3. The research and development tax credit established under s. 220.196.
4. The Urban High-Crime Area Job Tax Credit Program established under s. 212.097 and authorized under s. 220.1895.
5. The Rural Job Tax Credit Program established under s. 212.098 and authorized under s. 220.1895.
6. The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund established under s. 288.101.
7. The brownfield redevelopment bonus refund established under s. 288.107.
(b) By January 1, 2015, and every 3 years thereafter, an analysis of:
1. The entertainment industry sales tax exemption program established under s. 288.1258.
2. VISIT Florida and its programs established or funded under ss. 288.122-288.12265 and 288.124.
3. The Florida Sports Foundation and related programs, including those established under ss. 288.1162, 288.11621, 288.1166, and 288.1167.
(c) By January 1, 2016, and every 3 years thereafter, an analysis of the following:
1. The tax exemption for semiconductor, defense, or space technology sales established under s. 212.08(5)(j).
2. The Military Base Protection Program established under s. 288.980.
3. The Quick Response Training Program established under s. 288.047.
4. The Incumbent Worker Training Program established under s. 445.003.
5. The direct-support organization and international trade and business development programs established or funded under s. 288.012 or s. 288.826.
6. The program established under s. 295.22(2).
(d) By January 1, 2024, and every 3 years thereafter, an analysis of Space Florida established under part II of chapter 331.
(3) Pursuant to the schedule established in subsection (2), the Office of Economic and Demographic Research shall evaluate and determine the economic benefits, as defined in s. 288.005, of each program over the previous 3 years. The analysis must also evaluate the number of jobs created, the increase or decrease in personal income, and the impact on state gross domestic product from the direct, indirect, and induced effects of the state’s investment in each program over the previous 3 years.
(a) For the purpose of evaluating tax credits, tax refunds, sales tax exemptions, cash grants, and similar programs, the Office of Economic and Demographic Research shall evaluate data only from those projects in which businesses received state funds during the evaluation period. Such projects may be fully completed, partially completed with future fund disbursal possible pending performance measures, or partially completed with no future fund disbursal possible as a result of a business’s inability to meet performance measures.
(b) The analysis must use the model developed by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, as required in s. 216.138, to evaluate each program. The office shall provide a written explanation of the key assumptions of the model and how it is used. If the office finds that another evaluation model is more appropriate to evaluate a program, it may use another model, but it must provide an explanation as to why the selected model was more appropriate.
(4) Pursuant to the schedule established in subsection (2), OPPAGA shall evaluate each program over the previous 3 years for its effectiveness and value to the taxpayers of this state and include recommendations on each program for consideration by the Legislature. The analysis may include relevant economic development reports or analyses prepared by the department or local or regional economic development organizations, interviews with the parties involved, or any other relevant data.
(5) The Office of Economic and Demographic Research and OPPAGA must be given access to all data necessary to complete the Economic Development Programs Evaluation, including any confidential data. The offices may collaborate on data collection and analysis.
History.s. 1, ch. 2013-39; s. 1, ch. 2013-42; s. 6, ch. 2014-1; s. 19, ch. 2014-18; s. 3, ch. 2014-167; s. 3, ch. 2014-218; s. 26, ch. 2018-110; s. 35, ch. 2021-31; s. 1, ch. 2023-161; s. 31, ch. 2023-173; s. 2, ch. 2023-200.
1Note.As added by s. 31, ch. 2023-173. Section 2, ch. 2023-200, added paragraph (2)(e), redesignated as paragraph (2)(d) by the editors incident to compilation of the section, setting an every-3-year analysis of Space Florida with a January 1, 2024, start date. Section 12, ch. 2023-200, provides that “[i]n the event of a conflict of any provision of this act with the provisions of any other act, the provisions of this act shall control to the extent of such conflict.”
288.001 The Florida Small Business Development Center Network.
(1) PURPOSE.The Florida Small Business Development Center Network is the principal business assistance organization for small businesses in the state. The purpose of the network is to serve emerging and established for-profit, privately held businesses that maintain a place of business in the state.
(2) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Board of Governors” means the Board of Governors of the State University System.
(b) “Host institution” means the university designated by the Board of Governors to be the recipient organization in accordance with 13 C.F.R. s. 130.200.
(c) “Network” means the Florida Small Business Development Center Network.
(3) OPERATION; POLICIES AND PROGRAMS.
(a) The network’s statewide director shall operate the network in compliance with the federal laws and regulations governing the network and the Board of Governors Regulation 10.015.
(b) The network’s statewide director shall consult with the Board of Governors, the department, and the network’s statewide advisory board to ensure that the network’s policies and programs align with the statewide goals of the State University System and the statewide strategic economic development plan as provided under s. 20.60.
(4) STATEWIDE ADVISORY BOARD.
(a) The network shall maintain a statewide advisory board to advise, counsel, and confer with the statewide director on matters pertaining to the operation of the network.
(b) The statewide advisory board shall consist of 19 members from across the state. At least 12 members must be representatives of the private sector who are knowledgeable of the needs and challenges of small businesses. The members must represent various segments and industries of the economy in this state and must bring knowledge and skills to the statewide advisory board which would enhance the board’s collective knowledge of small business assistance needs and challenges. Minority and gender representation must be considered when making appointments to the board. The board must include the following members:
1. Three members appointed from the private sector by the President of the Senate.
2. Three members appointed from the private sector by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
3. Three members appointed from the private sector by the Governor.
4. Three members appointed from the private sector by the network’s statewide director.
5. One member appointed by the host institution.
6. The Secretary of Commerce or his or her designee.
7. The Chief Financial Officer or his or her designee.
8. The President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce or his or her designee.
9. The Small Business Development Center Project Officer from the U.S. Small Business Administration at the South Florida District Office or his or her designee.
10. The executive director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Florida, or his or her designee.
11. The executive director of the Florida United Business Association or his or her designee.
(c) The term of an appointed member shall be for 4 years, beginning August 1, 2013, except that at the time of initial appointments, two members appointed by the Governor, one member appointed by the President of the Senate, one member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and one member appointed by the network’s statewide director shall be appointed for 2 years. An appointed member may be reappointed to a subsequent term. Members of the statewide advisory board may not receive compensation but may be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses in accordance with s. 112.061.
(5) SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES; AGREEMENT.
(a) The statewide director, in consultation with the advisory board, shall develop support services that are delivered through regional small business development centers. Support services must target the needs of businesses that employ fewer than 100 persons and demonstrate an assessed capacity to grow in employment or revenue.
(b) Support services must include, but need not be limited to, providing information or research, consulting, educating, or assisting businesses in the following activities:
1. Planning related to the start-up, operation, or expansion of a small business enterprise in this state. Such activities include providing guidance on business formation, structure, management, registration, regulation, and taxes.
2. Developing and implementing strategic or business plans. Such activities include analyzing a business’s mission, vision, strategies, and goals; critiquing the overall plan; and creating performance measures.
3. Developing the financial literacy of existing businesses related to their business cash flow and financial management plans. Such activities include conducting financial analysis health checks, assessing cost control management techniques, and building financial management strategies and solutions.
4. Developing and implementing plans for existing businesses to access or expand to new or existing markets. Such activities include conducting market research, researching and identifying expansion opportunities in international markets, and identifying opportunities in selling to units of government.
5. Supporting access to capital for business investment and expansion. Such activities include providing technical assistance relating to obtaining surety bonds; identifying and assessing potential debt or equity investors or other financing opportunities; assisting in the preparation of applications, projections, or pro forma or other support documentation for surety bond, loan, financing, or investment requests; and facilitating conferences with lenders or investors.
6. Assisting existing businesses to plan for a natural or manmade disaster, and assisting businesses when such an event occurs. Such activities include creating business continuity and disaster plans, preparing disaster and bridge loan applications, and carrying out other emergency support functions.
(c) A business receiving support services must agree to participate in assessments of such services. The agreement, at a minimum, must request the business to report demographic characteristics, changes in employment and sales, debt and equity capital attained, and government contracts acquired. The host institution may require additional reporting requirements for funding described in subsection (7).
(6) REQUIRED MATCH.The network must provide a match equal to the total amount of any direct legislative appropriation which is received directly by the host institution and is specifically designated for the network. The match may include funds from federal or other nonstate funding sources designated for the network. At least 50 percent of the match must be cash. The remaining 50 percent may be provided through any allowable combination of additional cash, in-kind contributions, or indirect costs.
(7) ADDITIONAL STATE FUNDS; USES; PAY-PER-PERFORMANCE INCENTIVES; STATEWIDE SERVICE; SERVICE ENHANCEMENTS; BEST PRACTICES; ELIGIBILITY.
(a) The statewide director, in coordination with the host institution, shall establish a pay-per-performance incentive for regional small business development centers. Such incentive shall be funded from half of any state appropriation received directly by the host institution, which appropriation is specifically designated for the network. These funds shall be distributed to the regional small business development centers based upon data collected from the businesses as provided under paragraph (5)(c). The distribution formula must provide for the distribution of funds in part on the gross number of jobs created annually by each center and in part on the number of jobs created per support service hour. The pay-per-performance incentive must supplement the operations and support services of each regional small business development center.
(b) Half of any state funds received directly by the host institution which are specifically designated for the network shall be distributed by the statewide director, in coordination with the advisory board, for the following purposes:
1. Ensuring that support services are available statewide, especially in underserved and rural areas of the state, to assist eligible businesses;
2. Enhancing participation in the network among state universities and colleges; and
3. Facilitating the adoption of innovative small business assistance best practices by the regional small business development centers.
(c) The statewide director, in coordination with the advisory board, shall develop annual programs to distribute funds for each of the purposes described in paragraph (b). The network shall announce the annual amount of available funds for each program, performance expectations, and other requirements. For each program, the statewide director shall present applications and recommendations to the advisory board. The advisory board shall make the final approval of applications. Approved applications must be publicly posted. At a minimum, programs must include:
1. New regional small business development centers; and
2. Awards for the top six regional small business development centers that adopt best practices, as determined by the advisory board. Detailed information about best practices must be made available to regional small business development centers for voluntary implementation.
(d) A regional small business development center that has been found by the statewide director to perform poorly, to engage in improper activity affecting the operation and integrity of the network, or to fail to follow the rules and procedures set forth in the laws, regulations, and policies governing the network, is not eligible for funds under this subsection.
(e) Funds awarded under this subsection may not reduce matching funds dedicated to the regional small business development centers.
(8) REPORTING.
(a) The statewide director shall quarterly update the Board of Governors, the department, and the advisory board on the network’s progress and outcomes, including aggregate information on businesses assisted by the network.
(b) The statewide director, in coordination with the advisory board, shall annually report, on October 1, to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the network’s progress and outcomes for the previous fiscal year. The report must include aggregate information on businesses assisted by the network; network services and programs; the use of all federal, state, local, and private funds received by the network and the regional small business development centers, including any additional funds specifically appropriated by the Legislature for the purposes described in subsection (7); and the network’s economic benefit to the state. The report must contain specific information on performance-based metrics and contain the methodology used to calculate the network’s economic benefit to the state.
History.s. 1, ch. 2008-149; s. 9, ch. 2013-39; s. 43, ch. 2014-17; s. 17, ch. 2015-2; s. 32, ch. 2023-173.
288.002 Public records exemption for certain materials held by the former Enterprise Florida, Inc.Materials that relate to methods of manufacture or production, potential trade secrets, potentially patentable material, actual trade secrets, business transactions, financial and proprietary information, and agreements or proposals to receive funding that are received, generated, ascertained, or discovered by the former Enterprise Florida, Inc., including its affiliates or subsidiaries and partnership participants, such as private enterprises, educational institutions, and other organizations, are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except that a recipient of the former Enterprise Florida, Inc., research funds shall make available, upon request, the title and description of the research project, the name of the researcher, and the amount and source of funding provided for the project. Effective July 1, 2023, the Department of Commerce is the custodian of any public records made confidential and exempt under this section.
History.s. 17, ch. 89-381; s. 81, ch. 90-360; s. 13, ch. 93-187; s. 1, ch. 95-230; s. 99, ch. 96-320; s. 147, ch. 96-406; s. 39, ch. 99-251; s. 90, ch. 2023-173.
Note.Former s. 240.539(7); s. 288.9520.
288.005 Definitions.As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “County destination marketing organization” means a public or private agency that is funded by local option tourist development tax revenues under s. 125.0104, or local option convention development tax revenues under s. 212.0305, and is officially designated by a county commission to market and promote the area for tourism or convention business or, in any county that has not levied such taxes, a public or private agency that is officially designated by the county commission to market and promote the area for tourism or convention business.
(2) “Department” means the Department of Economic Opportunity.
(3) “Economic benefits” means the direct, indirect, and induced gains in state revenues as a percentage of the state’s investment. The state’s investment includes state grants, tax exemptions, tax refunds, tax credits, and other state incentives.
(4) “Jobs” means full-time equivalent positions, including, but not limited to, positions obtained from a temporary employment agency or employee leasing company or through a union agreement or coemployment under a professional employer organization agreement, which result directly from a project in this state. This number does not include temporary construction jobs involved with the construction of facilities for the project.
(5) “Loan administrator” means an entity statutorily eligible to receive state funds and authorized by the department to make loans under a loan program.
(6) “Loan program” means a program established in this chapter to provide appropriated funds to an eligible entity to further a specific state purpose for a limited period of time and with a requirement that such appropriated funds be repaid to the state. The term includes a “loan fund” or “loan pilot program” administered by the department under this chapter.
(7) “Target industry business” means a corporate headquarters business or any business that is engaged in one of the target industries identified pursuant to the following criteria developed by the Department of Commerce:
(a) Future growth.The industry forecast indicates strong expectation for future growth in employment and output, according to the most recent available data. Special consideration should be given to businesses that export goods to, or provide services in, international markets and businesses that onshore business operations to replace domestic and international imports of goods or services.
(b) Stability.The industry is not subject to periodic layoffs, whether due to seasonality or sensitivity to volatile economic variables such as weather. The industry is also relatively resistant to recession, so that the demand for products of this industry is not typically subject to decline during an economic downturn.
(c) High wage.The industry pays relatively high wages compared to statewide or area averages.
(d) Market and resource independent.The industry business location is not dependent on markets or resources in the state as indicated by industry analysis, except for businesses in the renewable energy industry.
(e) Industrial base diversification and strengthening.The industry contributes toward expanding or diversifying the state’s or area’s economic base, as indicated by analysis of employment and output shares compared to national and regional trends. Special consideration should be given to industries that strengthen regional economies by adding value to basic products or building regional industrial clusters as indicated by industry analysis. Special consideration should also be given to the development of strong industrial clusters that include defense and homeland security businesses.
(f) Positive economic impact.The industry has strong positive economic impacts on or benefits to the state or regional economies. Special consideration should be given to industries that facilitate the development of the state as a hub for domestic and global trade and logistics.

The term does not include any business engaged in retail industry activities; any electrical utility company as defined in s. 366.02(4); any phosphate or other solid minerals severance, mining, or processing operation; any oil or gas exploration or production operation; or any business subject to regulation by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Any business within NAICS code 5611 or NAICS code 5614, office administrative services and business support services, respectively, may be considered a target industry business only after the local governing body and the Department of Commerce determine that the community in which the business may locate has conditions affecting the fiscal and economic viability of the local community or area, including, but not limited to, low per capita income, high unemployment, high underemployment, and a lack of year-round stable employment opportunities, and such conditions may be improved by the business locating in such community. By January 1 of every 3rd year, beginning January 1, 2011, the Department of Commerce, in consultation with economic development organizations, the State University System, local governments, employee and employer organizations, market analysts, and economists, shall review and, as appropriate, revise the list of target industries and submit the list to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(8) “Tourism marketing” means any effort exercised to attract domestic and international visitors from outside the state to destinations in this state and to stimulate Florida resident tourism to areas within the state.
(9) “Tourist” means any person who participates in trade or recreation activities outside the county of his or her permanent residence or who rents or leases transient living quarters or accommodations as described in s. 125.0104(3)(a).
History.s. 17, ch. 2011-142; s. 10, ch. 2013-39; s. 10, ch. 2013-42; s. 4, ch. 2014-218; s. 21, ch. 2021-25; s. 33, ch. 2023-173.
288.006 General operation of loan programs.
(1) The Legislature intends to promote the goals of accountability and proper stewardship by recipients of loan program funds. This section applies to all loan programs established under this chapter.
(2) State funds appropriated for a loan program may be used only by an eligible recipient or loan administrator, and the use of such funds is restricted to the specific state purpose of the loan program, subject to any compensation due to a loan administrator as provided under this chapter. State funds may be awarded directly by the department to an eligible recipient or awarded by the department to a loan administrator. All state funds, including any interest earned, remain state funds unless otherwise stated in the statutory requirements of the loan program.
(3)(a) Upon termination of a loan program by the Legislature or by statute, all appropriated funds shall revert to the General Revenue Fund. The department shall pay the entity for any allowable administrative expenses due to the loan administrator as provided under this chapter, unless otherwise required by law.
(b) Upon termination of a contract between the department and an eligible recipient or loan administrator, all remaining appropriated funds shall revert to the fund from which the appropriation was made. The department shall become the successor entity for any outstanding loans. Except in the case of the termination of a contract for fraud or a finding that the loan administrator was not meeting the terms of the program, the department shall pay the entity for any allowable administrative expenses due to the loan administrator as provided under this chapter.
(c) The eligible recipient or loan administrator to which this subsection applies shall execute all appropriate instruments to reconcile any remaining accounts associated with a terminated loan program or contract. The entity shall execute all appropriate instruments to ensure that the department is authorized to collect all receivables for outstanding loans, including, but not limited to, assignments of promissory notes and mortgages.
(4) An eligible recipient or loan administrator must avoid any potential conflict of interest regarding the use of appropriated funds for a loan program. An eligible recipient or loan administrator or a board member, employee, or agent thereof, or an immediate family member of a board member, employee, or agent, may not have a financial interest in an entity that is awarded a loan under a loan program. A loan may not be made to a person or entity if a conflict of interest exists between the parties involved. As used in this subsection, the term “immediate family” means a parent, spouse, child, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild related by blood or marriage.
(5) In determining eligibility for an entity applying for the award of funds directly by the department or applying for selection as a loan administrator for a loan program, the department shall evaluate each applicant’s business practices, financial stability, and past performance in other state programs, in addition to the loan program’s statutory requirements. Eligibility of an entity applying to be a recipient or loan administrator may be conditionally granted or denied outright if the department determines that the entity is noncompliant with any law, rule, or program requirement.
(6) Recurring use of state funds, including revolving loans or new negotiable instruments, which have been repaid to the loan administrator may be made if the loan program’s statutory structure permits. However, any use of state funds made by a loan administrator remains subject to subsections (2) and (3), and compensation to a loan administrator may not exceed any limitation provided by this chapter.
(7) The Auditor General may conduct audits as provided in s. 11.45 to verify that the appropriations under each loan program are expended by the eligible recipient or loan administrator as required for each program. If the Auditor General determines that the appropriations are not expended as required, the Auditor General shall notify the department, which may pursue recovery of the funds. This section does not prevent the department from pursuing recovery of the appropriated loan program funds when necessary to protect the funds or when authorized by law.
(8) The department may adopt rules under ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 as necessary to carry out this section.
History.s. 5, ch. 2014-218.
288.0065 Annual incentives report.By December 30 of each year, the department shall provide the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a detailed incentives report quantifying the economic benefits for all of the economic development incentive programs administered by the department and its public-private partnerships. The annual incentives report must include:
(1) For each incentive program:
(a) A brief description of the incentive program.
(b) The amount of awards granted, by year, since inception and the annual amount actually transferred from the state treasury to businesses or for the benefit of businesses for each of the previous 3 years.
(2) For projects completed during the previous state fiscal year:
(a) The number of economic development incentive applications received.
(b) The number of final decisions issued by the department for approval and for denial.
(c) The projects for which a tax refund, tax credit, or cash grant agreement was executed, identifying for each project:
1. The number of jobs committed to be created.
2. The amount of capital investments committed to be made.
3. The annual average wage committed to be paid.
4. The amount of state economic development incentives committed to the project from each incentive program under the project’s terms of agreement with the Department of Commerce.
5. The amount and type of local matching funds committed to the project.
(d) Tax refunds paid or other payments made funded out of the Economic Development Incentives Account for each project.
(e) The types of projects supported.
(3) For economic development projects that received tax refunds, tax credits, or cash grants under the terms of an agreement for incentives:
(a) The number of jobs actually created.
(b) The amount of capital investments actually made.
(c) The annual average wage paid.
(4) For a project receiving economic development incentives approved by the department and receiving federal or local incentives, a description of the federal or local incentives, if available.
(5) The number of withdrawn or terminated projects that did not fulfill the terms of their agreements with the department and, consequently, are not receiving incentives.
(6) The amount of tax refunds, tax credits, or other payments made to projects locating or expanding in state enterprise zones, rural communities, brownfield areas, or distressed urban communities. The report must include a separate analysis of the impact of such tax refunds on state enterprise zones designated under s. 290.0065, rural communities, brownfield areas, and distressed urban communities.
(7) An identification of the target industry businesses and high-impact businesses.
(8) A description of the trends relating to business interest in, and usage of, the various incentives, and the number of minority-owned or woman-owned businesses receiving incentives.
(9) An identification of incentive programs not used and recommendations for program changes or program elimination.
(10) Information related to the validation of contractor performance required under s. 288.061.
History.s. 28, ch. 2011-142; s. 31, ch. 2013-39; s. 33, ch. 2013-42; s. 83, ch. 2023-173.
Note.Former s. 288.907.
288.007 Inventory of communities seeking to recruit businesses.By September 30 of each year, a county or municipality that has a population of at least 25,000 or its local economic development organization must submit to the department a brief overview of the strengths, services, and economic development incentives that its community offers. The local government or its local economic development organization also must identify any industries that it is encouraging to locate or relocate to its area. A county or municipality having a population of 25,000 or fewer or its local economic development organization seeking to recruit businesses may submit information as required in this section and may participate in any activity or initiative resulting from the collection, analysis, and reporting of the information to the department pursuant to this section.
History.s. 29, ch. 2011-142; s. 85, ch. 2023-173.
Note.Former s. 288.912.
288.0071 Economic incentives to foreign countries of concern prohibited.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Controlled by” means having possession of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management or policies of a company, whether through ownership of securities, by contract, or otherwise. A person or entity that directly or indirectly has the right to vote 25 percent or more of the voting interests of the company or that is entitled to 25 percent or more of its profits is presumed to control the foreign entity.
(b) “Economic incentive” means all programs administered by, or for which an applicant for the program must seek certification, approval, or other action by, the department under this chapter, chapter 212, or chapter 220; and all local economic development programs, grants, or financial benefits administered by a political subdivision or an agent thereof.
(c) “Foreign country of concern” has the same meaning as in s. 692.201.
(d) “Foreign entity” means an entity that is:
1. Owned or controlled by the government of a foreign country of concern; or
2. A partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of persons organized under the laws of or having its principal place of business in a foreign country of concern, or a subsidiary of such entity.
(e) “Government entity” means a state agency; a political subdivision; or any other public or private agency, person, partnership, corporation, or business entity acting on behalf of any public agency.
(2) A government entity may not knowingly enter into an agreement or contract for an economic incentive with a foreign entity.
(3) Before providing any economic incentive, a government entity must require the recipient or applicant to provide the government entity with an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury attesting that the recipient or applicant is not a foreign entity.
(4) The department shall adopt rules to administer this section, including rules establishing the form for the affidavit required under subsection (3).
History.s. 2, ch. 2023-33.
288.012 State of Florida international offices; direct-support organization.The Legislature finds that the expansion of international trade and tourism is vital to the overall health and growth of the economy of this state. This expansion is hampered by the lack of technical and business assistance, financial assistance, and information services for businesses in this state. The Legislature finds that these businesses could be assisted by providing these services at State of Florida international offices. The Legislature further finds that the accessibility and provision of services at these offices can be enhanced through cooperative agreements or strategic alliances between private businesses and state, local, and international governmental entities.
(1) The department is authorized to:
(a) Establish and operate offices in other countries for the purpose of promoting trade and economic development opportunities of the state, and promoting the gathering of trade data information and research on trade opportunities in specific countries.
(b) Enter into agreements with governmental and private sector entities to establish and operate offices in other countries which contain provisions that may conflict with the general laws of the state pertaining to the purchase of office space, employment of personnel, and contracts for services. When agreements pursuant to this section are made which set compensation in another country’s currency, such agreements shall be subject to the requirements of s. 215.425, but the purchase of another country’s currency by the department to meet such obligations shall be subject only to s. 216.311.
(2) Each international office shall have in place an operational plan approved by the participating boards or other governing authority, a copy of which shall be provided to the department. These operating plans shall be reviewed and updated each fiscal year and shall include, at a minimum, the following:
(a) Specific policies and procedures encompassing the entire scope of the operation and management of each office.
(b) A comprehensive, commercial strategic plan identifying marketing opportunities and industry sector priorities for the country in which an international office is located.
(c) Provisions for access to information for Florida businesses related to trade leads and inquiries.
(d) Identification of new and emerging market opportunities for Florida businesses. This information shall be provided either free of charge or on a fee basis with fees set only to recover the costs of providing the information.
(e) Provision of access for Florida businesses to international trade assistance services provided by state and local entities, seaport and airport information, and other services identified by the department.
(f) Qualitative and quantitative performance measures for each office, including, but not limited to, the number of businesses assisted, the number of trade leads and inquiries generated, the number of international buyers and importers contacted, and the amount and type of marketing conducted.
(3) Each international office shall annually submit to the department a complete and detailed report on its activities and accomplishments during the previous fiscal year. The report must set forth information on:
(a) The number of Florida companies assisted.
(b) The number of inquiries received about investment opportunities in this state.
(c) The number of trade leads generated.
(d) The number of investment projects announced.
(e) The estimated U.S. dollar value of sales confirmations.
(f) The number of representation agreements.
(g) The number of company consultations.
(h) Barriers or other issues affecting the effective operation of the office.
(i) Changes in office operations which are planned for the current fiscal year.
(j) Marketing activities conducted.
(k) Strategic alliances formed with organizations in the country in which the office is located.
(l) Activities conducted with Florida’s other international offices.
(m) Any other information that the office believes would contribute to an understanding of its activities.
(4) The Department of Commerce, in connection with the establishment, operation, and management of any of its offices located in another country, is exempt from the provisions of ss. 255.21, 255.25, and 255.254 relating to leasing of buildings; ss. 283.33 and 283.35 relating to bids for printing; ss. 287.001-287.20 relating to purchasing and motor vehicles; and ss. 282.003-282.00515 and 282.702-282.7101 relating to communications, and from all statutory provisions relating to state employment.
(a) The department may exercise such exemptions only upon prior approval of the Governor.
(b) If approval for an exemption under this section is granted as an integral part of a plan of operation for a specified international office, such action shall constitute continuing authority for the department to exercise the exemption, but only in the context and upon the terms originally granted. Any modification of the approved plan of operation with respect to an exemption contained therein must be resubmitted to the Governor for his or her approval. An approval granted to exercise an exemption in any other context shall be restricted to the specific instance for which the exemption is to be exercised.
(c) As used in this subsection, the term “plan of operation” means the plan developed pursuant to subsection (2).
(d) Upon final action by the Governor with respect to a request to exercise the exemption authorized in this subsection, the department shall report such action, along with the original request and any modifications thereto, to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives within 30 days.
(5) Where feasible and appropriate, international offices established and operated under this section may provide one-stop access to the economic development, trade, and tourism information, services, and programs of the state. Where feasible and appropriate, such offices may also be collocated with other international offices of the state.
(6)(a) The department shall establish and contract with a direct-support organization, organized as a nonprofit under chapter 617 and recognized under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, to carry out the provisions of this section; assist with the coordination of international trade development efforts; and assist in development and planning related to foreign investment, international partnerships, and other international business and trade development. The organization is exempt from paying fees under s. 617.0122.
(b) The direct-support organization shall act as the international trade and travel mission organization for the state, utilizing private sector and public sector expertise in collaboration with the department. The direct-support organization shall provide assistance and promotional support for international offices, trade and promotion, development and planning related to foreign investment, international partnerships, and other international business and trade development in conjunction with the department. The direct-support organization may coordinate and plan international trade missions, including setting up travel, arranging for participation by Florida businesses, and tracking data related to outcomes of the trade missions on behalf of the department. The organization shall comply with the per diem and travel expense provisions of s. 112.061.
(c)1. The direct-support organization shall be governed by a board of directors. The Secretary of Commerce, or his or her designee, shall serve as the ex officio, nonvoting executive director of the board. The Secretary of Commerce, or his or her designee, shall appoint seven board members, including a chair of the board. Appointed members must represent and reflect the state’s interest in international trade and development efforts and have experience or knowledge that will assist in development and planning related to foreign investment, international partnerships, and other international business and trade development. All appointments must be made by December 1, 2023.
2. Appointed members shall serve for a term of 4 years. A vacancy shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term in the same manner as the initial appointment. All members of the board are eligible for reappointment.
3. Members of the board of directors shall serve without compensation; however, the members may be reimbursed for reasonable, necessary, and actual travel expenses pursuant to s. 112.061.
4. The board of directors shall meet at least quarterly and at other times upon the call of the chair, and may use any method of telecommunications to conduct, or establish a quorum at, its meetings or the meetings of a subcommittee or other subdivision if the public is given proper notice of the telecommunications meeting and provided reasonable access to observe and, if appropriate, to participate. A majority of the total current membership of the board of directors constitutes a quorum of the board.
(d) The senior managers and members of the board of directors of the organization 1are subject to ss. 112.313(1)-(8), (10), (12), and (15); 112.3135; and 112.3143(2). For purposes of applying ss. 112.313(1)-(8), (10), (12), and (15); 112.3135; and 112.3143(2) to activities of the president and staff, those persons shall be considered public officers or employees and the corporation shall be considered their agency. The exemption set forth in s. 112.313(12) for advisory boards applies to the members of board of directors. Further, each member of the board of directors who is not otherwise required to file financial disclosures pursuant to s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution or s. 112.3144, shall file disclosure of financial interests pursuant to s. 112.3145.
(e) The Legislature determines it is in the public interest and reflects the state’s public policy that the direct-support organization operate in the most open and accessible manner consistent with its public purposes. As such, its divisions, boards, and advisory councils, or similar entities created or managed by the organization, are subject to the provisions of chapter 119 relating to public records and those provisions of chapter 286 relating to public meetings and records.
(f) The department and the direct-support organization must enter into a performance-based contract, pursuant to s. 20.60, that includes:
1. Specification of the approval of the department, the powers and duties of the direct-support organization, and rules with which the direct-support organization must comply. The department must approve the articles of incorporation and bylaws of the direct-support organization.
2. Authorization by the department, without charge, for appropriate use of property, facilities, and personnel of the department by the direct-support organization for approved purposes. The contract must prescribe the conditions with which the organization must comply in order to use property, facilities, or personnel of the department. Such conditions must provide for budget and audit review and oversight by the department. However, the department may not authorize the use of property, facilities, or personnel of the department by the direct-support organization that does not provide equal employment opportunities to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin.
3. Conditions for termination of the contract by the department, at any time, if the department determines that the direct-support organization no longer meets the objectives of this section.
(g) The direct-support organization may conduct programs and activities; raise funds; request and receive grants, gifts, and bequests of money; acquire, receive, hold, invest, and administer, in its own name, securities, funds, objects of value, or other property, real or personal; and make expenditures to or for the direct or indirect benefit of the organization if such furthers the duties and mission of the organization and is in the best interests of this state.
(h) The direct-support organization may accept grants or other donations in order to facilitate trade missions and conduct other related international activities. Funds of the organization must be held in a separate depository account in the name of the organization, subject to the provisions of the contract with the department, and must be used in a manner consistent with the goals of the organization. Any funds and property held by the organization shall revert to the department if the organization is no longer approved to operate by the department, fails to maintain its tax-exempt status, or ceases to exist.
(i) The department must determine and annually certify that the direct-support organization is complying with the terms of the contract and is doing so consistent with the goals and purposes of the organization and in the best interests of the state. The organization is required to annually submit to the department its federal Internal Revenue Service Application for Recognition of Exemption form (Form 1023) and federal Internal Revenue Service Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax form (Form 990); an annual budget for approval by the department; an annual financial audit in accordance with s. 215.981; and an annual itemized accounting of the total amount of travel and entertainment expenses.
(j) The fiscal year of the direct-support organization begins on July 1 of each year and ends on June 30 of the following year. By August 15 of each fiscal year, the department shall submit a proposed operating budget for the direct-support organization, including amounts to be expended on international offices, trade missions, events, other operating capital outlay, salaries and benefits for each employee, and contributions and expenditures, to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(k) This subsection is repealed October 1, 2028, unless reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature.
History.s. 1, ch. 80-401; s. 1, ch. 82-115; ss. 3, 6, ch. 83-252; ss. 9, 10, ch. 88-201; ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 89-150; s. 112, ch. 90-201; ss. 40, 44, ch. 90-335; s. 53, ch. 91-5; s. 9, ch. 92-277; s. 219, ch. 95-148; s. 30, ch. 96-320; s. 14, ch. 97-278; s. 80, ch. 99-251; s. 4, ch. 2000-208; s. 58, ch. 2001-61; s. 49, ch. 2010-5; s. 130, ch. 2011-142; s. 56, ch. 2011-213; s. 11, ch. 2013-39; s. 11, ch. 2013-42; s. 30, ch. 2016-10; s. 5, ch. 2020-93; s. 34, ch. 2023-173.
1Note.The words “of the organization” preceding the word “are” were deleted by the editors to eliminate a repetition of those words.
288.017 Cooperative advertising matching grants program.
(1) The Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation is authorized to establish a cooperative advertising matching grants program and, pursuant thereto, to make expenditures and enter into contracts with local governments and nonprofit corporations for the purpose of publicizing the tourism advantages of the state. The department, based on recommendations from the corporation, shall have final approval of grants awarded through this program.
(2) The total annual allocation of funds for this grant program may not exceed $40,000. Each grant awarded under the program shall be limited to no more than $2,500 and shall be matched by nonstate dollars. All grants shall be restricted to local governments and nonprofit corporations serving and located in municipalities having a population of 50,000 persons or less or in counties with an unincorporated area having a population of 200,000 persons or less.
(3) The Florida Tourism Marketing Corporation shall conduct an annual competitive selection process for the award of grants under the program. In determining its recommendations for the grant awards, the corporation shall consider the demonstrated need of the applicant for advertising assistance, the feasibility and projected benefit of the applicant’s proposal, the amount of nonstate funds that will be leveraged, and such other criteria as the department deems appropriate. In evaluating grant applications, the department shall consider recommendations from the corporation. The department, however, has final approval authority for any grant under this section.
History.s. 1, ch. 91-218; s. 31, ch. 96-320; s. 131, ch. 2011-142; s. 35, ch. 2023-173.
288.018 Regional Rural Development Grants Program.
(1)(a) For the purposes of this section, the term “regional economic development organization” means an economic development organization located in or contracted to serve a rural area of opportunity, as defined in s. 288.0656(2)(d).
(b) The department shall establish a matching grant program to provide funding to regional economic development organizations for the purpose of building the professional capacity of those organizations. Building the professional capacity of a regional economic development organization includes hiring professional staff to develop, deliver, and provide needed economic development professional services, including technical assistance, education and leadership development, marketing, and project recruitment. Matching grants may also be used by a regional economic development organization to provide technical assistance to local governments, local economic development organizations, and existing and prospective businesses.
(c) A regional economic development organization may apply annually to the department for a matching grant. The department is authorized to approve, on an annual basis, grants to such regional economic development organizations. The maximum amount an organization may receive in any year will be $50,000, or $250,000 for any three regional economic development organizations that serve an entire region of a rural area of opportunity designated pursuant to s. 288.0656(7) if they are recognized by the department as serving such a region.
(d) Grant funds received by a regional economic development organization must be matched each year by nonstate resources in an amount equal to 25 percent of the state contribution.
(2) In approving the participants, the department shall consider the demonstrated need of the applicant for assistance and require the following:
(a) Documentation of official commitments of support from each of the units of local government represented by the regional organization.
(b) Demonstration that each unit of local government has made a financial or in-kind commitment to the regional organization.
(c) Demonstration that the private sector has made financial or in-kind commitments to the regional organization.
(d) Demonstration that the organization is in existence and actively involved in economic development activities serving the region.
(e) Demonstration of the manner in which the organization is or will coordinate its efforts with those of other local and state organizations.
(3)(a) A contract or agreement that involves the expenditure of grant funds provided under this section, including a contract or agreement entered into between another entity and a regional economic development organization, a unit of local government, or an economic development organization substantially underwritten by a unit of local government, must include:
1. The purpose of the contract or agreement.
2. Specific performance standards and responsibilities for each entity under the contract or agreement.
3. A detailed project or contract budget, if applicable.
4. The value of any services provided.
5. The projected travel expenses for employees and board members, if applicable.
(b) At least 14 days before executing a contract or agreement, the contracting regional economic development organization shall post on its website:
1. Any contract or agreement that involves the expenditure of grant funds provided under this section.
2. A plain language version of any contract or agreement that is estimated to exceed $35,000 with a private entity, a municipality, or a vendor of services, supplies, or programs, including marketing, or for the purchase or lease or use of lands, facilities, or properties which involves the expenditure of grant funds provided under this section.
(4) The department may expend up to $750,000 each fiscal year from funds appropriated to the Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Fund for the purposes outlined in this section.
History.s. 32, ch. 96-320; s. 94, ch. 99-251; s. 9, ch. 2001-201; s. 15, ch. 2010-147; s. 132, ch. 2011-142; s. 30, ch. 2014-218; s. 2, ch. 2020-30; s. 36, ch. 2023-173.
288.019 Rural considerations in grant review and evaluation processes.Notwithstanding any other law, and to the fullest extent possible, the member agencies and organizations of the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) as defined in s. 288.0656(6)(a) shall review all grant and loan application evaluation criteria to ensure the fullest access for rural counties as defined in s. 288.0656(2) to resources available throughout the state.
(1) Each REDI agency and organization shall review all evaluation and scoring procedures and develop modifications to those procedures which minimize the impact of a project within a rural area.
(2) Evaluation criteria and scoring procedures must provide for an appropriate ranking based on the proportionate impact that projects have on a rural area when compared with similar project impacts on an urban area.
(3) Evaluation criteria and scoring procedures must recognize the disparity of available fiscal resources for an equal level of financial support from an urban county and a rural county.
(a) The evaluation criteria should weight contribution in proportion to the amount of funding available at the local level.
(b) In-kind match should be allowed and applied as financial match when a county is experiencing financial distress through elevated unemployment at a rate in excess of the state’s average by 5 percentage points or because of the loss of its ad valorem base.
(4) For existing programs, the modified evaluation criteria and scoring procedure must be delivered to the department for distribution to the REDI agencies and organizations. The REDI agencies and organizations shall review and make comments. Future rules, programs, evaluation criteria, and scoring processes must be brought before a REDI meeting for review, discussion, and recommendation to allow rural counties fuller access to the state’s resources.
History.s. 10, ch. 2001-201; s. 22, ch. 2009-51; s. 133, ch. 2011-142.
288.021 Economic development liaison.
(1) The heads of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Protection and an additional member appointed by the secretary of the department, the Department of Education, the Department of Management Services, the Department of Revenue, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, each water management district, and each Department of Transportation district office shall designate a high-level staff member from within such agency to serve as the economic development liaison for the agency. This person shall report to the agency head and have general knowledge both of the state’s permitting and other regulatory functions and of the state’s economic goals, policies, and programs. This person shall also be the primary point of contact for the agency with the department on issues and projects important to the economic development of Florida, including its rural areas, to expedite project review, to ensure a prompt, effective response to problems arising with regard to permitting and regulatory functions, and to work closely with the other economic development liaisons to resolve interagency conflicts.
(2) Whenever it is necessary to change the designee, the head of each agency shall notify the Governor in writing of the person designated as the economic development liaison for such agency.
History.s. 14, ch. 92-277; s. 115, ch. 94-356; s. 33, ch. 96-320; s. 3, ch. 99-244; s. 85, ch. 99-245; s. 50, ch. 2010-5; s. 134, ch. 2011-142; s. 12, ch. 2011-213; s. 34, ch. 2012-96.
288.0251 International development outreach activities in Latin America and Caribbean Basin.The department may contract for the implementation of Florida’s international volunteer corps to provide short-term training and technical assistance activities in Latin America and the Caribbean Basin. The entity contracted under this section must require that such activities be conducted by qualified volunteers who are citizens of the state. The contracting agency must have a statewide focus and experience in coordinating international volunteer programs.
History.s. 9, ch. 86-139; s. 82, ch. 90-201; s. 25, ch. 91-5; s. 26, ch. 91-201; s. 5, ch. 91-429; ss. 15, 65, ch. 93-187; s. 34, ch. 96-320; s. 24, ch. 99-251; s. 6, ch. 2004-242; s. 135, ch. 2011-142.
Note.Former s. 229.6056.
288.035 Economic development activities.
(1) The Florida Public Service Commission may authorize public utilities to recover reasonable economic development expenses. For purposes of this section, recoverable “economic development expenses” are those expenses described in subsection (2) which are consistent with criteria to be established by rules adopted by the department.
(2) Such rules shall provide that authorized economic development expenses shall be limited to the following:
(a) Expenditures for operational assistance, including the participation in trade shows and prospecting missions with state and local entities.
(b) Expenditures for assisting the state and local governments in the design of strategic plans for economic development activities.
(c) Expenditures for marketing and research services, including assisting local governments in marketing specific sites for business and industry development or recruitment, and assisting local governments in responding to inquiries from business and industry concerning the development of specific sites.
(3) The Florida Public Service Commission shall adopt rules for the recovery of economic development expenses by public utilities, including the sharing of expenses by shareholders.
History.s. 1, ch. 94-136; s. 35, ch. 96-320; s. 136, ch. 2011-142; s. 13, ch. 2011-213.
288.037 Department of State; agreement with county tax collector.In order to further the economic development goals of the state, and notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the Department of State may enter into an agreement with the county tax collector for the purpose of appointing the county tax collector as the Department of State’s agent to accept applications for licenses or other similar registrations and applications for renewals of licenses or other similar registrations. The agreement must specify the time within which the tax collector must forward any applications and accompanying application fees to the Department of State.
History.s. 55, ch. 97-278; s. 137, ch. 2011-142.
288.041 Solar energy industry; legislative findings and policy; promotional activities.
(1) It is hereby found and declared that:
(a) The solar energy industry in this state has been a leader in the nation in the manufacture, supply, and delivery of solar energy systems.
(b) The use of solar energy in this state has been demonstrated to save conventional energy sources.
(c) The solar energy industry offers the prospect for improved economic welfare of this state through creation of jobs, increased energy security, and enhancing the quality of the environment of this state.
(d) Through helping to provide for a clean environment and healthy economy, the solar energy industry contributes to the continued growth and development of the tourist industry of this state.
(2) It is the policy of this state to promote, stimulate, develop, and advance the growth of the solar energy industry in this state.
(3) By January 15 of each year, the Department of Environmental Protection shall report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the impact of the solar energy industry on the economy of this state and shall make any recommendations on initiatives to further promote the solar energy industry as the Department of Environmental Protection deems appropriate.
History.s. 2, ch. 93-249; s. 23, ch. 94-321; s. 36, ch. 96-320; s. 62, ch. 99-13; s. 10, ch. 2004-243; s. 1, ch. 2005-66; s. 138, ch. 2011-142.
288.0415 Solar energy; advancement; economic development strategy.The use of solar energy is a proven, effective means of reducing air pollution, while also creating new jobs, saving energy, lowering consumer utility bills, and stimulating economic development. As such, this state is committed to advancing the use of solar energy in the state. Towards this end, the state shall give priority to removing identified barriers to and providing incentives for increased solar energy development and use. In addition, the state shall capitalize on solar energy as an economic development strategy for job creation, market development, international trade, and other related means of stimulating and enhancing the economy of this state.
History.s. 22, ch. 94-321.
288.046 Quick-response training; legislative intent.The Legislature recognizes the importance of providing a skilled workforce for attracting new industries and retaining and expanding existing businesses and industries in this state. It is the intent of the Legislature that a program exist to meet the short-term, immediate, workforce-skill needs of such businesses and industries. It is further the intent of the Legislature that funds provided for the purposes of s. 288.047 be expended on businesses and industries that support the state’s economic development goals, particularly high value-added businesses or businesses that locate in and provide jobs in the state’s distressed urban and rural areas, and that instruction funded pursuant to s. 288.047 lead to permanent, quality employment opportunities.
History.s. 1, ch. 93-187; s. 77, ch. 2000-165.
288.047 Quick-response training for economic development.
(1) The Quick-Response Training Program is created to meet the workforce-skill needs of existing, new, and expanding industries. The program shall be administered by CareerSource Florida, Inc., in conjunction with the Department of Education. CareerSource Florida, Inc., shall adopt guidelines for the administration of this program, shall provide technical services, and shall identify businesses that seek services through the program.
(2) CareerSource Florida, Inc., shall ensure that instruction funded pursuant to this section is not available through the local community college or school district and that the instruction promotes economic development by providing specialized training to new workers or retraining for current employees to meet changing skill requirements caused by new technology or new product lines and to prevent potential layoffs. Such funds may not be expended to provide training for instruction related to retail businesses or to reimburse businesses for trainee wages. Funds made available pursuant to this section may not be expended in connection with the relocation of a business from one community to another unless CareerSource Florida, Inc., determines that, in the absence of such relocation, the business will move outside this state or that the business has a compelling economic rationale for the relocation which creates additional jobs.
(3) Requests for funding may be submitted to the Quick-Response Training Program by a specific business or industry, through a school district director of career education or community college occupational dean on behalf of a business or industry, or through official state or local economic development efforts. In allocating funds for the purposes of the program, CareerSource Florida, Inc., shall establish criteria for approval of requests for funding and shall select the entity that provides the most efficient, cost-effective instruction meeting such criteria. Program funds may be allocated to a career center, community college, or state university. Program funds may be allocated to private postsecondary institutions only after a review that includes, but is not limited to, accreditation and licensure documentation and prior approval by CareerSource Florida, Inc. Instruction funded through the program must terminate when participants demonstrate competence at the level specified in the request; however, the grant term may not exceed 24 months. Costs and expenditures for the Quick-Response Training Program must be documented and separated from those incurred by the training provider.
(4) For the first 6 months of each fiscal year, CareerSource Florida, Inc., shall set aside 30 percent of the amount appropriated by the Legislature for the Quick-Response Training Program to fund instructional programs for businesses located in an enterprise zone or brownfield area. Any unencumbered funds remaining undisbursed from this set-aside at the end of the 6-month period may be used to provide funding for a program that qualifies for funding pursuant to this section.
(5) Prior to the allocation of funds for a request made pursuant to this section, CareerSource Florida, Inc., shall prepare a grant agreement between the business or industry requesting funds, the educational institution receiving funding through the program, and CareerSource Florida, Inc. Such agreement must include, but is not limited to:
(a) An identification of the personnel necessary to conduct the instructional program, the qualifications of such personnel, and the respective responsibilities of the parties for paying costs associated with the employment of such personnel.
(b) An identification of the estimated length of the instructional program.
(c) An identification of all direct, training-related costs, including tuition and fees, curriculum development, books and classroom materials, and overhead or indirect costs, not to exceed 5 percent of the grant amount.
(d) An identification of special program requirements that are not addressed otherwise in the agreement.
(e) Permission to access information specific to the wages and performance of participants upon the completion of instruction for evaluation purposes. Information which, if released, would disclose the identity of the person to whom the information pertains or disclose the identity of the person’s employer is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1). The agreement must specify that any evaluations published subsequent to the instruction may not identify the employer or any individual participant.
(6) For purposes of this section, CareerSource Florida, Inc., may accept grants of money, materials, services, or property of any kind from any agency, corporation, or individual.
(7) In providing instruction pursuant to this section, materials that relate to methods of manufacture or production, potential trade secrets, business transactions, or proprietary information received, produced, ascertained, or discovered by employees of the respective departments, district school boards, community college district boards of trustees, or other personnel employed for the purposes of this section is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1). The state may seek copyright protection for instructional materials and ancillary written documents developed wholly or partially with state funds as a result of instruction provided pursuant to this section, except for materials that are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1).
(8) The Quick-Response Training Program is created to provide assistance to participants in the welfare transition program. CareerSource Florida, Inc., may award quick-response training grants and develop applicable guidelines for the training of participants in the welfare transition program. In addition to a local economic development organization, grants must be endorsed by the applicable local workforce development board.
(a) Training funded pursuant to this subsection may not exceed 12 months, and may be provided by the local community college, school district, local workforce development board, or the business employing the participant, including on-the-job training. Training will provide entry-level skills to new workers, including those employed in retail, who are participants in the welfare transition program.
(b) Participants trained under this subsection must be employed at a job paying a wage equivalent to or above the state’s minimum hourly wage.
(c) Funds made available pursuant to this subsection may be expended in connection with the relocation of a business from one community to another if approved by CareerSource Florida, Inc.
History.s. 2, ch. 93-187; ss. 2, 71, ch. 94-136; s. 874, ch. 95-148; s. 3, ch. 95-345; s. 37, ch. 96-320; s. 134, ch. 96-406; s. 15, ch. 97-278; s. 34, ch. 97-307; s. 23, ch. 98-57; s. 78, ch. 2000-165; s. 3, ch. 2000-317; s. 22, ch. 2004-357; s. 139, ch. 2011-142; s. 5, ch. 2015-98; s. 8, ch. 2016-216; s. 3, ch. 2021-164; s. 37, ch. 2023-173.
288.061 Economic development incentive application process.
(1) Upon receiving a submitted economic development incentive application, the Division of Economic Development of the department shall review the application to ensure that the application is complete, whether and what type of state and local permits may be necessary for the applicant’s project, whether it is possible to waive such permits, and what state incentives and amounts of such incentives may be available to the applicant. The department shall recommend to the Secretary of Commerce to approve or disapprove an applicant business. If review of the application demonstrates that the application is incomplete, the secretary shall notify the applicant business within the first 5 business days after receiving the application.
(2) Beginning July 1, 2013, the department shall review and evaluate each economic development incentive application for the economic benefits of the proposed award of state incentives proposed for the project. The term “economic benefits” has the same meaning as in s. 288.005. The Office of Economic and Demographic Research shall establish the methodology and model used to calculate the economic benefits. For purposes of this requirement, an amended definition of “economic benefits” may be developed by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
(3) Within 10 business days after the department receives the submitted economic development incentive application, the Secretary of Economic Opportunity shall approve or disapprove the application and issue a letter of certification to the applicant which includes a justification of that decision, unless the business requests an extension of that time.
(a) The contract or agreement with the applicant must specify the total amount of the award, the performance conditions that must be met to obtain the award, the schedule for payment, and sanctions that would apply for failure to meet performance conditions. The department may enter into one agreement or contract covering all of the state incentives that are being provided to the applicant. The contract must provide that release of funds is contingent upon sufficient appropriation of funds by the Legislature.
(b) The release of funds for the incentive or incentives awarded to the applicant depends upon the statutory requirements of the particular incentive program.
(4) The department shall validate contractor performance and report such validation in the annual incentives report required under s. 288.0065.
(5)(a) The Secretary of Economic Opportunity may not approve an economic development incentive application unless the application includes a signed written declaration by the applicant which states that the applicant has read the information in the application and that the information is true, correct, and complete to the best of the applicant’s knowledge and belief.
(b) After an economic development incentive application is approved, the awardee shall provide, in each year that the department is required to validate contractor performance, a signed written declaration. The written declaration must state that the awardee has reviewed the information and that the information is true, correct, and complete to the best of the awardee’s knowledge and belief.
(6) Beginning July 1, 2020, the Secretary of Economic Opportunity may not approve an economic development incentive application unless the application includes proof to the department that the applicant business is registered with and uses the E-Verify system, as defined in s. 448.095, to verify the work authorization status of all newly hired employees. If the department determines that an awardee is not complying with this subsection, the department must notify the awardee by certified mail of the department’s determination of noncompliance and the awardee’s right to appeal the determination. Upon a final determination of noncompliance, the awardee must repay all moneys received as an economic development incentive to the department within 30 days after the final determination.
(7) The department is authorized to adopt rules to implement this section.
History.s. 9, ch. 2009-51; s. 18, ch. 2011-142; s. 12, ch. 2013-39; s. 12, ch. 2013-42; s. 6, ch. 2014-218; s. 1, ch. 2020-149; s. 22, ch. 2021-25; s. 38, ch. 2023-173.
288.065 Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Fund.
(1) The Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Fund Program is established within the department to facilitate the use of existing federal, state, and local financial resources by providing local governments with financial assistance to further promote the economic viability of rural communities. These funds may be used to finance initiatives directed toward maintaining or developing the economic base of rural communities, especially initiatives addressing employment opportunities for residents of these communities.
(2)(a) The program shall provide for long-term loans, loan guarantees, and loan loss reserves to units of local governments, or economic development organizations substantially underwritten by a unit of local government, within counties with populations of 75,000 or fewer, or within any county with a population of 125,000 or fewer which is contiguous to a county with a population of 75,000 or fewer, based on the most recent official population estimate as determined under s. 186.901, including those residing in incorporated areas and those residing in unincorporated areas of the county, or to units of local government, or economic development organizations substantially underwritten by a unit of local government, within a rural area of opportunity.
(b) Requests for loans shall be made by application to the department. Loans shall be made pursuant to agreements specifying the terms and conditions agreed to between the applicant and the department. The loans shall be the legal obligations of the applicant.
(c) All repayments of principal and interest shall be returned to the loan fund and made available for loans to other applicants. However, in a rural area of opportunity designated by the Governor, and upon approval by the department, repayments of principal and interest may be retained by the applicant if such repayments are dedicated and matched to fund regionally based economic development organizations representing the rural area of opportunity.
(3) The department shall manage the fund, establishing loan practices that must include, but are not limited to, procedures for establishing loan interest rates, uses of funding, application procedures, and application review procedures. The department shall have final approval authority for any loan under this section.
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 216.301, funds appropriated for this purpose shall not be subject to reversion.
History.s. 42, ch. 96-320; s. 18, ch. 97-278; s. 95, ch. 99-251; s. 11, ch. 2001-201; s. 11, ch. 2009-51; s. 141, ch. 2011-142; s. 31, ch. 2014-218.
288.0655 Rural Infrastructure Fund.
(1) There is created within the department the Rural Infrastructure Fund to facilitate the planning, preparing, and financing of infrastructure projects in rural communities which will encourage job creation, capital investment, and the strengthening and diversification of rural economies by promoting tourism, trade, and economic development.
(2)(a) Funds appropriated by the Legislature shall be distributed by the department through grant programs that maximize the use of federal, local, and private resources, including, but not limited to, those available under the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program.
(b) To facilitate access of rural communities and rural areas of opportunity as defined by the Rural Economic Development Initiative to infrastructure funding programs of the Federal Government, such as those offered by the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Commerce, and state programs, including those offered by Rural Economic Development Initiative agencies, and to facilitate local government or private infrastructure funding efforts, the department may award grants for up to 75 percent of the total infrastructure project cost, or up to 100 percent of the total infrastructure project cost for a project located in a rural community as defined in s. 288.0656(2) which is also located in a fiscally constrained county as defined in s. 218.67(1) or a rural area of opportunity as defined in s. 288.0656(2). Eligible uses of funds may include improving any inadequate infrastructure that has resulted in regulatory action that prohibits economic or community growth and reducing the costs to community users of proposed infrastructure improvements that exceed such costs in comparable communities. Eligible uses of funds include improvements to public infrastructure for industrial or commercial sites and upgrades to or development of public tourism infrastructure. Authorized infrastructure may include the following public or public-private partnership facilities: storm water systems; telecommunications facilities; roads or other remedies to transportation impediments; nature-based tourism facilities; or other physical requirements necessary to facilitate tourism, trade, and economic development activities in the community. Authorized infrastructure may also include publicly or privately owned self-powered nature-based tourism facilities, publicly owned telecommunications facilities, and additions to the distribution facilities of the existing natural gas utility as defined in s. 366.04(3)(c), the existing electric utility as defined in s. 366.02, or the existing water or wastewater utility as defined in s. 367.021(12), or any other existing water or wastewater facility, which owns a gas or electric distribution system or a water or wastewater system in this state when:
1. A contribution-in-aid of construction is required to serve public or public-private partnership facilities under the tariffs of any natural gas, electric, water, or wastewater utility as defined herein; and
2. Such utilities as defined herein are willing and able to provide such service.
(c) The department may award grants of up to $300,000 for infrastructure feasibility studies, design and engineering activities, or other infrastructure planning and preparation activities. Grants awarded under this paragraph may be used in conjunction with grants awarded under paragraph (b). In evaluating applications under this paragraph, the department shall consider the extent to which the application seeks to minimize administrative and consultant expenses.
(d) The department shall participate in a memorandum of agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture under which state funds available through the Rural Infrastructure Fund may be advanced, in excess of the prescribed state share, for a project that has received from the United States Department of Agriculture a preliminary determination of eligibility for federal financial support. State funds in excess of the prescribed state share which are advanced pursuant to this paragraph and the memorandum of agreement shall be reimbursed when funds are awarded under an application for federal funding.
(e) To enable local governments to access the resources available pursuant to s. 403.973(17), the department may award grants for surveys, feasibility studies, and other activities related to the identification and preclearance review of land which is suitable for preclearance review. Authorized grants under this paragraph may not exceed $75,000 each, except in the case of a project in a rural area of opportunity, in which case the grant may not exceed $300,000. Any funds awarded under this paragraph must be matched at a level of 50 percent with local funds, except that any funds awarded for a project in a rural area of opportunity do not require a match of local funds. If an application for funding is for a catalyst site, as defined in s. 288.0656, the requirement for local match may be waived pursuant to the process in s. 288.06561. In evaluating applications under this paragraph, the department shall consider the extent to which the application seeks to minimize administrative and consultant expenses.
(3) The department, in consultation with the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, as appropriate, shall review and certify applications pursuant to s. 288.061. The review must include an evaluation of the economic benefit and long-term viability. The department shall have final approval for any grant under this section.
(4)(a) A contract or agreement that involves the expenditure of grant funds provided under this section, including a contract or agreement entered into between another entity and a regional economic development organization, a unit of local government, or an economic development organization substantially underwritten by a unit of local government, must include:
1. The purpose of the contract or agreement.
2. Specific performance standards and responsibilities for each entity.
3. A detailed project or contract budget, if applicable.
4. The value of any services provided.
5. The projected travel expenses for employees and board members, if applicable.
(b) At least 14 days before execution, the contracting regional economic development organization shall post on its website:
1. Any contract or agreement that involves the expenditure of grant funds provided under this section.
2. A plain language version of a contract or agreement that is estimated to exceed $35,000 with a private entity, a municipality, or a vendor of services, supplies, or programs, including marketing, or for the purchase or lease or use of lands, facilities, or properties which involves the expenditure of grant funds provided under this section.
(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 216.301, funds appropriated for the purposes of this section shall not be subject to reversion.
1(6) For the 2023-2024 fiscal year, the funds appropriated for the grant program for Florida Panhandle counties shall be distributed pursuant to and for the purposes described in the proviso language associated with Specific Appropriation 2342 of the 2023-2024 General Appropriations Act. This subsection expires July 1, 2024.
(7) For the 2023-2024 fiscal year, the Department of Commerce may award grants for the following fiscally constrained counties impacted by Hurricane Idalia: Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Suwannee, and Taylor. The purpose of the grants is to facilitate the planning, preparing, and financing of infrastructure projects. Eligible uses of the grants include roads or other remedies to transportation impediments, stormwater systems, water or wastewater facilities, and telecommunications facilities. This subsection expires July 1, 2024.
History.s. 96, ch. 99-251; s. 37, ch. 2000-152; s. 1, ch. 2002-392; s. 5, ch. 2006-55; s. 54, ch. 2008-4; s. 12, ch. 2009-51; s. 142, ch. 2011-142; s. 32, ch. 2014-218; s. 98, ch. 2019-116; s. 3, ch. 2020-30; s. 89, ch. 2020-114; s. 51, ch. 2021-37; s. 72, ch. 2022-157; s. 39, ch. 2023-173; s. 2, ch. 2023-202; s. 69, ch. 2023-240; s. 17, ch. 2023-349.
1Note.Section 69, ch. 2023-240, amended subsection (7), redesignated as subsection (6) to conform to the repeal of subsection (4) by s. 39, ch. 2023-173, “[i]n order to implement Specific Appropriation 2342 of the 2023-2024 General Appropriations Act.”
288.0656 Rural Economic Development Initiative.
(1)(a) Recognizing that rural communities and regions continue to face extraordinary challenges in their efforts to significantly improve their economies, specifically in terms of personal income, job creation, average wages, and strong tax bases, it is the intent of the Legislature to encourage and facilitate the location and expansion of major economic development projects of significant scale in such rural communities.
(b) The Rural Economic Development Initiative, known as “REDI,” is created within the department, and the participation of state and regional agencies in this initiative is authorized.
(2) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Catalyst project” means a business locating or expanding in a rural area of opportunity to serve as an economic generator of regional significance for the growth of a regional target industry cluster. The project must provide capital investment on a scale significant enough to affect the entire region and result in the development of high-wage and high-skill jobs.
(b) “Catalyst site” means a parcel or parcels of land within a rural area of opportunity that has been prioritized as a geographic site for economic development through partnerships with state, regional, and local organizations. The site must be reviewed by REDI and approved by the department for the purposes of locating a catalyst project.
(c) “Economic distress” means conditions affecting the fiscal and economic viability of a rural community, including such factors as low per capita income, low per capita taxable values, high unemployment, high underemployment, low weekly earned wages compared to the state average, low housing values compared to the state average, high percentages of the population receiving public assistance, high poverty levels compared to the state average, and a lack of year-round stable employment opportunities.
(d) “Rural area of opportunity” means a rural community, or a region composed of rural communities, designated by the Governor, which has been adversely affected by an extraordinary economic event, severe or chronic distress, or a natural disaster or that presents a unique economic development opportunity of regional impact.
(e) “Rural community” means:
1. A county with a population of 75,000 or fewer.
2. A county with a population of 125,000 or fewer which is contiguous to a county with a population of 75,000 or fewer.
3. A municipality within a county described in subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2.
4. An unincorporated federal enterprise community or an incorporated rural city with a population of 25,000 or fewer and an employment base focused on traditional agricultural or resource-based industries, located in a county not defined as rural, which has at least three or more of the economic distress factors identified in paragraph (c) and verified by the department.

For purposes of this paragraph, population shall be determined in accordance with the most recent official estimate pursuant to s. 186.901.

(3) REDI shall be responsible for coordinating and focusing the efforts and resources of state and regional agencies on the problems which affect the fiscal, economic, and community viability of Florida’s economically distressed rural communities, working with local governments, community-based organizations, and private organizations that have an interest in the growth and development of these communities to find ways to balance environmental and growth management issues with local needs.
(4) REDI shall review and evaluate the impact of statutes and rules on rural communities and shall work to minimize any adverse impact and undertake outreach and capacity-building efforts.
(5) REDI shall facilitate better access to state resources by promoting direct access and referrals to appropriate state and regional agencies and statewide organizations. REDI may undertake outreach, capacity-building, and other advocacy efforts to improve conditions in rural communities. These activities may include sponsorship of conferences and achievement awards.
(6)(a) By August 1 of each year, the head of each of the following agencies and organizations shall designate a deputy secretary or higher-level staff person from within the agency or organization to serve as the REDI representative for the agency or organization:
1. The Department of Transportation.
2. The Department of Environmental Protection.
3. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
4. The Department of State.
5. The Department of Health.
6. The Department of Children and Families.
7. The Department of Corrections.
8. The Department of Education.
9. The Department of Juvenile Justice.
10. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
11. Each water management district.
12. CareerSource Florida, Inc.
13. VISIT Florida.
14. The Florida Regional Planning Council Association.
15. The Agency for Health Care Administration.
16. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).

An alternate for each designee shall also be chosen, and the names of the designees and alternates shall be sent to the Secretary of Commerce.

(b) Each REDI representative must have comprehensive knowledge of his or her agency’s functions, both regulatory and service in nature, and of the state’s economic goals, policies, and programs. This person shall be the primary point of contact for his or her agency with REDI on issues and projects relating to economically distressed rural communities and with regard to expediting project review, shall ensure a prompt effective response to problems arising with regard to rural issues, and shall work closely with the other REDI representatives in the identification of opportunities for preferential awards of program funds and allowances and waiver of program requirements when necessary to encourage and facilitate long-term private capital investment and job creation.
(c) The REDI representatives shall work with REDI in the review and evaluation of statutes and rules for adverse impact on rural communities and the development of alternative proposals to mitigate that impact.
(d) Each REDI representative shall be responsible for ensuring that each district office or facility of his or her agency is informed about the Rural Economic Development Initiative and for providing assistance throughout the agency in the implementation of REDI activities.
(7)(a) REDI may recommend to the Governor up to three rural areas of opportunity. The Governor may by executive order designate up to three rural areas of opportunity which will establish these areas as priority assignments for REDI as well as to allow the Governor, acting through REDI, to waive criteria, requirements, or similar provisions of any economic development incentive. Such incentives shall include, but are not limited to, the Quick Response Training Program under s. 288.047, the Quick Response Training Program for participants in the welfare transition program under s. 288.047(8), transportation projects under s. 339.2821, the brownfield redevelopment bonus refund under s. 288.107, and the rural job tax credit program under ss. 212.098 and 220.1895.
(b) Designation as a rural area of opportunity under this subsection shall be contingent upon the execution of a memorandum of agreement among the department; the governing body of the county; and the governing bodies of any municipalities to be included within a rural area of opportunity. Such agreement shall specify the terms and conditions of the designation, including, but not limited to, the duties and responsibilities of the county and any participating municipalities to take actions designed to facilitate the retention and expansion of existing businesses in the area, as well as the recruitment of new businesses to the area.
(c) Each rural area of opportunity may designate catalyst projects, provided that each catalyst project is specifically recommended by REDI and confirmed as a catalyst project by the department. All state agencies and departments shall use all available tools and resources to the extent permissible by law to promote the creation and development of each catalyst project and the development of catalyst sites.
(8) REDI shall submit a report to the department on all REDI activities for the previous fiscal year as a supplement to the department’s annual report required under s. 20.60. This supplementary report must include:
(a) A status report on all projects currently being coordinated through REDI, the number of preferential awards and allowances made pursuant to this section, the dollar amount of such awards, and the names of the recipients.
(b) A description of all waivers of program requirements granted.
(c) Information as to the economic impact of the projects coordinated by REDI.
(d) Recommendations based on the review and evaluation of statutes and rules having an adverse impact on rural communities and proposals to mitigate such adverse impacts.
History.s. 97, ch. 99-251; s. 79, ch. 2000-165; s. 12, ch. 2001-201; s. 13, ch. 2009-51; s. 51, ch. 2010-5; s. 143, ch. 2011-142; s. 2, ch. 2012-128; s. 13, ch. 2013-39; s. 13, ch. 2013-42; s. 54, ch. 2014-19; s. 33, ch. 2014-218; s. 6, ch. 2015-98; s. 23, ch. 2021-25; s. 40, ch. 2023-173.
288.06561 Reduction or waiver of financial match requirements.Notwithstanding any other law, the member agencies and organizations of the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), as defined in s. 288.0656(6)(a), shall review the financial match requirements for projects in rural areas as defined in s. 288.0656(2).
(1) Each agency and organization shall develop a proposal to waive or reduce the match requirement for rural areas.
(2) Agencies and organizations shall ensure that all proposals are submitted to the department for review by the REDI agencies.
(3) These proposals shall be delivered to the department for distribution to the REDI agencies and organizations. A meeting of REDI agencies and organizations must be called within 30 days after receipt of such proposals for REDI comment and recommendations on each proposal.
(4) Waivers and reductions must be requested by the county or community, and such county or community must have three or more of the factors identified in s. 288.0656(2)(c).
(5) Any other funds available to the project may be used for financial match of federal programs when there is fiscal hardship, and the match requirements may not be waived or reduced.
(6) When match requirements are not reduced or eliminated, donations of land, though usually not recognized as an in-kind match, may be permitted.
(7) To the fullest extent possible, agencies and organizations shall expedite the rule adoption and amendment process if necessary to incorporate the reduction in match by rural areas in fiscal distress.
(8) REDI shall include in its annual report an evaluation on the status of changes to rules, number of awards made with waivers, and recommendations for future changes.
History.s. 5, ch. 2001-201; s. 14, ch. 2009-51; s. 144, ch. 2011-142.
288.0657 Florida rural economic development strategy grants.
(1) As used in this section, the term “rural community” means:
(a) A county with a population of 75,000 or fewer.
(b) A county with a population of 125,000 or fewer which is contiguous to a county with a population of 75,000 or fewer.
(c) A municipality within a county described in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b).

For purposes of this subsection, population shall be determined in accordance with the most recent official estimate pursuant to s. 186.901.

(2) The department may accept and administer moneys appropriated to the department for providing grants to assist rural communities to develop and implement strategic economic development plans.
(3) A rural community, an economic development organization in a rural area, or a regional organization representing at least one rural community or such economic development organizations may apply for such grants.
(4) The department shall establish criteria for reviewing grant applications. These criteria shall include, but are not limited to, the degree of participation and commitment by the local community and the application’s consistency with local comprehensive plans or the application’s proposal to ensure such consistency. The department shall review each application for a grant. The department may approve grants only to the extent that funds are appropriated for such grants by the Legislature.
History.s. 98, ch. 99-251; s. 15, ch. 2009-51; s. 145, ch. 2011-142.
288.0658 Nature-based recreation; promotion and other assistance by Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is directed to assist the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, doing business as VISIT Florida; convention and visitor bureaus; tourist development councils; economic development organizations; and local governments through the provision of marketing advice, technical expertise, promotional support, and product development related to nature-based recreation and sustainable use of natural resources. In carrying out this responsibility, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall focus its efforts on fostering nature-based recreation in rural communities and regions encompassing rural communities. As used in this section, the term “nature-based recreation” means leisure activities related to the state’s lands, waters, and fish and wildlife resources, including, but not limited to, wildlife viewing, fishing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, camping, hunting, backpacking, and nature photography.
History.s. 100, ch. 99-251; s. 146, ch. 2011-142; s. 41, ch. 2023-173.
288.0659 Local Government Distressed Area Matching Grant Program.
(1) The Local Government Distressed Area Matching Grant Program is created within the department. The purpose of the program is to stimulate investment in the state’s economy by providing grants to match demonstrated business assistance by local governments to attract and retain businesses in this state.
(2) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Local government” means a county or municipality.
(b) “Qualified business assistance” means economic incentives provided by a local government for the purpose of attracting or retaining a specific business, including, but not limited to, suspensions, waivers, or reductions of impact fees or permit fees; direct incentive payments; expenditures for onsite or offsite improvements directly benefiting a specific business; or construction or renovation of buildings for a specific business.
(3) The department may accept and administer moneys appropriated by the Legislature for providing grants to match expenditures by local governments to attract or retain businesses in this state.
(4) A local government may apply for grants to match qualified business assistance made by the local government for the purpose of attracting or retaining a specific business. A local government may apply for no more than one grant per targeted business. A local government may only have one application pending with the department. Additional applications may be filed after a previous application has been approved or denied.
(5) To qualify for a grant, the business being targeted by a local government must create at least 15 full-time jobs, must be new to this state, must be expanding its operations in this state, or would otherwise leave the state absent state and local assistance, and the local government applying for the grant must expedite its permitting processes for the target business by accelerating the normal review and approval timelines. In addition to these requirements, the department shall review the grant requests using the following evaluation criteria, with priority given in descending order:
(a) The presence and degree of pervasive poverty, unemployment, and general distress as determined pursuant to s. 290.0058 in the area where the business will locate, with priority given to locations with greater degrees of poverty, unemployment, and general distress.
(b) The extent of reliance on the local government expenditure as an inducement for the business’s location decision, with priority given to higher levels of local government expenditure.
(c) The number of new full-time jobs created, with priority given to higher numbers of jobs created.
(d) The average hourly wage for jobs created, with priority given to higher average wages.
(e) The amount of capital investment to be made by the business, with priority given to higher amounts of capital investment.
(6) In evaluating grant requests, the department shall take into consideration the need for grant assistance as it relates to the local government’s general fund balance as well as local incentive programs that are already in existence.
(7) Funds made available pursuant to this section may not be expended in connection with the relocation of a business from one community to another community in this state unless the department determines that without such relocation the business will move outside this state or determines that the business has a compelling economic rationale for the relocation which creates additional jobs. Funds made available pursuant to this section may not be used by the receiving local government to supplant matching commitments required of the local government pursuant to other state or federal incentive programs.
(8) Within 30 days after the department receives an application for a grant, the department shall approve a preliminary grant allocation or disapprove the application. The preliminary grant allocation shall be based on estimates of qualified business assistance submitted by the local government and shall equal 50 percent of the amount of the estimated qualified business assistance or $50,000, whichever is less. The preliminary grant allocation shall be executed by contract with the local government. The contract shall set forth the terms and conditions, including the timeframes within which the final grant award will be disbursed. The final grant award may not exceed the preliminary grant allocation. The department may approve preliminary grant allocations only to the extent that funds are appropriated for such grants by the Legislature.
(a) Preliminary grant allocations that are revoked or voluntarily surrendered shall be immediately available for reallocation.
(b) Recipients of preliminary grant allocations shall promptly report to the department the date on which the local government’s permitting and approval process is completed and the date on which all qualified business assistance is completed.
(9) The department shall make a final grant award to a local government within 30 days after receiving information from the local government sufficient to demonstrate actual qualified business assistance. An awarded grant amount shall equal 50 percent of the amount of the qualified business assistance or $50,000, whichever is less, and may not exceed the preliminary grant allocation. The amount by which a preliminary grant allocation exceeds a final grant award shall be immediately available for reallocation.
(10) Up to 2 percent of the funds appropriated annually by the Legislature for the program may be used by the department for direct administrative costs associated with implementing this section.
History.s. 16, ch. 2010-147; s. 13, ch. 2011-4; s. 147, ch. 2011-142.
1288.066 Local Government Emergency Revolving Bridge Loan Program.
(1) CREATION.The Local Government Emergency Revolving Bridge Loan Program is created within the department to provide financial assistance to local governments impacted by federally declared disasters. The purpose of the loan program is to assist these local governments in maintaining government operations by bridging the gap between the time that the declared disaster occurred and the time that additional funding sources or revenues are secured to provide them with financial assistance.
(2) ELIGIBILITY.To be eligible for a loan under the program, a local government must be a county or a municipality located in an area designated in a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declaration. The local government must show that it may suffer or has suffered substantial loss of its tax or other revenues as a result of the disaster and demonstrate a need for financial assistance to enable it to continue to perform its governmental operations. Access to and eligibility for the loan program supersedes any local government charter or borrowing limitations that would otherwise financially constrain the local government’s ability to recover from a disaster.
(3) LOAN TERMS.
(a) The department may provide interest-free loans to eligible local governments through a promissory note or other form of written agreement evidencing an obligation to repay the borrowed funds to the department.
(b) The amount of each loan must be based upon demonstrated need.
(c) The term of the loan is up to 5 years.
(4) APPLICATION.The department shall prescribe a loan application and may request any other information determined necessary by the department to review and evaluate the application. The eligible local government must submit a loan application within the 12 months after the date that the federal disaster was declared. Upon receipt of an application, the department shall review the application and may request additional information as necessary to complete the review and evaluation. If the loan application is approved, the department shall determine the amount to be loaned, which may be a lower amount than requested, based on the information provided and the total amount of funds available to be loaned and in relation to demonstrated need from other eligible applicants. If the loan application is denied, reasons for the denial may include, but are not limited to, the loan risk, an incomplete application, failure to demonstrate need, or the fact that receiving a loan may negatively affect the local government’s eligibility for other federal programs.
(5) USE OF LOAN FUNDS.A local government may use loan funds only to continue local governmental operations or to expand or modify such operations to meet disaster-related needs. The funds may not be used to finance or supplant funding for capital improvements or to repair or restore damaged public facilities or infrastructure.
(6) LOAN REPAYMENT.
(a) The local government may make payments against the loan at any time without penalty. Early repayment is encouraged as other funding sources or revenues become available to the local government.
(b) Loans become due and payable in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
(7) ADMINISTRATION.
(a) Upon the issuance of a federal disaster declaration, the department shall provide notice of application requirements and the total amount of funds available and shall make loan information available to eligible local governments. Based upon the amount of funds in the Economic Development Trust Fund available to be loaned and anticipated balances, the department may make funds available in an amount reasonably related to the anticipated need, based upon the impacts of the federal disaster, up to the total amount available.
(b) The department must coordinate with the Division of Emergency Management or other applicable state agencies to assess whether such loans would affect reimbursement under federal programs for disaster-related expenses.
(c) All repayments of principal and interest must be returned to the loan fund and made available as provided in this section. Notwithstanding s. 216.301, funds appropriated for this program are not subject to reversion.
(8) RULES.The department may adopt rules to implement this section.
(9) EXPIRATION.This section expires July 1, 2038. A loan may not be awarded after June 30, 2038. Upon expiration, all unencumbered funds and loan repayments made on or after July 1, 2038, must be transferred to the General Revenue Fund.
History.s. 1, ch. 2023-1; s. 9, ch. 2023-304; s. 10, ch. 2023-349.
1Note.Section 2, ch. 2023-1, provides that “[t]he Department of Economic Opportunity may, and all conditions are deemed to be met to, adopt emergency rules pursuant to s. 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, to administer s. 288.066, Florida Statutes, as created by this act. Notwithstanding any other law, emergency rules adopted pursuant to this section are effective for 6 months after adoption and may be renewed during the pendency of procedures to adopt permanent rules addressing the subject of the emergency rules.”
288.075 Confidentiality of records.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Economic development agency” means:
1. The Department of Economic Opportunity;
2. Any industrial development authority created in accordance with part III of chapter 159 or by special law;
3. Space Florida created in part II of chapter 331;
4. The public economic development agency of a county or municipality or, if the county or municipality does not have a public economic development agency, the county or municipal officers or employees assigned the duty to promote the general business interests or industrial interests of that county or municipality or the responsibilities related thereto;
5. Any research and development authority created in accordance with part V of chapter 159; or
6. Any private agency, person, partnership, corporation, or business entity when authorized by the state, a municipality, or a county to promote the general business interests or industrial interests of the state or that municipality or county.
(b) “Proprietary confidential business information” means information that is owned or controlled by the corporation, partnership, or person requesting confidentiality under this section; that is intended to be and is treated by the corporation, partnership, or person as private in that the disclosure of the information would cause harm to the business operations of the corporation, partnership, or person; that has not been disclosed unless disclosed pursuant to a statutory provision, an order of a court or administrative body, or a private agreement providing that the information may be released to the public; and that is information concerning:
1. Business plans.
2. Internal auditing controls and reports of internal auditors.
3. Reports of external auditors for privately held companies.
(c) “Trade secret” has the same meaning as in s. 688.002.
(2) PLANS, INTENTIONS, AND INTERESTS.
(a)1. If a private corporation, partnership, or person requests in writing before an economic incentive agreement is signed that an economic development agency maintain the confidentiality of information concerning plans, intentions, or interests of such private corporation, partnership, or person to locate, relocate, or expand any of its business activities in this state, the information is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution for 12 months after the date an economic development agency receives a request for confidentiality or until the information is otherwise disclosed, whichever occurs first.
2. An economic development agency may extend the period of confidentiality specified in subparagraph 1. for up to an additional 12 months upon written request from the private corporation, partnership, or person who originally requested confidentiality under this section and upon a finding by the economic development agency that such private corporation, partnership, or person is still actively considering locating, relocating, or expanding its business activities in this state. Such a request for an extension in the period of confidentiality must be received prior to the expiration of any confidentiality originally provided under subparagraph 1.

If a final project order for a signed economic development agreement is issued, then the information will remain confidential and exempt for 180 days after the final project order is issued, until a date specified in the final project order, or until the information is otherwise disclosed, whichever occurs first. However, such period of confidentiality may not extend beyond the period of confidentiality established in subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2.

(b) A public officer or employee may not enter into a binding agreement with any corporation, partnership, or person who has requested confidentiality of information under this subsection until 90 days after the information is made public unless:
1. The public officer or employee is acting in an official capacity;
2. The agreement does not accrue to the personal benefit of such public officer or employee; and
3. In the professional judgment of the officer or employee, the agreement is necessary to effectuate an economic development project.
(3) TRADE SECRETS.Trade secrets held by an economic development agency are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(4) PROPRIETARY CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS INFORMATION.Proprietary confidential business information held by an economic development agency is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, until such information is otherwise publicly available or is no longer treated by the proprietor as proprietary confidential business information.
(5) IDENTIFICATION, ACCOUNT, AND REGISTRATION NUMBERS.A federal employer identification number, reemployment assistance account number, or Florida sales tax registration number held by an economic development agency is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(6) ECONOMIC INCENTIVE PROGRAMS.
(a) The following information held by an economic development agency pursuant to the administration of an economic incentive program for qualified businesses is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution for a period not to exceed the duration of the incentive agreement, including an agreement authorizing a tax refund or tax credit, or upon termination of the incentive agreement:
1. The percentage of the business’s sales occurring outside this state.
2. An individual employee’s personal identifying information that is held as evidence of the achievement or nonachievement of the wage requirements of the tax refund, tax credit, or incentive agreement programs or of the job creation requirements of such programs.
3. The amount of:
a. Taxes on sales, use, and other transactions paid pursuant to chapter 212;
b. Corporate income taxes paid pursuant to chapter 220;
c. Intangible personal property taxes paid pursuant to chapter 199;
d. Insurance premium taxes paid pursuant to chapter 624;
e. Excise taxes paid on documents pursuant to chapter 201;
f. Ad valorem taxes paid, as defined in s. 220.03(1); or
g. State communications services taxes paid pursuant to chapter 202.

However, an economic development agency may disclose in the annual incentives report required under s. 288.0065 the aggregate amount of each tax identified in this subparagraph and paid by all businesses participating in each economic incentive program.

(b) The following information held by an economic development agency relating to a specific business participating in an economic incentive program is no longer confidential or exempt 180 days after a final project order for an economic incentive agreement is issued, until a date specified in the final project order, or if the information is otherwise disclosed, whichever occurs first:
1. The name of the qualified business.
2. The total number of jobs the business committed to create or retain.
3. The total number of jobs created or retained by the business.
4. Notwithstanding s. 213.053(2), the amount of tax refunds, tax credits, or incentives awarded to, claimed by, or, if applicable, refunded to the state by the business.
5. The anticipated total annual wages of employees the business committed to hire or retain.
(7) LOAN PROGRAMS.
(a) The following information held by an economic development agency pursuant to its administration of a state or federally funded small business loan program is exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
1. Tax returns.
2. Financial information.
3. Credit history information, credit reports, and credit scores.
(b) This subsection does not prohibit the disclosure of information held by an economic development agency pursuant to its administration of a small business loan program in an aggregated and anonymized format.
(c) This subsection is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed on October 2, 2026, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
(8) PENALTIES.Any person who is an employee of an economic development agency who violates the provisions of this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 1, ch. 77-75; s. 1, ch. 79-395; s. 3, ch. 83-47; s. 1, ch. 86-152; s. 1, ch. 86-180; s. 1, ch. 86-218; s. 1, ch. 89-217; s. 104, ch. 90-360; s. 245, ch. 91-224; s. 220, ch. 95-148; s. 1, ch. 95-378; s. 1, ch. 96-353; s. 135, ch. 96-406; s. 14, ch. 99-256; s. 1, ch. 2001-161; s. 5, ch. 2002-183; s. 27, ch. 2003-286; s. 55, ch. 2006-60; s. 1, ch. 2006-157; s. 1, ch. 2007-203; s. 23, ch. 2011-76; s. 148, ch. 2011-142; s. 1, ch. 2012-28; s. 55, ch. 2012-30; s. 1, ch. 2021-23; s. 42, ch. 2023-173.
288.076 Return on investment reporting for economic development programs.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Jobs” means full-time equivalent positions, including, but not limited to, positions obtained from a temporary employment agency or employee leasing company or through a union agreement or coemployment under a professional employer organization agreement, that result directly from a project in this state. The term does not include temporary construction jobs involved with the construction of facilities for the project or any jobs previously included in any application for tax refunds.
(b) “Participant business” means an employing unit, as defined in s. 443.036, that has entered into an agreement with the department to receive a state investment.
(c) “Project” means the creation of a new business or expansion of an existing business.
(d) “Project award date” means the date a participant business enters into an agreement with the department to receive a state investment.
(e) “State investment” means any state grants, tax exemptions, tax refunds, tax credits, or other state incentives provided to a business under a program administered by the department, including the capital investment tax credit under s. 220.191.
(2) The department shall maintain a website for the purpose of publishing the information described in this section. The information required to be published under this section must be provided in a format accessible to the public which enables users to search for and sort specific data and to easily view and retrieve all data at once.
(3) Within 48 hours after expiration of the period of confidentiality for project information deemed confidential and exempt pursuant to s. 288.075, the department shall publish the following information pertaining to each project:
(a) Projected economic benefits.The projected economic benefits at the time of the initial project award date.
(b) Project information.
1. The program or programs through which state investment is being made.
2. The maximum potential cumulative state investment in the project.
3. The target industry or industries, and any high-impact sectors implicated by the project.
4. The county or counties that will be impacted by the project.
5. For a project that requires local commitment, the total cumulative local financial commitment and in-kind support for the project.
(c) Participant business information.
1. The location of the headquarters of the participant business or, if a subsidiary, the headquarters of the parent company.
2. The firm size class of the participant business, or where owned by a parent company the firm size class of the participant business’s parent company, using the firm size classes established by the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, and whether the participant business qualifies as a small business as defined in s. 288.703.
3. The date of the project award.
4. The expected duration of the contract.
5. The anticipated dates when the participant business will claim the last state investment.
(d) Project evaluation criteria.Economic benefits generated by the project.
(e) Project performance goals.
1. The incremental direct jobs attributable to the project, identifying the number of jobs generated and the number of jobs retained.
2. The number of jobs generated and the number of jobs retained by the project, and the average annual wage of persons holding such jobs.
3. The incremental direct capital investment in the state generated by the project.
(f) Total state investment to date.The total amount of state investment disbursed to the participant business to date under the terms of the contract, itemized by incentive program.
(4) The department shall calculate and publish on its website the economic benefits of each project within 48 hours after the conclusion of the agreement between each participant business and the department. The department shall work with the Office of Economic and Demographic Research to provide a description of the methodology used to calculate the economic benefits of a project, and the department must publish the information on its website.
(5) At least annually, from the project award date, the department shall:
(a) Publish verified results to update the information described in paragraphs (3)(b)-(f) to accurately reflect any changes in the published information since the project award date.
(b) Publish on its website the date on which the information collected and published for each project was last updated.
(6) Annually, the department shall publish information relating to the progress of Quick Action Closing Fund projects, awarded under former s. 288.1088, until all contracts are complete or terminated.
(7) Within 48 hours after expiration of the period of confidentiality provided under s. 288.075, the department shall publish the contract or agreement described in s. 288.061, redacted to protect the participant business from disclosure of information that remains confidential or exempt by law.
(8) The provisions of this section that restrict the department’s publication of information are intended only to limit the information that the department may publish on its website and shall not be construed to create an exemption from public records requirements under s. 119.07(1) or s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(9) The department may adopt rules to administer this section.
History.s. 14, ch. 2013-39; s. 14, ch. 2013-42; s. 43, ch. 2023-173.
288.095 Economic Development Trust Fund.
(1) The Economic Development Trust Fund is created within the department. Moneys deposited into the fund must be used only to support the authorized activities and operations of the department.
(2) There is created, within the Economic Development Trust Fund, the Economic Development Incentives Account. The Economic Development Incentives Account consists of moneys appropriated to the account for purposes of the tax incentives programs authorized under s. 288.107 and former s. 288.106, and local financial support provided under former s. 288.106. Moneys in the Economic Development Incentives Account shall be subject to the provisions of s. 216.301(1)(a).
(3)(a) The total state share of tax refund payments may not exceed $35 million.
(b) The total amount of tax refund claims approved for payment by the department based on actual project performance may not exceed the amount appropriated to the Economic Development Incentives Account for such purposes for the fiscal year. Claims for tax refunds under s. 288.107 and former ss. 288.1045 and 288.106 shall be paid in the order the claims are approved by the department. In the event the Legislature does not appropriate an amount sufficient to satisfy the tax refunds under s. 288.107 and former s. 288.106 in a fiscal year, the department shall pay the tax refunds from the appropriation for the following fiscal year. By March 1 of each year, the department shall notify the legislative appropriations committees of the Senate and House of Representatives of any anticipated shortfall in the amount of funds needed to satisfy claims for tax refunds from the appropriation for the current fiscal year.
(c) Moneys in the Economic Development Incentives Account may be used only to pay tax refunds and make other payments authorized under s. 288.107 or in agreements authorized under former s. 288.106. The department shall report within 10 days after the end of each quarter to the Office of Policy and Budget in the Executive Officer of the Governor, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee or its successor, and the chair of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee or its successor regarding the status of payments made for all economic development programs administered by the department under this chapter, including s. 288.107 and 1former ss. 288.106 and 288.108.
(d) The department may adopt rules necessary to carry out this subsection, including rules providing for the use of moneys in the Economic Development Incentives Account and for the administration of the Economic Development Incentives Account.
(4) The department shall create a separate account for funds transferred from the former Enterprise Florida, Inc., held for payments for agreements under the Quick Action Closing Fund under former s. 288.1088 or the Innovation Incentive Program under former s. 288.1089. The department shall report within 10 days after the end of each quarter to the Office of Policy and Budget in the Executive Office of the Governor, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee or its successor, and the chair of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee or its successor regarding all escrow activity relating to both programs, including payments made pursuant to confirmed performance under the remaining contracts, payments returned to the state due to noncompliance, and contracts terminated due to noncompliance. The department must transfer to the General Revenue Fund any payments returned to the state, either returned by the recipient or through action by the department to administratively or otherwise legally obtain repayment of funds, and any funds associated with terminated contracts.
History.s. 5, ch. 92-111; ss. 4, 7, ch. 93-414; ss. 15, 75, ch. 94-136; s. 43, ch. 96-320; s. 10, ch. 97-277; s. 12, ch. 97-278; s. 25, ch. 99-251; s. 41, ch. 2001-201; s. 2, ch. 2002-392; s. 2, ch. 2005-66; s. 1, ch. 2005-276; s. 19, ch. 2011-142; s. 15, ch. 2013-39; s. 15, ch. 2013-42; s. 44, ch. 2023-173.
1Note.The reference to former ss. 288.106 and 288.108 was added by s. 44, ch. 2023-173. Section 288.106 was repealed by s. 47, ch. 2023-173; s. 288.108 was amended by s. 49, ch. 2023-173, and was not repealed.
288.101 Florida Job Growth Grant Fund.
(1) The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund is created within the department to promote economic opportunity by improving public infrastructure and enhancing workforce training. The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund may not be used for the exclusive benefit of any single company, corporation, or business entity.
1(2) The department may identify projects, solicit proposals, and make funding recommendations to the Governor, who is authorized to approve:
(a) State or local public infrastructure projects to promote:
1. Economic recovery in specific regions of this state;
2. Economic diversification; or
3. Economic enhancement in a targeted industry.
(b) State or local public infrastructure projects to facilitate the development or construction of affordable housing. This paragraph is repealed July 1, 2033.
(c) Workforce training grants to support programs at state colleges and state technical centers that provide participants with transferable, sustainable workforce skills applicable to more than a single employer, and for equipment associated with these programs. The department shall work with CareerSource Florida, Inc., to ensure programs are offered to the public based on criteria established by the state college or state technical center and do not exclude applicants who are unemployed or underemployed.
(3) For purposes of this section:
(a) “Infrastructure” means any fixed capital expenditure or fixed capital costs associated with the construction, reconstruction, or improvement of facilities that have a life expectancy of 5 or more years and any land acquisition, land improvement, design, and engineering costs related thereto. Facilities in this category include technical structures such as roads, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, and telecommunications facilities.
(b) “Public infrastructure” means infrastructure that is owned by the public, and is for public use or predominately benefits the public. If public infrastructure is leased or sold, it must be leased or sold at fair market rates or value.
(c) “Targeted industry” means any industry identified in the most recent list provided to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in accordance with s. 288.005.
(4) The department shall administer contracts for projects approved by the Governor and funded pursuant to this section.
History.s. 15, ch. 2017-233; s. 27, ch. 2018-110; s. 60, ch. 2023-8; s. 25, ch. 2023-17; s. 45, ch. 2023-173.
1Note.Section 43, ch. 2023-17, provides that:

“(1) The Department of Revenue is authorized, and all conditions are deemed met, to adopt emergency rules under s. 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, for the purpose of implementing provisions related to the Live Local Program created by this act. Notwithstanding any other law, emergency rules adopted under this section are effective for 6 months after adoption and may be renewed during the pendency of procedures to adopt permanent rules addressing the subject of the emergency rules.

“(2) This section expires July 1, 2026.”

288.107 Brownfield redevelopment bonus refunds.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section:
(a) “Account” means the Economic Development Incentives Account as authorized in s. 288.095.
(b) “Brownfield sites” means sites that are generally abandoned, idled, or underused industrial and commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by actual or perceived environmental contamination.
(c) “Brownfield area eligible for bonus refunds” means a brownfield site for which a rehabilitation agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection or a local government delegated by the Department of Environmental Protection has been executed under s. 376.80 and any abutting real property parcel within a brownfield area which has been designated by a local government by resolution under s. 376.80.
(d) “Eligible business” means a business that can demonstrate a fixed capital investment of at least $2 million in mixed-use business activities, including multiunit housing, commercial, retail, and industrial in brownfield areas eligible for bonus refunds, and that provides benefits to its employees.
(e) “Jobs” means full-time equivalent positions, including, but not limited to, positions obtained from a temporary employment agency or employee leasing company or through a union agreement or coemployment under a professional employer organization agreement, that result directly from a project in this state. The term does not include temporary construction jobs involved with the construction of facilities for the project and which are not associated with the implementation of the site rehabilitation as provided in s. 376.80.
(f) “Project” means the creation of a new business or the expansion of an existing business.
(2) BROWNFIELD REDEVELOPMENT BONUS REFUND.Bonus refunds shall be approved by the department as specified in the final order and allowed from the account as a bonus refund of up to $2,500 to any eligible business for each new Florida job created in a brownfield area eligible for bonus refunds which is claimed under an annual claim procedure similar to the annual refund claim authorized in former s. 288.106(6). The amount of the refund shall be equal to 20 percent of the average annual wage for the jobs created.
(3) CRITERIA.The minimum criteria for participation in the brownfield redevelopment bonus refund are:
(a) The creation of at least 10 new full-time permanent jobs. Such jobs shall not include construction or site rehabilitation jobs associated with the implementation of a brownfield site agreement as described in s. 376.80(5).
(b) The completion of a fixed capital investment of at least $2 million in mixed-use business activities, including multiunit housing, commercial, retail, and industrial in brownfield areas eligible for bonus refunds, by an eligible business applying for a refund under subsection (2) which provides benefits to its employees.
(4) PAYMENT OF BROWNFIELD REDEVELOPMENT BONUS REFUNDS.
(a) To be eligible to receive a bonus refund for new Florida jobs created in a brownfield area eligible for bonus refunds, a business must have been certified as an eligible business as defined in paragraph (1)(d) and must have indicated on the tax refund application form submitted to the department that the project for which the application is submitted is or will be located in a brownfield area eligible for bonus refunds and that the business is applying for certification as a qualified brownfield business under this section, and must have signed a tax refund agreement with the department that indicates that the business has been certified as located in a brownfield area eligible for bonus refunds and specifies the schedule of brownfield redevelopment bonus refunds that the business may be eligible to receive in each fiscal year.
(b) To be considered to receive an eligible brownfield redevelopment bonus refund payment, the business meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) must submit a claim once each fiscal year on a claim form approved by the department which indicates the location of the brownfield site for which a rehabilitation agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection or a local government delegated by the Department of Environmental Protection has been executed under s. 376.80, the address of the business facility’s brownfield location, the name of the brownfield in which it is located, the number of jobs created, and the average wage of the jobs created by the business within the brownfield.
(c) After entering into a tax refund agreement, an eligible business may receive brownfield redevelopment bonus refunds from the account:
1. For both of the following taxes due and paid by that business beginning with the first taxable year of the business that begins after entering into the agreement:
a. Corporate income taxes under chapter 220.
b. Insurance premium tax under s. 624.509.
2. For all of the following taxes due and paid by that business after entering into the agreement:
a. Taxes on sales, use, and other transactions under chapter 212.
b. Intangible personal property taxes under chapter 199.
c. Excise taxes on documents under chapter 201.
d. Ad valorem taxes paid, as defined in s. 220.03(1).
e. State communications services taxes administered under chapter 202. This provision does not apply to the gross receipts tax imposed under chapter 203 and administered under chapter 202 or the local communications services tax authorized under s. 202.19.
(d) An eligible business that fraudulently claims a refund under this section:
1. Is liable for repayment of the amount of the refund to the account, plus a mandatory penalty in the amount of 200 percent of the tax refund, which shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund.
2. Commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(e) Applications shall be reviewed and certified pursuant to s. 288.061 before the business has made a decision to locate or expand a facility in this state. The department shall review all applications submitted which indicate that the proposed project will be located in a brownfield area eligible for bonus refunds and determine, with the assistance of the Department of Environmental Protection, that the project location is within a brownfield area eligible for bonus refunds as provided in this act.
(f) The department shall approve all claims for a brownfield redevelopment bonus refund payment that are found to meet the requirements of this section.
(g) The department, with such assistance as may be required from the Department of Environmental Protection, shall specify by written final order the amount of the brownfield redevelopment bonus refund that is authorized for the business for the fiscal year within 30 days after the date that the claim for the annual tax refund is received by the department.
(h) The total amount of the bonus refunds approved by the department under this section in any fiscal year must not exceed the total amount appropriated to the Economic Development Incentives Account for this purpose for the fiscal year. In the event that the Legislature does not appropriate an amount sufficient to satisfy projections by the department for brownfield redevelopment bonus refunds under this section in a fiscal year, the department shall, not later than July 15 of such year, determine the proportion of each brownfield redevelopment bonus refund claim which shall be paid by dividing the amount appropriated for tax refunds for the fiscal year by the projected total of brownfield redevelopment bonus refund claims for the fiscal year. The amount of each claim for a brownfield redevelopment bonus tax refund shall be multiplied by the resulting quotient. If, after the payment of all such refund claims, funds remain in the Economic Development Incentives Account for brownfield redevelopment tax refunds, the department shall recalculate the proportion for each refund claim and adjust the amount of each claim accordingly.
(i) Upon approval of the brownfield redevelopment bonus refund, payment shall be made for the amount specified in the final order. If the final order is appealed, payment may not be made for a refund to the business until the conclusion of all appeals of that order.
(5) ADMINISTRATION.
(a) The department may verify information provided in any claim submitted for tax credits under this section with regard to employment and wage levels or the payment of the taxes to the appropriate agency or authority, including the Department of Revenue, or any local government or authority.
(b) To facilitate the process of monitoring and auditing applications made under this program, the department may provide a list of businesses to the Department of Revenue, to the Department of Environmental Protection, or to any local government authority. The department may request the assistance of those entities with respect to monitoring the payment of the taxes listed in 1paragraph (3)(c).
(c) The department may adopt rules, including an application form, to administer this section.
History.s. 11, ch. 97-277; s. 8, ch. 98-75; s. 40, ch. 2000-210; s. 4, ch. 2000-317; s. 12, ch. 2002-294; s. 9, ch. 2003-36; s. 18, ch. 2009-51; s. 4, ch. 2010-136; s. 19, ch. 2010-147; s. 151, ch. 2011-142; s. 17, ch. 2013-39; s. 18, ch. 2013-42; s. 48, ch. 2023-173.
1Note.The referenced paragraph does not exist. The intended reference may be to paragraph (4)(c), which contains a list of taxes.
288.108 High-impact business.
(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND DECLARATIONS.The Legislature finds that attracting, retaining, and providing favorable conditions for the growth of certain high-impact facilities provides widespread economic benefits to Florida citizens through high-quality employment opportunities in the facility and in related facilities attracted to Florida, through the increased tax base provided by the high-impact facility and its related sector businesses, through an enhanced entrepreneurial climate in the state and the resulting business and employment opportunities, and through the stimulation and enhancement of the state’s universities and community colleges. It is the policy of this state to stimulate growth of these business sectors and the state economy by enhancing Florida’s competitive position and encouraging the location of such major high-impact facilities in the state.
(2) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Commencement of operations” means that the qualified high-impact business has begun to actively operate the principal function for which the facility was constructed as determined by the department and specified in the qualified high-impact business agreement.
(b) “Cumulative investment” means the total investment in buildings and equipment made by a qualified high-impact business since the beginning of construction of such facility.
(c) “Eligible business” means a business in one of the designated high-impact sectors as provided in subsection (5), which is making a cumulative investment in the state of at least $50 million and creating at least 50 new full-time equivalent jobs in the state or a research and development facility making a cumulative investment of at least $25 million and creating at least 25 new full-time equivalent jobs. Such investment and employment must be achieved in a period not to exceed 3 years after the date the business is certified as a qualified high-impact business.
(d) “Fiscal year” means the fiscal year of the state.
(e) “Jobs” means full-time equivalent positions, including, but not limited to, positions obtained from a temporary employment agency or employee leasing company or through a union agreement or coemployment under a professional employer organization agreement, that result directly from a project in this state. The term does not include temporary construction jobs involved in the construction of the project facility.
(f) “Qualified high-impact business” means a business in one of the high-impact sectors that has been certified by the department as a qualified high-impact business to receive a high-impact sector performance grant.
(g) “Research and development” means basic and applied research in science or engineering, as well as the design, development, and testing of prototypes or processes of new or improved products. Research and development does not mean market research, routine consumer product testing, sales research, research in the social sciences or psychology, nontechnological activities or technical services.
(3) HIGH-IMPACT SECTOR PERFORMANCE GRANTS; ELIGIBLE AMOUNTS.
(a) Upon commencement of operations, a qualified high-impact business is eligible to receive a high-impact business performance grant in the amount as determined by the department under subsection (5), consistent with eligible amounts as provided in paragraph (b), and specified in the qualified high-impact business agreement. The precise conditions that are considered commencement of operations must be specified in the qualified high-impact business agreement.
(b) The department may negotiate qualified high-impact business performance grant awards for any single qualified high-impact business. In negotiating such awards, the department shall consider the following guidelines in conjunction with other relevant applicant impact and cost information and analysis as required in subsection (5).
1. A qualified high-impact business making a cumulative investment of $50 million and creating 50 jobs may be eligible for a total qualified high-impact business performance grant of $500,000 to $1 million.
2. A qualified high-impact business making a cumulative investment of $100 million and creating 100 jobs may be eligible for a total qualified high-impact business performance grant of $1 million to $2 million.
3. A qualified high-impact business making a cumulative investment of $800 million and creating 800 jobs may be eligible for a qualified high-impact business performance grant of $10 million to $12 million.
4. A qualified high-impact business engaged in research and development making a cumulative investment of $25 million and creating 25 jobs may be eligible for a total qualified high-impact business performance grant of $700,000 to $1 million.
5. A qualified high-impact business engaged in research and development making a cumulative investment of $75 million, and creating 75 jobs may be eligible for a total qualified high-impact business performance grant of $2 million to $3 million.
6. A qualified high-impact business engaged in research and development making a cumulative investment of $150 million, and creating 150 jobs may be eligible for a qualified high-impact business performance grant of $3.5 million to $4.5 million.
(c) Fifty percent of the performance grant awarded under subsection (5) must be paid to the qualified high-impact business upon certification by the business that operations have commenced.
(d) The balance of the performance grant award shall be paid to the qualified high-impact business upon the business’s certification that full operations have commenced and that the full investment and employment goals specified in the qualified high-impact business agreement have been met and verified by the department. The verification must occur not later than 60 days after the qualified high-impact business has provided the certification specified in this paragraph.
(e) The department may, upon a showing of reasonable cause for delay and significant progress toward the achievement of the investment and employment goals specified in the qualified high-impact business agreement, extend the date for commencement of operations, not to exceed an additional 2 years beyond the limit specified in paragraph (2)(a), but in no case may any high-impact sector performance grant payment be made to the business until the scheduled goals have been achieved.
(4) AUTHORITY TO APPROVE QUALIFIED HIGH-IMPACT BUSINESS PERFORMANCE GRANTS.
(a) The total amount of active performance grants scheduled for payment by the department in any single fiscal year may not exceed the lesser of $30 million or the amount appropriated by the Legislature for that fiscal year for qualified high-impact business performance grants. If the scheduled grant payments are not made in the year for which they were scheduled in the qualified high-impact business agreement and are rescheduled as authorized in paragraph (3)(e), they are, for purposes of this paragraph, deemed to have been paid in the year in which they were originally scheduled in the qualified high-impact business agreement.
(b) If the Legislature does not appropriate an amount sufficient to satisfy the qualified high-impact business performance grant payments scheduled for any fiscal year, the department shall, not later than July 15 of that year, determine the proportion of each grant payment which may be paid by dividing the amount appropriated for qualified high-impact business performance grant payments for the fiscal year by the total performance grant payments scheduled in all performance grant agreements for the fiscal year. The amount of each grant scheduled for payment in that fiscal year must be multiplied by the resulting quotient. All businesses affected by this calculation must be notified by August 1 of each fiscal year. If, after the payment of all the refund claims, funds remain in the appropriation for payment of qualified high-impact business performance grants, the department shall recalculate the proportion for each performance grant payment and adjust the amount of each claim accordingly.
(5) APPLICATIONS; CERTIFICATION PROCESS; GRANT AGREEMENT.
(a) The department shall review an application pursuant to s. 288.061 which is received from any eligible business, as defined in subsection (2), for consideration as a qualified high-impact business before the business has made a decision to locate or expand a facility in this state. The business must provide the following information:
1. A complete description of the type of facility, business operations, and product or service associated with the project.
2. The number of full-time equivalent jobs that will be created by the project and the average annual wage of those jobs.
3. The cumulative amount of investment to be dedicated to this project within 3 years.
4. A statement concerning any special impacts the facility is expected to stimulate in the sector, the state, or regional economy and in state universities and community colleges.
5. A statement concerning the role the grant will play in the decision of the applicant business to locate or expand in this state.
6. Any additional information requested by the department.
(b) Applications shall be reviewed and certified pursuant to s. 288.061.
(c) The department and the qualified high-impact business shall enter into a performance grant agreement setting forth the conditions for payment of the qualified high-impact business performance grant. The agreement shall include the total amount of the qualified high-impact business facility performance grant award, the performance conditions that must be met to obtain the award, including the employment, average salary, investment, the methodology for determining if the conditions have been met, and the schedule of performance grant payments.
(6) SELECTION AND DESIGNATION OF HIGH-IMPACT SECTORS.
(a) The department shall, by January 1, of every third year, beginning January 1, 2011, initiate the process of reviewing and, if appropriate, selecting a new high-impact sector for designation or recommending the deactivation of a designated high-impact sector. The process of reviewing designated high-impact sectors or recommending the deactivation of a designated high-impact sector shall be in consultation with economic development organizations, the State University System, local governments, employee and employer organizations, market analysts, and economists.
(b) The department has authority, after meeting the requirements of this subsection, to designate a high-impact sector or to deauthorize a designated high-impact sector.
(c) To begin the process of selecting and designating a new high-impact sector, the department shall undertake a thorough study of the proposed sector. This study must consider the definition of the sector, including the types of facilities which characterize the sector that might qualify for a high-impact performance grant and whether a powerful incentive like the high-impact performance grant is needed to induce major facilities in the sector to locate or grow in this state; the benefits that major facilities in the sector have or could have on the state’s economy and the relative significance of those benefits; the needs of the sector and major sector facilities, including natural, public, and human resources and benefits and costs with regard to these resources; the sector’s current and future markets; the current fiscal and potential fiscal impacts of the sector, to both the state and its communities; any geographic opportunities or limitations with regard to the sector, including areas of the state most likely to benefit from the sector and areas unlikely to benefit from the sector; the state’s advantages or disadvantages with regard to the sector; and the long-term expectations for the industry on a global level and in the state. If the department finds favorable conditions for the designation of the sector as a high-impact sector, it shall include in the study recommendations for a complete and comprehensive sector strategy, including appropriate marketing and workforce strategies for the entire sector and any recommendations for statutory or policy changes needed to improve the state’s business climate and to attract and grow Florida businesses, particularly small businesses, in the proposed sector. The study shall reflect the finding of the sector-business network specified in paragraph (d).
(d) In conjunction with the study required in paragraph (c), the department shall develop and consult with a network of sector businesses. While this network may include non-Florida businesses, it must include any businesses currently within the state. If the number of Florida businesses in the sector is large, a representative cross-section of Florida sector businesses may form the core of this network.
(e) The study and its findings and recommendations and the recommendations gathered from the sector-business network must be discussed and considered during at least one meeting per calendar year of leaders in business, government, education, workforce development, and economic development called by the Governor to address the business climate in the state, develop a common vision for the economic future of the state, and identify economic development efforts to fulfill that vision.
(f) If after consideration of the completed study required in paragraph (c) and the input derived from consultation with the sector-business network in paragraph (d) and the meeting as required in paragraph (e), the department finds that the sector will have exceptionally large and widespread benefits to the state and its citizens, relative to any public costs; that the sector is characterized by the types of facilities that require exceptionally large investments and provide employment opportunities to a relatively large number of workers in high-quality, high-income jobs that might qualify for a high-impact performance grant; and that given the competition for such businesses it may be necessary for the state to be able to offer a large inducement, such as a high-impact performance grant, to attract such a business to the state or to encourage businesses to continue to grow in the state, the department may designate the sector as a high-impact business sector or may deny the request for designation. In any case, the department’s decision must be in writing and justify the reasons for the decision.
(g) If the department designates the sector as a high-impact sector, it shall, within 30 days, notify the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of its decision and provide a complete report on its decision, including copies of the material compiled in the evaluation, studies, and meetings required under this subsection and the department’s evaluation and comment on any statutory or policy changes.
(h) For the purposes of this subsection, a high-impact sector consists of the silicon technology sector found to be focused around the type of high-impact businesses for which the incentive created in this subsection is required and will create the kinds of sector and economy wide benefits that justify the use of state resources to encourage these investments and require substantial inducements to compete with the incentive packages offered by other states and nations.
History.s. 13, ch. 97-278; s. 65, ch. 99-13; s. 11, ch. 99-251; s. 6, ch. 2002-392; s. 10, ch. 2003-36; s. 19, ch. 2009-51; s. 20, ch. 2010-147; s. 152, ch. 2011-142; s. 37, ch. 2012-96; s. 21, ch. 2013-18; s. 49, ch. 2023-173.
288.1097 Qualified job training organizations; certification; duties.
(1) As used in this section, the term “qualified job training organization” means an organization that satisfies all of the following:
(a) Is accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
(b) Collects Florida state sales tax.
(c) Operates statewide and has more than 100 locations within the state.
(d) Is exempt from income taxation under s. 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
(e) Specializes in the retail sale of donated items.
(f) Provides job training and employment services to individuals who have workplace disadvantages and disabilities.
(g) Uses a majority of its revenues for job training and placement programs that create jobs and foster economic development.
(2) To be eligible for funding, an organization must be certified by the department as meeting the criteria in subsection (1). After certification, the department may release funds to the qualified job training organization pursuant to a contract with the organization. The contract must include the performance conditions that must be met in order to obtain the award or portions of the award, including, but not limited to, net new employment in the state, the methodology for validating performance, the schedule of payments, and sanctions for failure to meet the performance requirements including any provisions for repayment of awards. The contract must also require that salaries paid to officers and employees of the qualified job training organization comply with s. 4958 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
(3) A qualified job training organization that is certified must use the proceeds provided solely to encourage and provide economic development through capital construction, improvements, or the purchase of equipment that will result in expanded employment opportunities. Proceeds provided under this section for a qualified job training organization must result, within a 10-year period, in:
(a) The creation of at least 5,000 direct, new jobs.
(b) A minimum of 23,000 new clients served.
(c) The production of a minimum of $24 million in new sales tax revenues from increased sales.
(d) A minimum of $42 million in new salaries.
(e) A minimum of $6 million for job placement services.
(4) The failure to use the proceeds as required constitutes grounds for revoking certification.
(5) Notwithstanding s. 624.4625(1)(b), any member of a qualified job training organization that is both certified under this section and has at least one roadside cleaning service contract with a state agency among its membership may participate in a self-insurance fund authorized under s. 624.4625.
History.s. 4, ch. 2006-55; s. 40, ch. 2012-96; s. 1, ch. 2016-239.
288.111 Information concerning local manufacturing development programs.The department shall develop materials that identify each local government that establishes a local manufacturing development program under s. 163.3252. The materials, which the department may elect to develop and maintain in electronic format or in any other format deemed by the department to provide public access, must be updated at least annually. State agencies may distribute the materials to prospective, new, expanding, and relocating businesses seeking to conduct business in this state.
History.s. 5, ch. 2013-224; s. 54, ch. 2023-173.
288.1162 Professional sports franchises; duties.
(1) The department shall serve as the state agency for screening applicants for state funding under s. 212.20 and for certifying an applicant as a facility for a new or retained professional sports franchise.
(2) The department shall develop rules for the receipt and processing of applications for funding under s. 212.20.
(3) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “New professional sports franchise” means a professional sports franchise that was not based in this state before April 1, 1987.
(b) “Retained professional sports franchise” means a professional sports franchise that has had a league-authorized location in this state on or before December 31, 1976, and has continuously remained at that location, and has never been located at a facility that has been previously certified under any provision of this section.
(4) Before certifying an applicant as a facility for a new or retained professional sports franchise, the department must determine that:
(a) A “unit of local government” as defined in s. 218.369 is responsible for the construction, management, or operation of the professional sports franchise facility or holds title to the property on which the professional sports franchise facility is located.
(b) The applicant has a verified copy of a signed agreement with a new professional sports franchise for the use of the facility for a term of at least 10 years, or in the case of a retained professional sports franchise, an agreement for use of the facility for a term of at least 20 years.
(c) The applicant has a verified copy of the approval from the governing authority of the league in which the new professional sports franchise exists authorizing the location of the professional sports franchise in this state after April 1, 1987, or in the case of a retained professional sports franchise, verified evidence that it has had a league-authorized location in this state on or before December 31, 1976. As used in this section, the term “league” means the National League or the American League of Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, or the National Hockey League.
(d) The applicant has projections, verified by the department, which demonstrate that the new or retained professional sports franchise will attract a paid attendance of more than 300,000 annually.
(e) The applicant has an independent analysis or study, verified by the department, which demonstrates that the amount of the revenues generated by the taxes imposed under chapter 212 with respect to the use and operation of the professional sports franchise facility will equal or exceed $2 million annually.
(f) The municipality in which the facility for a new or retained professional sports franchise is located, or the county if the facility for a new or retained professional sports franchise is located in an unincorporated area, has certified by resolution after a public hearing that the application serves a public purpose.
(g) The applicant has demonstrated that it has provided, is capable of providing, or has financial or other commitments to provide more than one-half of the costs incurred or related to the improvement and development of the facility.
(h) An applicant previously certified under any provision of this section who has received funding under such certification is not eligible for an additional certification.
(5) An applicant certified as a facility for a new or retained professional sports franchise may use funds provided under s. 212.20 only for the public purpose of paying for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, or renovation of a facility for a new or retained professional sports franchise to pay or pledge for the payment of debt service on, or to fund debt service reserve funds, arbitrage rebate obligations, or other amounts payable with respect to, bonds issued for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, or renovation of such facility or for the reimbursement of such costs or the refinancing of bonds issued for such purposes.
(6) The department shall notify the Department of Revenue of any facility certified as a facility for a new or retained professional sports franchise. The department shall certify no more than eight facilities as facilities for a new professional sports franchise or as facilities for a retained professional sports franchise, including in the total any facilities certified by the former Department of Commerce before July 1, 1996. The department may make no more than one certification for any facility.
(7) The Auditor General may conduct audits as provided in s. 11.45 to verify that the distributions under this section are expended as required in this section. If the Auditor General determines that the distributions under this section are not expended as required by this section, the Auditor General shall notify the Department of Revenue, which may pursue recovery of the funds under the laws and rules governing the assessment of taxes.
(8) An applicant is not qualified for certification under this section if the franchise formed the basis for a previous certification, unless the previous certification was withdrawn by the facility or invalidated by the department or the former Department of Commerce before any funds were distributed under s. 212.20. This subsection does not disqualify an applicant if the previous certification occurred between May 23, 1993, and May 25, 1993; however, any funds to be distributed under s. 212.20 for the second certification shall be offset by the amount distributed to the previous certified facility. Distribution of funds for the second certification shall not be made until all amounts payable for the first certification are distributed.
History.s. 2, ch. 88-226; s. 3, ch. 89-217; s. 49, ch. 89-356; s. 3, ch. 91-274; s. 35, ch. 94-338; s. 2, ch. 95-304; s. 45, ch. 96-320; s. 32, ch. 97-99; s. 2, ch. 2000-186; s. 2, ch. 2006-262; s. 4, ch. 2010-140; s. 35, ch. 2010-147; s. 3, ch. 2011-3; s. 158, ch. 2011-142.
288.11621 Spring training baseball franchises.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Agreement” means a certified, signed lease between an applicant that applies for certification on or after July 1, 2010, and the spring training franchise for the use of a facility.
(b) “Applicant” means a unit of local government as defined in s. 218.369, including local governments located in the same county that have partnered with a certified applicant before the effective date of this section or with an applicant for a new certification, for purposes of sharing in the responsibilities of a facility.
(c) “Certified applicant” means a facility for a spring training franchise that was certified before July 1, 2010, under s. 288.1162(5), Florida Statutes 2009, or a unit of local government that is certified under this section.
(d) “Facility” means a spring training stadium, playing fields, and appurtenances intended to support spring training activities.
(e) “Local funds” and “local matching funds” mean funds provided by a county, municipality, or other local government.
(2) CERTIFICATION PROCESS.
(a) Before certifying an applicant to receive state funding for a facility for a spring training franchise, the department must verify that:
1. The applicant is responsible for the acquisition, construction, management, or operation of the facility for a spring training franchise or holds title to the property on which the facility for a spring training franchise is located.
2. The applicant has a certified copy of a signed agreement with a spring training franchise for the use of the facility for a term of at least 20 years. The agreement also must require the franchise to reimburse the state for state funds expended by an applicant under this section if the franchise relocates before the agreement expires. The agreement may be contingent on an award of funds under this section and other conditions precedent.
3. The applicant has made a financial commitment to provide 50 percent or more of the funds required by an agreement for the acquisition, construction, or renovation of the facility for a spring training franchise. The commitment may be contingent upon an award of funds under this section and other conditions precedent.
4. The applicant demonstrates that the facility for a spring training franchise will attract a paid attendance of at least 50,000 annually to the spring training games.
5. The facility for a spring training franchise is located in a county that levies a tourist development tax under s. 125.0104.
(b) The department shall competitively evaluate applications for state funding of a facility for a spring training franchise. The total number of certifications may not exceed 10 at any time. The evaluation criteria must include, with priority given in descending order to, the following items:
1. The anticipated effect on the economy of the local community where the spring training facility is to be built, including projections on paid attendance, local and state tax collections generated by spring training games, and direct and indirect job creation resulting from the spring training activities. Priority shall be given to applicants who can demonstrate the largest projected economic impact.
2. The amount of the local matching funds committed to a facility relative to the amount of state funding sought, with priority given to applicants that commit the largest amount of local matching funds relative to the amount of state funding sought.
3. The potential for the facility to serve multiple uses.
4. The intended use of the funds by the applicant, with priority given to the funds being used to acquire a facility, construct a new facility, or renovate an existing facility.
5. The length of time that a spring training franchise has been under an agreement to conduct spring training activities within an applicant’s geographic location or jurisdiction, with priority given to applicants having agreements with the same franchise for the longest period of time.
6. The length of time that an applicant’s facility has been used by one or more spring training franchises, with priority given to applicants whose facilities have been in continuous use as facilities for spring training the longest.
7. The term remaining on a lease between an applicant and a spring training franchise for a facility, with priority given to applicants having the shortest lease terms remaining.
8. The length of time that a spring training franchise agrees to use an applicant’s facility if an application is granted under this section, with priority given to applicants having agreements for the longest future use.
9. The net increase of total active recreation space owned by the applicant after an acquisition of land for the facility, with priority given to applicants having the largest percentage increase of total active recreation space that will be available for public use.
10. The location of the facility in a brownfield, an enterprise zone, a community redevelopment area, or other area of targeted development or revitalization included in an urban infill redevelopment plan, with priority given to applicants having facilities located in these areas.
(c) Each applicant certified on or after July 1, 2010, shall enter into an agreement with the department that:
1. Specifies the amount of the state incentive funding to be distributed.
2. States the criteria that the certified applicant must meet in order to remain certified.
3. States that the certified applicant is subject to decertification if the certified applicant fails to comply with this section or the agreement.
4. States that the department may recover state incentive funds if the certified applicant is decertified.
5. Specifies information that the certified applicant must report to the department.
6. Includes any provision deemed prudent by the department.
(3) USE OF FUNDS.
(a) A certified applicant may use funds provided under s. 212.20(6)(d)6.b. only to:
1. Serve the public purpose of acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, or renovating a facility for a spring training franchise.
2. Pay or pledge for the payment of debt service on, or to fund debt service reserve funds, arbitrage rebate obligations, or other amounts payable with respect thereto, bonds issued for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, or renovation of such facility, or for the reimbursement of such costs or the refinancing of bonds issued for such purposes.
3. Assist in the relocation of a spring training franchise from one unit of local government to another only if the governing board of the current host local government by a majority vote agrees to relocation.
(b) State funds awarded to a certified applicant for a facility for a spring training franchise may not be used to subsidize facilities that are privately owned, maintained, and used only by a spring training franchise.
(c) The Department of Revenue may not distribute funds to an applicant certified on or after July 1, 2010, until it receives notice from the department that the certified applicant has encumbered funds under subparagraph (a)2.
(d)1. All certified applicants must place unexpended state funds received pursuant to s. 212.20(6)(d)6.b. in a trust fund or separate account for use only as authorized in this section.
2. A certified applicant may request that the Department of Revenue suspend further distributions of state funds made available under s. 212.20(6)(d)6.b. for 12 months after expiration of an existing agreement with a spring training franchise to provide the certified applicant with an opportunity to enter into a new agreement with a spring training franchise, at which time the distributions shall resume.
3. The expenditure of state funds distributed to an applicant certified before July 1, 2010, must begin within 48 months after the initial receipt of the state funds. In addition, the construction of, or capital improvements to, a spring training facility must be completed within 24 months after the project’s commencement.
(4) ANNUAL REPORTS.On or before September 1 of each year, a certified applicant shall submit to the department a report that includes, but is not limited to:
(a) A copy of its most recent annual audit.
(b) A detailed report on all local and state funds expended to date on the project being financed under this section.
(c) A copy of the contract between the certified local governmental entity and the spring training team.
(d) A cost-benefit analysis of the team’s impact on the community.
(e) Evidence that the certified applicant continues to meet the criteria in effect when the applicant was certified.
(5) DECERTIFICATION.
(a) The department shall decertify a certified applicant upon the request of the certified applicant.
(b) The department shall decertify a certified applicant if the certified applicant does not:
1. Have a valid agreement with a spring training franchise; or
2. Satisfy its commitment to provide local matching funds to the facility.

However, decertification proceedings against a local government certified before July 1, 2010, shall be delayed until 12 months after the expiration of the local government’s existing agreement with a spring training franchise, and without a new agreement being signed, if the certified local government can demonstrate to the department that it is in active negotiations with a major league spring training franchise, other than the franchise that was the basis for the original certification.

(c) A certified applicant has 60 days after it receives a notice of intent to decertify from the department to petition for review of the decertification. Within 45 days after receipt of the request for review, the department must notify a certified applicant of the outcome of the review.
(d) The department shall notify the Department of Revenue that a certified applicant is decertified within 10 days after the order of decertification becomes final. The Department of Revenue shall immediately stop the payment of any funds under this section that were not encumbered by the certified applicant under subparagraph (3)(a)2.
(e) The department shall order a decertified applicant to repay all of the unencumbered state funds that the local government received under this section and any interest that accrued on those funds. The repayment must be made within 60 days after the decertification order becomes final. These funds shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund.
(f) A local government as defined in s. 218.369 may not be decertified by the department if it has paid or pledged for the payment of debt service on, or to fund debt service reserve funds, arbitrage rebate obligations, or other amounts payable with respect thereto, bonds issued for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, or renovation of the facility for which the local government was certified, or for the reimbursement of such costs or the refinancing of bonds issued for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, or renovation of the facility for which the local government was certified, or for the reimbursement of such costs or the refinancing of bonds issued for such purpose. This subsection does not preclude or restrict the ability of a certified local government to refinance, refund, or defease such bonds.
(6) ADDITIONAL CERTIFICATIONS.If the department decertifies a unit of local government, the department may accept applications for an additional certification. A unit of local government may not be certified for more than one spring training franchise at any time.
(7) STRATEGIC PLANNING.The department shall request assistance from the Florida Grapefruit League Association to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to:
(a) Finance spring training facilities.
(b) Monitor and oversee the use of state funds awarded to applicants.
(c) Identify the financial impact that spring training has on the state and ways in which to maintain or improve that impact.
(d) Identify opportunities to develop public-private partnerships to engage in marketing activities and advertise spring training baseball.
(e) Identify efforts made by other states to maintain or develop partnerships with baseball spring training teams.
(f) Develop recommendations for the Legislature to sustain or improve this state’s spring training tradition.
(8) RULEMAKING.The department shall adopt rules to implement the certification, decertification, and decertification review processes required by this section.
(9) AUDITS.The Auditor General may conduct audits as provided in s. 11.45 to verify that the distributions under this section are expended as required in this section. If the Auditor General determines that the distributions under this section are not expended as required by this section, the Auditor General shall notify the Department of Revenue, which may pursue recovery of the funds under the laws and rules governing the assessment of taxes.
History.s. 5, ch. 2010-140; s. 36, ch. 2010-147; s. 159, ch. 2011-142; s. 41, ch. 2012-96; s. 44, ch. 2014-17; s. 55, ch. 2023-173.
288.11631 Retention of Major League Baseball spring training baseball franchises.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Agreement” means a certified, signed lease between an applicant that applies for certification on or after July 1, 2013, and a spring training franchise for the use of a facility.
(b) “Applicant” means a unit of local government as defined in s. 218.369, including a local government located in the same county, which has partnered with a certified applicant before the effective date of this section or with an applicant for a new certification, for purposes of sharing in the responsibilities of a facility.
(c) “Certified applicant” means a facility for a spring training franchise or a unit of local government that is certified under this section.
(d) “Facility” means a spring training stadium, playing fields, and appurtenances intended to support spring training activities.
(e) “Local funds” and “local matching funds” mean funds provided by a county, municipality, or other local government.
(2) CERTIFICATION PROCESS.
(a) Before certifying an applicant to receive state funding for a facility for a spring training franchise, the department must verify that:
1. The applicant is responsible for the construction or renovation of the facility for a spring training franchise or holds title to the property on which the facility for a spring training franchise is located.
2. The applicant has a certified copy of a signed agreement with a spring training franchise. The signed agreement with a spring training franchise for the use of a facility must, at a minimum, be equal to the length of the term of the bonds issued for the public purpose of constructing or renovating a facility for a spring training franchise. If no such bonds are issued for the public purpose of constructing or renovating a facility for a spring training franchise, the signed agreement with a spring training franchise for the use of a facility must be for at least 20 years. Any such agreement with a spring training franchise for the use of a facility cannot be signed more than 4 years before the expiration of any existing agreement with a spring training franchise for the use of a facility. However, any such agreement may be signed at any time before the expiration of any existing agreement with a spring training franchise for use of a facility if the applicant has never received state funding for the facility as a spring training facility under this section or s. 288.11621 and the facility was constructed before January 1, 2000. The agreement must also require the franchise to reimburse the state for state funds expended by an applicant under this section if the franchise relocates before the agreement expires; however, if bonds were issued to construct or renovate a facility for a spring training franchise, the required reimbursement must be equal to the total amount of state distributions expected to be paid from the date the franchise breaks its agreement with the applicant through the final maturity of the bonds. The agreement may be contingent on an award of funds under this section and other conditions precedent.
3. The applicant has made a financial commitment to provide 50 percent or more of the funds required by an agreement for the construction or renovation of the facility for a spring training franchise. The commitment may be contingent upon an award of funds under this section and other conditions precedent.
4. The applicant demonstrates that the facility for a spring training franchise will attract a paid attendance of at least 50,000 persons annually to the spring training games.
5. The facility for a spring training franchise is located in a county that levies a tourist development tax under s. 125.0104.
6. The applicant is not currently certified to receive state funding for the facility as a spring training franchise under this section.
(b) The department shall evaluate applications for state funding of the construction or renovation of the facility for a spring training franchise. The evaluation criteria must include the following items:
1. The anticipated effect on the economy of the local community where the facility is to be constructed or renovated, including projections on paid attendance, local and state tax collections generated by spring training games, and direct and indirect job creation resulting from the spring training activities.
2. The amount of the local matching funds committed to a facility relative to the amount of state funding sought.
3. The potential for the facility to be used as a multiple purpose, year-round facility.
4. The intended use of the funds by the applicant.
5. The length of time that a spring training franchise has been under an agreement to conduct spring training activities within an applicant’s geographic location or jurisdiction.
6. The length of time that an applicant’s facility has been used by one or more spring training franchises, including continuous use as facilities for spring training.
7. The term remaining on a lease between an applicant and a spring training franchise for a facility.
8. The length of time that a spring training franchise agrees to use an applicant’s facility if an application is granted under this section.
9. The location of the facility in a brownfield, an enterprise zone, a community redevelopment area, or other area of targeted development or revitalization included in an urban infill redevelopment plan.
(c) Each applicant certified on or after July 1, 2013, shall enter into an agreement with the department which:
1. Specifies the amount of the state incentive funding to be distributed. The amount of state incentive funding per certified applicant may not exceed $20 million. However, if a certified applicant’s facility is used by more than one spring training franchise, the maximum amount may not exceed $50 million, and the Department of Revenue shall make distributions to the applicant pursuant to s. 212.20(6)(d)6.c.
2. States the criteria that the certified applicant must meet in order to remain certified. These criteria must include a provision stating that the spring training franchise must reimburse the state for any funds received if the franchise does not comply with the terms of the contract. If bonds were issued to construct or renovate a facility for a spring training franchise, the required reimbursement must be equal to the total amount of state distributions expected to be paid from the date the franchise violates the agreement with the applicant through the final maturity of the bonds.
3. States that the certified applicant is subject to decertification if the certified applicant fails to comply with this section or the agreement.
4. States that the department may recover state incentive funds if the certified applicant is decertified.
5. Specifies the information that the certified applicant must report to the department.
6. Includes any provision deemed prudent by the department.
(d) If a certified applicant has been certified under this program for use of its facility by one spring training franchise, the certified applicant may apply to amend its certification for use of its facility by more than one spring training franchise. The certified applicant must submit an application to amend its original certification that meets the requirements of this section. The maximum amount of state incentive funding to be distributed may not exceed $50 million as provided in subparagraph (c)1. for a certified applicant with a facility used by more than one spring training franchise, including any distributions previously received by the certified applicant under its original certification under this section. Upon approval of an amended certification, the department shall notify the Department of Revenue as provided in this section.
(3) USE OF FUNDS.
(a) A certified applicant may use funds provided under s. 212.20(6)(d)6.c. only to:
1. Serve the public purpose of constructing or renovating a facility for a spring training franchise.
2. Pay or pledge for the payment of debt service on, or to fund debt service reserve funds, arbitrage rebate obligations, or other amounts payable with respect thereto, bonds issued for the construction or renovation of such facility, or for the reimbursement of such costs or the refinancing of bonds issued for such purposes.
(b) State funds awarded to a certified applicant for a facility for a spring training franchise may not be used to subsidize facilities that are privately owned by, maintained by, and used exclusively by a spring training franchise.
(c) The Department of Revenue may not distribute funds under s. 212.20(6)(d)6.c. until July 1, 2016. Further, the Department of Revenue may not distribute funds to an applicant certified on or after July 1, 2013, until it receives notice from the department that:
1. The certified applicant has encumbered funds under either subparagraph (a)1. or subparagraph (a)2.; and
2. If applicable, any existing agreement with a spring training franchise for the use of a facility has expired.
(d)1. All certified applicants shall place unexpended state funds received pursuant to s. 212.20(6)(d)6.c. in a trust fund or separate account for use only as authorized in this section.
2. A certified applicant may request that the department notify the Department of Revenue to suspend further distributions of state funds made available under s. 212.20(6)(d)6.c. for 12 months after expiration of an existing agreement with a spring training franchise to provide the certified applicant with an opportunity to enter into a new agreement with a spring training franchise, at which time the distributions shall resume.
3. The expenditure of state funds distributed to an applicant certified after July 1, 2013, must begin within 48 months after the initial receipt of the state funds. In addition, the construction or renovation of a spring training facility must be completed within 24 months after the project’s commencement.
(4) ANNUAL REPORTS.
(a) On or before September 1 of each year, a certified applicant shall submit to the department a report that includes, but is not limited to:
1. A detailed accounting of all local and state funds expended to date on the project financed under this section.
2. A copy of the contract between the certified local governmental entity and the spring training franchise.
3. A cost-benefit analysis of the team’s impact on the community.
4. Evidence that the certified applicant continues to meet the criteria in effect when the applicant was certified.
(b) The department shall compile the information received from each certified applicant and publish the information annually by November 1.
(5) DECERTIFICATION.
(a) The department shall decertify a certified applicant upon the request of the certified applicant.
(b) The department shall decertify a certified applicant if the certified applicant does not:
1. Have a valid agreement with a spring training franchise; or
2. Satisfy its commitment to provide local matching funds to the facility.

However, decertification proceedings against a local government certified after July 1, 2013, shall be delayed until 12 months after the expiration of the local government’s existing agreement with a spring training franchise, and without a new agreement being signed, if the certified local government can demonstrate to the department that it is in active negotiations with a major league spring training franchise, other than the franchise that was the basis for the original certification.

(c) A certified applicant has 60 days after it receives a notice of intent to decertify from the department to petition for review of the decertification. Within 45 days after receipt of the request for review, the department must notify a certified applicant of the outcome of the review.
(d) The department shall notify the Department of Revenue that a certified applicant has been decertified within 10 days after the order of decertification becomes final. The Department of Revenue shall immediately stop the payment of any funds under this section which were not encumbered by the certified applicant under subparagraph (3)(a)2.
(e) The department shall order a decertified applicant to repay all of the unencumbered state funds that the applicant received under this section and any interest that accrued on those funds. The repayment must be made within 60 days after the decertification order becomes final. These funds shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund.
(f) A local government as defined in s. 218.369 may not be decertified by the department if it has paid or pledged for the payment of debt service on, or to fund debt service reserve funds, arbitrage rebate obligations, or other amounts payable with respect thereto, bonds issued for the construction or renovation of the facility for which the local government was certified, or for the reimbursement of such costs or the refinancing of bonds issued for the construction or renovation of the facility for which the local government was certified, or for the reimbursement of such costs or the refinancing of bonds issued for such purpose. This subsection does not preclude or restrict the ability of a certified local government to refinance, refund, or defease such bonds.
(6) RULEMAKING.The department shall adopt rules to implement the certification, decertification, and decertification review processes required by this section.
(7) AUDITS.The Auditor General may conduct audits as provided in s. 11.45 to verify that the distributions under this section are expended as required in this section. If the Auditor General determines that the distributions under this section are not expended as required by this section, the Auditor General shall notify the Department of Revenue, which may pursue recovery of the funds under the laws and rules governing the assessment of taxes.
History.s. 24, ch. 2013-42; s. 5, ch. 2014-167; s. 56, ch. 2023-173.
288.1166 Professional sports facility; designation as shelter site for the homeless; establishment of local programs.
(1) A professional sports facility constructed with financial assistance from the state shall be designated as a shelter site for the homeless during the period of a declared federal, state, or local emergency in accordance with the criteria of locally existing homeless shelter programs unless:
(a) The facility is otherwise contractually obligated for a specific event or activity;
(b) The facility is designated or used by the county owning the facility as a staging area; or
(c) The county owning the facility also owns or operates homeless assistance centers and the county determines there exists sufficient capacity to meet the sheltering needs of homeless persons within the county.
(2) If a local program does not exist in the facility’s area, such program shall be established in accordance with normally accepted criteria as defined by the county or its designee.
History.s. 8, ch. 88-226; s. 6, ch. 2014-167.
288.1167 Sports franchise contract provisions for food and beverage concession and contract awards to minority business enterprises.Any applicant who receives funding pursuant to the provisions of s. 212.20 must demonstrate that:
(1) Funds and facilities with respect to food and beverage and related concessions shall be awarded to minority business enterprises as defined in s. 288.703 on the same terms and conditions as the general food and beverage concessionaire and in accordance with the minority business enterprise procurement goals set forth in s. 287.09451;
(2) At least 15 percent of a company contracted to manage a professional sports franchise facility or a spring training franchise facility is owned by minority business enterprises or by a minority person as those terms are defined in s. 288.703; or
(3) At least 15 percent of all operational service contracts with a professional sports franchise facility or a spring training franchise facility are awarded to minority business enterprises or to a minority person as those terms are defined in s. 288.703.
History.s. 10, ch. 88-226; s. 13, ch. 91-162; s. 4, ch. 91-274; s. 20, ch. 94-322; s. 61, ch. 2001-61.
288.1175 Agriculture education and promotion facility.
(1) The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall serve as the state agency for screening applicants for state funding pursuant to this section and for certifying an applicant as a qualified agriculture education and promotion facility as defined in subsection (3).
(2) The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 for the receipt and processing of applications for funding of projects pursuant to this section.
(3) As used in this section, the term “agriculture education and promotion facility” means an exhibition hall, arena, civic center, exposition center, or other capital project or facility which can be used for exhibitions, demonstrations, trade shows, classrooms, civic events, and other purposes that promote agriculture, horticulture, livestock, equestrian, and other resources of the state and educate the residents as to these resources.
(4) The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall certify a facility as an agriculture education and promotion facility if the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services determines that:
(a) The applicant is a unit of local government as defined in s. 218.369, or a fair association as defined in s. 616.001(11), which is responsible for the planning, design, permitting, construction, renovation, management, and operation of the agriculture education and promotion facility or holds title to the property on which such facility is to be developed and located.
(b) The applicant has projections, verified by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which demonstrate that the agriculture education and promotion facility will serve more than 25,000 visitors annually.
(c) The municipality in which the facility is located, or the county if the facility is located in an unincorporated area, has certified by resolution after a public hearing that the proposed agriculture education and promotion facility serves a public purpose.
(d) The applicant has demonstrated that it has provided, is capable of providing, or has financial or other commitments to provide more than 40 percent of the costs incurred or related to the planning, design, permitting, construction, or renovation of the facility. The applicant may include the value of the land and any improvements thereon in determining its contribution to the development of the facility.
(5) The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall competitively evaluate applications for funding of an agriculture education and promotion facility. If the number of applicants exceeds three, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall rank the applications based upon criteria developed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, with priority given in descending order to the following items:
(a) The intended use of the funds by the applicant, with priority given to the construction of a new facility.
(b) The amount of local match, with priority given to the largest percentage of local match proposed.
(c) The location of the facility in a brownfield site as defined in s. 376.79(4), a rural enterprise zone as defined in s. 290.004, an agriculturally depressed area as defined in s. 570.74, or a county that has lost its agricultural land to environmental restoration projects.
(d) The net increase, as a result of the facility, of total available exhibition, arena, or civic center space within the jurisdictional limits of the local government in which the facility is to be located, with priority given to the largest percentage increase of total exhibition, arena, or civic center space.
(e) The historic record of the applicant in promoting agriculture and educating the public about agriculture, including, without limitation, awards, premiums, scholarships, auctions, and other such activities.
(f) The highest projection on paid attendance attracted by the agriculture education and promotion facility and the proposed economic impact on the local community.
(g) The location of the facility with respect to an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) facility, with priority given to facilities closer in proximity to an IFAS facility.
(6) Funds may not be expended to develop or subsidize privately owned facilities, except for facilities owned by fair associations as defined in s. 616.001(11).
(7) An applicant may use funds provided pursuant to this section only for the public purpose of paying for the planning, design, permitting, construction, or renovation of an agriculture education and promotion facility or to pay or pledge for the payment of debt service on, or to fund debt service reserve funds, arbitrage rebate obligations, or other amounts payable with respect to, bonds issued for the planning, design, permitting, construction, or renovation of such facility or for the reimbursement of such costs or the refinancing of bonds issued for such purposes.
(8) Applications must be postmarked or electronically submitted by October 1 of each year. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may not recommend funding for less than the requested amount to any applicant certified as an agriculture education and promotion facility; however, funding of certified applicants shall be subject to the amount provided by the Legislature in the General Appropriations Act for this program.
History.s. 1, ch. 2002-301; s. 27, ch. 2005-287; s. 163, ch. 2011-142; s. 21, ch. 2012-204; s. 5, ch. 2014-150; s. 7, ch. 2016-184; s. 1, ch. 2017-85.
288.1201 State Economic Enhancement and Development Trust Fund.
(1) There is created within the Department of Economic Opportunity the State Economic Enhancement and Development Trust Fund. Moneys deposited in the trust fund shall be used for infrastructure and job creation opportunities and for the following purposes or programs:
(a) Transportation facilities that meet a strategic and essential state interest with respect to the economic development of the state;
(b) Affordable housing programs and projects in accordance with chapter 420;
(c) Economic development incentives for job creation and capital investment;
(d) Workforce training associated with locating a new business or expanding an existing business; and
(e) Tourism promotion and marketing services, functions, and programs.
(2) The trust fund is established for use as a depository for funds to be used for the purposes specified in subsection (1). Moneys to be credited to the trust fund shall consist of documentary stamp tax proceeds as specified in law, local financial support funds, interest earnings, and cash advances from other trust funds. Funds shall be expended only pursuant to legislative appropriation or an approved amendment to the department’s operating budget pursuant to the provisions of chapter 216.
(3) Notwithstanding s. 216.301 and pursuant to s. 216.351, any balance in the trust fund at the end of any fiscal year shall remain in the trust fund at the end of the year and shall be available for carrying out the purposes of the trust fund.
History.s. 1, ch. 2011-138; s. 2, ch. 2014-46.
288.122 Tourism Promotional Trust Fund.There is created within the department the Tourism Promotional Trust Fund. Moneys deposited in the Tourism Promotional Trust Fund shall only be used to support the authorized activities and operations and the tourism promotion and marketing activities, services, functions, and programs administered by the department through a contract with the direct-support organization created under s. 288.1226.
History.s. 1, ch. 80-234; s. 12, ch. 88-201; s. 8, ch. 91-218; s. 23, ch. 95-430; s. 48, ch. 96-320; s. 164, ch. 2011-142; s. 60, ch. 2023-173.
Note.Former s. 288.342.
288.1226 Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation; use of property; board of directors; duties; audit.
(1) DEFINITIONS.For the purposes of this section, the term “corporation” means the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation.
(2) ESTABLISHMENT.The Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation is a direct-support organization of the department.
(a) The Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation is a corporation not for profit, as defined in s. 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, that is incorporated under the provisions of chapter 617 and approved by the Department of State.
(b) The corporation is organized and operated exclusively to request, receive, hold, invest, and administer property and to manage and make expenditures for the operation of the activities, services, functions, and programs of this state which relate to the statewide, national, and international promotion and marketing of tourism.
(c)1. The corporation is not an agency for the purposes of chapters 120, 216, and 287; ss. 255.21, 255.25, and 255.254, relating to leasing of buildings; ss. 283.33 and 283.35, relating to bids for printing; s. 215.31; and parts I, II, and IV-VIII of chapter 112. However, the corporation shall comply with the per diem and travel expense provisions of s. 112.061.
2. It is not a violation of s. 112.3143(2) or (4) for the officers or members of the board of directors of the corporation to:
a. Vote on the 4-year marketing plan required under subsection (13) or vote on any individual component of or amendment to the plan.
b. Participate in the establishment or calculation of payments related to the private match requirements of subsection (6). The officer or member must file an annual disclosure describing the nature of his or her interests or the interests of his or her principals, including corporate parents and subsidiaries of his or her principal, in the private match requirements. This annual disclosure requirement satisfies the disclosure requirement of s. 112.3143(4). This disclosure must be placed on the corporation’s website or included in the minutes of each meeting of the corporation’s board of directors at which the private match requirements are discussed or voted upon.
(d) The corporation is subject to the provisions of chapter 119, relating to public meetings, and those provisions of chapter 286 relating to public meetings and records.
(3) USE OF PROPERTY.The department:
(a) Is authorized to permit the use of property and facilities of the department by the corporation, subject to the provisions of this section.
(b) Shall prescribe conditions with which the corporation must comply in order to use property and facilities of the department. Such conditions shall provide for budget and audit review and for oversight by the department.
(c) May not permit the use of property and facilities of the department if the corporation does not provide equal employment opportunities to all persons, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or religion.
(4) BOARD OF DIRECTORS.The board of directors of the corporation shall be composed of 32 tourism-industry-related members, appointed by the department. Board members shall serve without compensation, but are entitled to receive reimbursement for per diem and travel expenses pursuant to s. 112.061. Such expenses must be paid out of funds of the corporation. The board shall be composed of all of the following members:
(a) Sixteen members, appointed in such a manner as to equitably represent all geographic areas of this state, with no fewer than 2 members from any of the following regions:
1. Region 1, composed of Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington Counties.
2. Region 2, composed of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, and Union Counties.
3. Region 3, composed of Brevard, Indian River, Lake, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, St. Lucie, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia Counties.
4. Region 4, composed of Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota Counties.
5. Region 5, composed of Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, and Lee Counties.
6. Region 6, composed of Broward, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach Counties.
(b) The following industry and organization representatives: one representative from the statewide rental car industry; seven representatives from tourist-related statewide associations, including those that represent hotels, campgrounds, county destination marketing organizations, museums, restaurants, retail, and attractions; three representatives from county destination marketing organizations; one representative from the cruise industry; one representative from an automobile and travel services membership organization that has at least 2.8 million members in Florida; one representative from the airline industry; one representative from the nature-based tourism industry; and one representative from the space tourism industry, who will each serve for a term of 2 years.
(5) POWERS AND DUTIES.The corporation, in the performance of its duties:
(a) May make and enter into contracts and assume such other functions as are necessary to carry out the provisions of the 4-year marketing plan required by subsection (13) and the corporation’s contract with the department which are not inconsistent with this or any other provision of law. A proposed contract with a total cost of $750,000 or more is subject to the notice and review procedures of s. 216.177. If the chair and vice chair of the Legislative Budget Commission, or the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, timely advise the corporation in writing that such proposed contract is contrary to legislative policy and intent, the corporation may not execute such proposed contract. The corporation may not enter into multiple related contracts to avoid the requirements of this paragraph.
(b) May develop a program to provide incentives and to attract and recognize those entities which make significant financial and promotional contributions towards the expanded tourism promotion activities of the corporation.
(c) May establish a cooperative marketing program with other public and private entities which allows the use of the VISIT Florida logo in tourism promotion campaigns which meet the standards of the department, for which the corporation may charge a reasonable fee.
(d) May sue and be sued and appear and defend in all actions and proceedings in its corporate name to the same extent as a natural person.
(e) May adopt, use, and alter a common corporate seal. However, such seal must always contain the words “corporation not for profit.”
(f) Shall elect or appoint such officers and agents as its affairs shall require and allow them reasonable compensation. However, each officer or agent, including the president and chief executive officer of the corporation, may not receive public compensation for employment that exceeds the salary and benefits authorized to be paid to the Governor. Any public payments of performance bonuses or severance pay to an officer or agent of the corporation are prohibited unless specifically authorized by law.
(g) Shall hire and establish salaries and personnel and employee benefit programs for such permanent and temporary employees as are necessary to carry out the provisions of the 4-year marketing plan and the corporation’s contract with the department which are not inconsistent with this or any other provision of law. However, an employee may not receive public compensation for employment that exceeds the salary and benefits authorized to be paid to the Governor. Any public payments of performance bonuses or severance pay to employees of the corporation are prohibited unless specifically authorized by law.
(h) May adopt, change, amend, and repeal bylaws, not inconsistent with law or its articles of incorporation, for the administration of the provisions of the 4-year marketing plan and the corporation’s contract with the department.
(i) May conduct its affairs, carry on its operations, and have offices and exercise the powers granted by this act in any state, territory, district, or possession of the United States or any foreign country. Where feasible, appropriate, and recommended by the 4-year marketing plan developed by the corporation in consultation with the department, the corporation may collocate the programs of foreign tourism offices in cooperation with any foreign office operated by any agency of this state.
(j) May appear on its own behalf before boards, commissions, departments, or other agencies of municipal, county, state, or federal government.
(k) May request or accept any grant, payment, or gift, of funds or property made by this state or by the United States or any department or agency thereof or by any individual, firm, corporation, municipality, county, or organization for any or all of the purposes of the 4-year marketing plan and the corporation’s contract with the department that are not inconsistent with this or any other provision of law. Such funds shall be deposited in a bank account established by the corporation’s board of directors. The corporation may expend such funds in accordance with the terms and conditions of any such grant, payment, or gift, in the pursuit of its administration or in support of the programs it administers. The corporation shall separately account for the public funds and the private funds deposited into the corporation’s bank account.
(l) Shall establish a plan for participation in the corporation which will provide additional funding for the administration and duties of the corporation.
(m) In the performance of its duties, may undertake, or contract for, marketing projects and advertising research projects.
(n) In addition to any indemnification available under chapter 617, the corporation may indemnify, and purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of, directors, officers, and employees of the corporation against any personal liability or accountability by reason of actions taken while acting within the scope of their authority.
(o) Shall not create or establish any other entity, corporation, or direct-support organization.
(p) Shall not expend funds, public or private, that directly benefit only one company, corporation, or business entity.
(6) MATCHING REQUIREMENTS.
(a) A one-to-one match is required of private to public contributions to the corporation. Public contributions include all state appropriations to the corporation and exclude taxes derived pursuant to s. 125.0104.
(b) For purposes of calculating the required one-to-one match, the corporation shall receive matching private contributions in one of four private match categories. The corporation shall maintain documentation of such categorized contributions on file and make such documentation available for inspection upon reasonable notice during its regular business hours. Contribution details shall be included in the quarterly reports required under subsection (8). The private match categories are:
1. Direct cash contributions from private sources, which include, but are not limited to, cash derived from strategic alliances, contributions of stocks and bonds, and partnership contributions.
2. Fees for services, which include, but are not limited to, event participation, research, and brochure placement and transparencies.
3. Cooperative advertising, which is limited to partner expenditures for paid media placement, partner expenditures for collateral material distribution, and the actual market value of contributed productions, air time, and print space.
4. In-kind contributions, which is limited to the actual market value of promotional contributions of partner-supplied benefits to target audiences and the actual market value of nonpartner-supplied air time or print space contributed for the broadcasting or printing of such promotions, which would otherwise require tourist promotion expenditures by the corporation for advertising, air travel, rental car fees, hotel rooms, RV or campsite space rental, onsite guest services, and admission tickets. The net value of air time or print space, if any, shall be deemed to be the actual market value of the air time or print space, based on an average of actual unit prices paid contemporaneously for comparable times or spaces, less the value of increased ratings or other benefits realized by the media outlet as a result of the promotion.

Contributions from a government entity or from an entity that received more than 50 percent of its revenue in the previous fiscal year from public sources, including revenue derived from taxes, other than taxes collected pursuant to s. 125.0104, from fees, or from other government revenues, are not considered private contributions for purposes of calculating the required one-to-one match.

(c) If the corporation fails to meet the one-to-one match requirements of this subsection, the corporation shall revert all unmatched public contributions to the state treasury by June 30 of each fiscal year.
(7) ANNUAL AUDIT.The corporation shall provide for an annual financial audit in accordance with s. 215.981. The annual audit report shall be submitted to the Auditor General, the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, and the department for review. The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, the department, and the Auditor General have the authority to require and receive from the corporation or from its independent auditor any detail or supplemental data relative to the operation of the corporation. The department shall annually certify whether the corporation is operating in a manner and achieving the objectives that are consistent with the policies and goals of the department and its long-range marketing plan. The identity of a donor or prospective donor to the corporation who desires to remain anonymous and all information identifying such donor or prospective donor are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. Such anonymity shall be maintained in the auditor’s report.
(8) REPORT.The corporation shall provide to the department a quarterly report that:
(a) Measures the current vitality of the visitor industry of this state as compared to the vitality of such industry for the year to date and for comparable quarters of past years. Indicators of vitality shall be determined by the department and shall include, but not be limited to, estimated visitor count and party size, length of stay, average expenditure per party, and visitor origin and destination.
(b) Provides detailed, unaudited financial statements of sources and uses of public and private funds.
(c) Measures progress toward annual goals and objectives set forth in the 4-year marketing plan.
(d) Reviews all pertinent research findings.
(e) Provides other measures of accountability as requested by the department.

The corporation must take all steps necessary to provide all data that is used to develop the report, including source data, to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

(9) PROHIBITIONS; CORPORATE FUNDS; GIFTS.Funds of the corporation may not be expended for food, beverages, lodging, entertainment, or gifts for employees of the corporation, board members of the corporation, or employees of a tourist or economic development entity that receives revenue from a tax imposed pursuant to s. 125.0104, s. 125.0108, or s. 212.0305, unless authorized pursuant to s. 112.061 or this section. An employee or board member of the corporation may not accept or receive food, beverages, lodging, entertainment, or gifts from a tourist or economic development entity that receives revenue from a tax imposed pursuant to s. 125.0104, s. 125.0108, or s. 212.0305, or from any person, vendor, or other entity, doing business with the corporation unless such food, beverage, lodging, entertainment, or gift is available to similarly situated members of the general public.
(10) LODGING EXPENSES.Lodging expenses for an employee of the corporation may not exceed $150 per day, excluding taxes, unless the corporation is participating in a negotiated group rate discount or the corporation provides documentation of at least three comparable alternatives demonstrating that such lodging at the required rate is not available. However, an employee of the corporation may expend his or her own funds for any lodging expenses in excess of $150 per day.
(11) PROPOSED OPERATING BUDGET SUBMISSION.By August 15 of each fiscal year, the Department of Economic Opportunity shall submit a proposed operating budget for the corporation including amounts to be expended on advertising, marketing, promotions, events, other operating capital outlay, and salaries and benefits for each employee to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(12) TRANSPARENCY.
(a) All executed corporation contracts are to be placed for viewing on the corporation’s website. All contracts with the corporation valued at $500,000 or more shall be placed on the corporation’s website for review 14 days prior to execution.
(b) A contract entered into between the corporation and any other public or private entity shall include:
1. The purpose of the contract.
2. Specific performance standards and responsibilities for each entity.
3. A detailed project or contract budget, if applicable.
4. The value of any services provided.
5. The projected travel and entertainment expenses for employees and board members, if applicable.
(c)1. Any entity that in the previous fiscal year received more than 50 percent of its revenue from the corporation or taxes imposed pursuant to s. 125.0104, s. 125.0108, or s. 212.0305, and that partners with the corporation or participates in a program, cooperative advertisement, promotional opportunity, or other activity offered by or in conjunction with the corporation, shall annually on July 1 report all public and private financial data to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and include such report on its website.
2. The financial data shall include:
a. The total amount of revenue received from public and private sources.
b. The operating budget of the partner entity.
c. Employee and board member salary and benefit details from public and private funds.
d. An itemized account of all expenditures by the partner entity on the behalf of, or coordinated for the benefit of the corporation, its board members, or employees.
e. Itemized travel and entertainment expenditures of the partner entity.
(d) The following information must be posted on the corporation’s website:
1. A plain language version of any contract that is estimated to exceed $35,000 with a private entity, municipality, city, town, or vendor of services, supplies, or programs, including marketing, or for the purchase or lease or use of lands, facilities, or properties.
2. Any agreement entered into between the corporation and any other entity, including a local government, private entity, or nonprofit entity, that receives public funds or funds from a tax imposed pursuant to s. 125.0104, s. 125.0108, or s. 212.0305.
3. The contracts and the required information pursuant to paragraph (b) and the financial data submitted to the corporation pursuant to paragraph (c).
4. Video recordings of each board meeting.
5. A detailed report of expenditures following each marketing event paid for with the corporation’s funds. Such report must be posted within 10 business days after the event.
6. An annual itemized accounting of the total amount of funds spent by any third party on behalf of the corporation or any board member or employee of the corporation.
7. An annual itemized accounting of the total amount of travel and entertainment expenditures by the corporation.
(e) The corporation’s website must:
1. Allow users to navigate to related sites to view supporting details.
2. Enable a taxpayer to email questions to the corporation and make such questions and the corporation’s responses publicly viewable.
(13) FOUR-YEAR MARKETING PLAN.
(a) The corporation shall, in collaboration with the department, develop a 4-year marketing plan. At a minimum, the marketing plan must discuss the following:
1. Continuation of overall tourism growth in this state.
2. Expansion to new or under-represented tourist markets.
3. Maintenance of traditional and loyal tourist markets.
4. Coordination of efforts with county destination marketing organizations, other local government marketing groups, privately owned attractions and destinations, and other private sector partners to create a seamless, four-season advertising campaign for the state and its regions.
5. Development of innovative techniques or promotions to build repeat visitation by targeted segments of the tourist population.
6. Consideration of innovative sources of state funding for tourism marketing.
7. Promotion of nature-based tourism, including, but not limited to, promotion of the Florida Greenways and Trails System as described under s. 260.014 and the Florida Shared-Use Nonmotorized Trail Network as described under s. 339.81.
8. Coordination of efforts with the Office of Greenways and Trails of the Department of Environmental Protection and the department to promote and assist local communities, including, but not limited to, communities designated as trail towns by the Office of Greenways and Trails, to maximize use of nearby trails as economic assets, including specific promotion of trail-based tourism.
9. Promotion of heritage tourism.
10. Development of a component to address emergency response to natural and manmade disasters from a marketing standpoint.
(b) The plan must be annual in construction and ongoing in nature. Any annual revisions of the plan must carry forward the concepts of the remaining 3-year portion of the plan and consider a continuum portion to preserve the 4-year timeframe of the plan. The plan also must include recommendations for specific performance standards and measurable outcomes for the corporation. The department shall base the actual performance metrics on these recommendations.
(c) The plan shall be annually reviewed and approved by the board of directors of the corporation.
(14) ANNUAL REPORT.The corporation shall draft and submit to the department, the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 1 of each year an annual report. The annual report must set forth for the corporation:
(a) Operations and accomplishments during the fiscal year, including the economic benefit of the state’s investment and effectiveness of the marketing plan.
(b) The 4-year marketing plan, including recommendations on methods for implementing and funding the plan.
(c) The assets and liabilities of the corporation at the end of its most recent fiscal year.
(d) A copy of the annual financial and compliance audit conducted under subsection (7).
(15) REPEAL.This section is repealed October 1, 2028, unless reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature.
History.s. 7, ch. 92-299; s. 6, ch. 94-136; s. 877, ch. 95-148; s. 1, ch. 95-369; s. 1, ch. 96-297; s. 53, ch. 96-320; s. 140, ch. 96-406; s. 41, ch. 97-100; s. 18, ch. 99-251; s. 1, ch. 2001-69; s. 91, ch. 2001-266; s. 2, ch. 2004-274; s. 32, ch. 2011-142; s. 32, ch. 2012-5; s. 13, ch. 2014-96; s. 3, ch. 2016-6; s. 17, ch. 2017-233; s. 99, ch. 2019-116; s. 1, ch. 2020-16; s. 8, ch. 2022-5; s. 1, ch. 2022-92; s. 4, ch. 2023-20; s. 61, ch. 2023-173.
288.12265 Welcome centers.
(1) Responsibility for the welcome centers is assigned to the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation.
(2) The Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation shall administer and operate the welcome centers and, pursuant to a contract with the Department of Transportation, shall be responsible for routine repair, replacement, or improvement and the day-to-day management of interior areas occupied by the welcome centers. All other repairs, replacements, or improvements to the welcome centers shall be the responsibility of the Department of Transportation.
History.s. 4, ch. 96-320; s. 19, ch. 99-251; s. 27, ch. 2005-2; s. 165, ch. 2011-142; s. 82, ch. 2012-96; s. 62, ch. 2023-173.
Note.Former s. 335.166.
288.12266 Targeted Marketing Assistance Program.
(1) The Targeted Marketing Assistance Program is created to enhance the tourism business marketing of small, minority, rural, and agritourism businesses in the state. The department, in conjunction with the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, shall administer the program. The program shall provide marketing plans, marketing assistance, promotional support, media development, technical expertise, marketing advice, technology training, social marketing support, and other assistance to an eligible entity.
(2) As used in this section, the term “eligible entity” means an independently owned and operated business with gross revenue not exceeding $1,250,000 or a nonprofit corporation that meets the requirements of s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(3) The department and the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation shall provide an annual report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives documenting that at least 50 percent of the eligible entities receiving assistance through this program are independently owned and operated businesses with gross revenues not exceeding $500,000.
History.s. 18, ch. 2017-233.
288.1229 Promotion and development of sports-related industries and amateur athletics; direct-support organization established; powers and duties.
(1) The department shall establish a direct-support organization known as the Florida Sports Foundation. The foundation shall assist the department in:
(a) The promotion and development of the sports industry and related industries for the purpose of improving the economic presence of these industries in Florida.
(b) The promotion of amateur athletic participation for the citizens of Florida and the promotion of Florida as a host for national and international amateur athletic competitions for the purpose of encouraging and increasing the direct and ancillary economic benefits of amateur athletic events and competitions.
(c) The retention of professional sports franchises, including the spring training operations of Major League Baseball.
(2) The Florida Sports Foundation must:
(a) Be incorporated as a corporation not for profit pursuant to chapter 617.
(b) Be governed by a board of directors, which must consist of up to 15 members appointed by the Governor. In making appointments, the Governor must consider a potential member’s background in community service and sports activism in, and financial support of, the sports industry, professional sports, or organized amateur athletics. Members must be residents of the state and highly knowledgeable about or active in professional or organized amateur sports.
1. The board must contain representatives of all geographical regions of the state and must represent ethnic and gender diversity.
2. The terms of office of the members shall be 4 years. No member may serve more than two consecutive terms. The Governor may remove any member for cause and shall fill all vacancies that occur.
(c) Have as its purpose, as stated in its articles of incorporation, to receive, hold, invest, and administer property; to raise funds and receive gifts; and to promote and develop the sports industry and related industries for the purpose of increasing the economic presence of these industries in Florida.
(d) Have a prior determination by the department that the foundation will benefit the department and act in the best interests of the state as a direct-support organization to the department.
(3) The Florida Sports Foundation shall operate under contract with the department. The contract must provide that:
(a) The department may review the foundation’s articles of incorporation.
(b) The foundation shall submit an annual budget proposal to the department, on a form provided by the department, in accordance with department procedures for filing budget proposals based upon the recommendation of the department.
(c) Any funds that the foundation holds in trust will revert to the state upon the expiration or cancellation of the contract.
(d) The foundation is subject to an annual financial and performance review by the department to determine whether the foundation is complying with the terms of the contract and whether it is acting in a manner consistent with the goals of the department and in the best interests of the state.
(e) The fiscal year of the foundation begins July 1 of each year and ends June 30 of the next ensuing year.
(4) The department may allow the foundation to use the property, facilities, personnel, and services of the department if the foundation provides equal employment opportunities to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin, subject to the approval of the executive director of the department.
(5) The foundation shall provide for an annual financial audit in accordance with s. 215.981.
(6) The foundation is not granted any taxing power.
(7) To promote amateur sports and physical fitness, the foundation shall:
(a) Develop, foster, and coordinate services and programs for amateur sports for the people of Florida.
(b) Sponsor amateur sports workshops, clinics, conferences, and other similar activities.
(c) Give recognition to outstanding developments and achievements in, and contributions to, amateur sports.
(d) Encourage, support, and assist local governments and communities in the development of or hosting of local amateur athletic events and competitions.
(e) Promote Florida as a host for national and international amateur athletic competitions.
(f) Develop statewide programs of amateur athletic competition to be known as the “Florida Senior Games” and the “Sunshine State Games.”
(g) Continue the successful amateur sports programs previously conducted by the Florida Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Amateur Sports created under former s. 14.22.
(h) Encourage and continue the use of volunteers in its amateur sports programs to the maximum extent possible.
(i) Develop, foster, and coordinate services and programs designed to encourage the participation of Florida’s youth in Olympic sports activities and competitions.
(j) Foster and coordinate services and programs designed to contribute to the physical fitness of the citizens of Florida.
(8)(a) The Sunshine State Games and Florida Senior Games shall both be patterned after the Summer Olympics with variations as necessitated by availability of facilities, equipment, and expertise. The games shall be designed to encourage the participation of athletes representing a broad range of age groups, skill levels, and Florida communities.
(b) The department is authorized to permit the use of property, facilities, and personal services of or at any State University System facility or institution by the direct-support organization operating the Sunshine State Games and Florida Senior Games. For the purposes of this paragraph, personal services includes full-time or part-time personnel as well as payroll processing.
History.s. 56, ch. 96-320; s. 7, ch. 99-251; s. 63, ch. 2001-61; s. 92, ch. 2001-266; s. 66, ch. 2010-102; s. 6, ch. 2010-140; s. 37, ch. 2010-147; s. 485, ch. 2011-142; s. 63, ch. 2023-173.
288.124 Convention grants program.The Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation is authorized to establish a convention grants program and, pursuant to that program, to recommend to the department expenditures and contracts with local governments and nonprofit corporations or organizations for the purpose of attracting national conferences and conventions to Florida. Preference shall be given to local governments and nonprofit corporations or organizations seeking to attract minority conventions to Florida. Minority conventions are events that primarily involve minority persons, as defined in s. 288.703, who are residents or nonresidents of the state. The Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation shall establish guidelines governing the award of grants and the administration of this program. The department has final approval authority for any grants under this section. The total annual allocation of funds for this program shall not exceed $40,000.
History.s. 5, ch. 91-218; s. 57, ch. 96-320; s. 166, ch. 2011-142; s. 19, ch. 2017-233.
288.125 Definition of “entertainment industry.”For the purposes of s. 288.1258, the term “entertainment industry” means those persons or entities engaged in the operation of motion picture or television studios or recording studios; those persons or entities engaged in the preproduction, production, or postproduction of motion pictures, made-for-television movies, television programming, digital media projects, commercial advertising, music videos, or sound recordings; and those persons or entities providing products or services directly related to the preproduction, production, or postproduction of motion pictures, made-for-television movies, television programming, digital media projects, commercial advertising, music videos, or sound recordings, including, but not limited to, the broadcast industry.
History.s. 2, ch. 99-251; s. 38, ch. 2000-152; s. 1, ch. 2003-81; s. 1, ch. 2005-233; s. 24, ch. 2010-147; s. 64, ch. 2023-173.
288.1258 Entertainment industry qualified production companies; application procedure; categories; duties of the Department of Revenue; records and reports.
(1) PRODUCTION COMPANIES AUTHORIZED TO APPLY.
(a) Any production company engaged in this state in the production of motion pictures, made-for-TV motion pictures, television series, commercial advertising, music videos, or sound recordings may submit an application to the Department of Revenue to be approved by the department as a qualified production company for the purpose of receiving a sales and use tax certificate of exemption from the Department of Revenue.
(b) For the purposes of this section, “qualified production company” means any production company that has submitted a properly completed application to the Department of Revenue and that is subsequently qualified by the department.
(2) APPLICATION PROCEDURE.
(a) The Department of Revenue will review all submitted applications for the required information. Within 10 working days after the receipt of a properly completed application, the Department of Revenue will forward the completed application to the department for approval.
(b)1. The department shall establish a process by which an entertainment industry production company may be approved by the department as a qualified production company and may receive a certificate of exemption from the Department of Revenue for the sales and use tax exemptions under ss. 212.031, 212.06, and 212.08.
2. Upon determination by the department that a production company meets the established approval criteria and qualifies for exemption, the department shall return the approved application or application renewal or extension to the Department of Revenue, which shall issue a certificate of exemption.
3. The department shall deny an application or application for renewal or extension from a production company if it determines that the production company does not meet the established approval criteria.
(c) The department shall develop, with the cooperation of the Department of Revenue and local government entertainment industry promotion agencies, a standardized application form for use in approving qualified production companies.
1. The application form shall include, but not be limited to, production-related information on employment, proposed budgets, planned purchases of items exempted from sales and use taxes under ss. 212.031, 212.06, and 212.08, a signed affirmation from the applicant that any items purchased for which the applicant is seeking a tax exemption are intended for use exclusively as an integral part of entertainment industry preproduction, production, or postproduction activities engaged in primarily in this state, and a signed affirmation from the department that the information on the application form has been verified and is correct. In lieu of information on projected employment, proposed budgets, or planned purchases of exempted items, a production company seeking a 1-year certificate of exemption may submit summary historical data on employment, production budgets, and purchases of exempted items related to production activities in this state. Any information gathered from production companies for the purposes of this section shall be considered confidential taxpayer information and shall be disclosed only as provided in s. 213.053.
2. The application form may be distributed to applicants by the department or local film commissions.
(d) All applications, renewals, and extensions for designation as a qualified production company shall be processed by the department.
(e) In the event that the Department of Revenue determines that a production company no longer qualifies for a certificate of exemption, or has used a certificate of exemption for purposes other than those authorized by this section and chapter 212, the Department of Revenue shall revoke the certificate of exemption of that production company, and any sales or use taxes exempted on items purchased or leased by the production company during the time such company did not qualify for a certificate of exemption or improperly used a certificate of exemption shall become immediately due to the Department of Revenue, along with interest and penalty as provided by s. 212.12. In addition to the other penalties imposed by law, any person who knowingly and willfully falsifies an application, or uses a certificate of exemption for purposes other than those authorized by this section and chapter 212, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in ss. 775.082, 775.083, and 775.084.
(3) CATEGORIES.
(a)1. A production company may be qualified for designation as a qualified production company for a period of 1 year if the company has operated a business in Florida at a permanent address for a period of 12 consecutive months. Such a qualified production company shall receive a single 1-year certificate of exemption from the Department of Revenue for the sales and use tax exemptions under ss. 212.031, 212.06, and 212.08, which certificate shall expire 1 year after issuance or upon the cessation of business operations in the state, at which time the certificate shall be surrendered to the Department of Revenue.
2. The department shall develop a method by which a qualified production company may annually renew a 1-year certificate of exemption for a period of up to 5 years without requiring the production company to resubmit a new application during that 5-year period.
3. Any qualified production company may submit a new application for a 1-year certificate of exemption upon the expiration of that company’s certificate of exemption.
(b)1. A production company may be qualified for designation as a qualified production company for a period of 90 days. Such production company shall receive a single 90-day certificate of exemption from the Department of Revenue for the sales and use tax exemptions under ss. 212.031, 212.06, and 212.08, which certificate shall expire 90 days after issuance, with extensions contingent upon approval of the department. The certificate shall be surrendered to the Department of Revenue upon its expiration.
2. Any production company may submit a new application for a 90-day certificate of exemption upon the expiration of that company’s certificate of exemption.
(4) DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE.
(a) The Department of Revenue shall review the initial application and notify the applicant of any omissions and request additional information if needed. An application shall be complete upon receipt of all requested information. The Department of Revenue shall forward all complete applications to the department within 10 working days.
(b) The Department of Revenue shall issue a numbered certificate of exemption to a qualified production company within 5 working days of the receipt of an approved application, application renewal, or application extension from the department.
(c) The Department of Revenue may promulgate such rules and shall prescribe and publish such forms as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this section or any of the sales tax exemptions which are reasonably related to the provisions of this section.
(d) The Department of Revenue is authorized to establish audit procedures in accordance with the provisions of ss. 212.12, 212.13, and 213.34 which relate to the sales tax exemption provisions of this section.
(5) RELATIONSHIP OF TAX EXEMPTIONS AND INCENTIVES TO INDUSTRY GROWTH; REPORT TO THE LEGISLATURE.The department shall keep annual records from the information provided on taxpayer applications for tax exemption certificates. These records also must reflect a ratio of the annual amount of sales and use tax exemptions under this section to the estimated amount of funds expended by certified productions. In addition, the department shall maintain data showing annual growth in Florida-based entertainment industry companies and entertainment industry employment and wages. The department shall annually report this information in the annual report required under s. 20.60.
History.s. 1, ch. 2000-182; s. 8, ch. 2001-106; s. 29, ch. 2010-147; s. 27, ch. 2011-76; s. 25, ch. 2013-39; s. 27, ch. 2013-42; s. 28, ch. 2018-110; s. 69, ch. 2023-173.
PART II
DIVISION OF BOND FINANCE
288.13 Cooperation with other units, boards, agencies, and individuals.
288.14 Board of Trustees of Internal Improvement Trust Fund may cooperate.
288.15 Powers of Division of Bond Finance.
288.17 Revenue certificates.
288.18 Planning, promoting, and supervising state building projects.
288.23 Division authorized to acquire roads and bridges.
288.24 Division authorized to acquire ferries and toll ferries.
288.27 Lease or sale by division.
288.28 Department of Transportation authorized to lease or purchase certain roads and bridges.
288.281 Financing construction or acquisition of roads and bridges; additional method.
288.29 Ratifying prior transactions.
288.30 Cumulative provisions.
288.31 Armories; financing construction authorized.
288.33 School buildings; financing construction authorized.
288.13 Cooperation with other units, boards, agencies, and individuals.Express authority and power is hereby given any county, municipality, drainage district, road or bridge district, school district or any other political subdivision, board, or commission in the state to make and enter into, with the Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration, contracts and leases, within the provisions and purposes of this chapter. The division is hereby expressly authorized to make agreements with and enter into any and all contracts with any political subdivisions of the state.
History.s. 3, ch. 15861, 1933; CGL 1936 Supp. 4151 (112); s. 2, ch. 22821, 1945; s. 11, ch. 29788, 1955; ss. 22, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 264, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326.
Note.Former s. 420.04.
288.14 Board of Trustees of Internal Improvement Trust Fund may cooperate.The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund may convey and grant to the Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration, and enter into agreements permitting the use and occupation by the division, with or without compensation, of land under its control and not in use for state purposes, including swamps, overflowed lands, bottoms of streams, lakes, rivers, bays, and other waters of the state, and the riparian rights thereto appertaining, as, in the judgment of said board, may be reasonably necessary in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 4, ch. 15861, 1933; CGL 1936 Supp. 4151(113); s. 11, ch. 29788, 1955; s. 2, ch. 61-119; ss. 22, 27, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 265, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326.
Note.Former s. 420.05.
288.15 Powers of Division of Bond Finance.There is hereby granted to and vested in the Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration the power, right, franchise, and authority:
(1) To take, exclusively occupy, use, and possess rights-of-way for any projects, enterprises, or undertakings of the division, over and across state-owned lands not otherwise in use for state purposes.
(2)(a) The division is hereby authorized and empowered to exercise the power of eminent domain and may condemn for the use of the division any and all lands, easements, rights-of-way, riparian rights, property, and property rights of every description required in carrying out the objects and purposes of this chapter.
(b) The proceedings for condemnation hereunder may be instituted and conducted in the name of the division, and the procedure shall be the same as is prescribed by chapter 73.
(3) To own and to acquire by donation, purchase, or otherwise, real and personal property, tangible and intangible, and to lease, sell, alienate, and dispose of the same or any part or parts thereof in carrying out the objects and purposes of this chapter.
(4) To subscribe for, purchase, acquire, own, sell, or otherwise dispose of bonds and obligations of municipalities and political subdivisions of the state, needful or incident to carrying out the objects and purposes of this chapter, and exercise all the rights, powers, and privileges incident to ownership thereof.
(5) In order to carry out the objectives and purposes of this chapter, the division is authorized to acquire, own, construct, operate, maintain, improve, and extend public buildings, facilities, or works within the state which are of the character hereinafter specifically mentioned. All public buildings, facilities, and works which the division is authorized to own, construct, operate, and maintain must be such as can ultimately be owned and operated by an agency, department, board, bureau, or commission of the state. All or any such buildings, facilities, or works may be of a revenue-producing character in order that the cost of the same or some part of improvements or extensions thereto may be paid from receipts therefrom, including in Tallahassee only rentals, leases, and sales to both public and nonpublic agencies through the issue and sales or disposition of revenue bonds, notes, or certificates of the division. The buildings, facilities, and works which the division is hereby authorized to acquire, construct, operate, maintain, improve, and extend are:
(a) Toll bridges or tunnels, and toll roads wherever the same are connected with or form a part of the state system of public roads. The location and construction of same shall first be approved by the Department of Transportation.
(b) To accept as a gift or grant or to purchase or lease from the Federal Government any personal property or any real property, fixtures, or appurtenances thereto, located in the state, payment for which can be made from the revenues derived therefrom, which will be used in the development of the agriculture, forest and reforestation of the state or such property as will provide recreation for the public and citizens of the state.
(c) It is expressly declared that the Division of Bond Finance shall not be authorized:
1. Except as is provided in s. 288.13, to acquire, own, or construct any buildings, facilities, or works which are to be maintained and operated solely for municipal or local purpose; and
2. To so accept, purchase, or lease from the Federal Government any property or business ordinarily owned and operated by private business; provided, however, this provision does not prohibit or limit such purchase, acceptance of gift, or lease of surplus property to be used for noncompetitive government purposes.
(d) Public buildings, facilities, and additions or improvements to existing buildings and facilities for ultimate use in connection with any of the several state institutions, departments, bureaus, boards, or commissions; and, in furtherance of this paragraph, the Department of Management Services, the Board of Governors of the State University System, and the State Board of Education are authorized to cooperate with the Division of Bond Finance and to do and perform all acts and things necessary thereto. Any property acquired by the Division of Bond Finance under the provisions of this chapter may ultimately be conveyed to the state free and clear of all debt or other encumbrance.
(e) The Division of Bond Finance is hereby authorized to collect reasonable rentals, tolls, or charges for the use of public buildings, facilities, or works constructed, acquired, or owned by it and for the products and services of the same exclusively for the purpose of paying the expenses of improving, repairing, maintaining, and operating its facilities and properties and paying the principal and interest on its obligations. The division is authorized by reasonable regulations to prescribe for the use of buildings, facilities, works, or projects owned and operated by it, the amount of rentals, tolls, or charges and may make and enter into contracts with any municipality, district, county or other political subdivision, board, commission, agency, or department of the state for the use of such projects or sale of the products or services thereof; provided, that the receipts from any project shall not be expended on any other project except as provided in subsection (8).
(f) However, the provisions of this chapter shall not be construed to authorize the construction, acquisition, ownership, or operation by the division of any project other than the class of projects referred to in this subsection.
(6) To secure, assemble, study, map, plat, and chart any and all data which may pertain to the governance, rehabilitation, welfare, health, transportation, commerce, marketing, finance, business, population, land use, sanitation, waterways, mineral resources, parks, wildlife, public buildings and property, and the laws relating to social, economic, or conservational matters of the state, its political subdivisions, and its people for the purpose of advising and assisting, proposing, and recommending to state administrative officers, the state Legislature, and the people of the state plans for the future development, welfare, and governance of the state, in order that the state’s plan of development may be coordinated, its economic resources be conserved, and the welfare of its people be promoted.
(7) It is expressly provided:
(a) That nothing in this chapter shall be construed as vesting in the Division of Bond Finance the power, right, or privilege to engage in private enterprise or business for profit; and
(b) That nothing in this chapter shall authorize the purchase, condemnation, or other acquisition by the division of the properties or securities of privately owned utilities or any part of same.
(8) The division is hereby authorized and directed to proceed with the acquisition of land and buildings thereon now needed or to be needed for use in whole or in part by any agency, board, bureau, or commission of the state, such acquisition to be within the area defined by the Department of Management Services for the long-range development of the proposed Capitol Center; and
(a) To construct, acquire, own, and operate buildings and facilities thereon, such buildings and facilities to be financed by the revenue they yield, through the issuance of revenue certificates;
(b) To have specific authority in financing the acquisition, construction, and operation of such buildings and facilities, to utilize rentals to both public and nonpublic agencies as well as any regularly appropriated state or other public funds; however, no revenue from lands, buildings, or facilities now owned by the state may be pledged to finance the acquisition of land, buildings, or facilities pursuant to the provisions of this law, except revenue from land, buildings, or facilities purchased or acquired pursuant to the provisions of this law.
(9) Subsections (5) and (8) shall be liberally construed to effectuate the objectives and purposes thereof and the public policy of the state as hereby declared.
History.ss. 5, 6, ch. 15861, 1933; CGL 1936 Supp. 4151(114), (115); ss. 3, 4, ch. 20509, 1941; s. 3, ch. 22821, 1945; ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 26851, 1951; s. 11, ch. 29788, 1955; s. 2, ch. 57-57; s. 2, ch. 65-173; s. 3, ch. 65-178; s. 2, ch. 65-255; s. 2, ch. 65-525; s. 18, ch. 69-216; ss. 22, 23, 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 84, ch. 71-355; s. 2, ch. 73-326; s. 2, ch. 75-70; s. 20, ch. 83-216; s. 58, ch. 85-349; s. 5, ch. 88-215; s. 266, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 92, ch. 98-279; s. 37, ch. 2007-217.
Note.Former s. 420.06.
288.17 Revenue certificates.The Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration is authorized to issue interest-bearing revenue certificates for construction of all state buildings approved by the Legislature in its appropriation acts and requested by the Department of Management Services or by the Board of Governors of the State University System.
History.s. 1, ch. 29831, 1955; s. 1, ch. 65-512; s. 1, ch. 67-603; ss. 22, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 85, ch. 71-355; s. 267, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 38, ch. 2007-217.
288.18 Planning, promoting, and supervising state building projects.
(1) The Department of Management Services shall be responsible for promoting any state building project financed as provided by law in any community where a state building is needed.
(2) Whenever the Division of Bond Finance and the Board of Administration shall find a building project financially feasible, all state agencies, commissions, bureaus, or branch offices of any department occupying rented office space in the area, shall occupy space in the state buildings to the extent that space is available.
(3) Any state agency required to occupy space by the Department of Management Services may contract for such space and pledge such rentals as are provided and appropriated by the Legislature for the purpose of financing the retirement of revenue certificates for the lifetime of any issue.
History.s. 2, ch. 29831, 1955; ss. 22, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 83, ch. 71-377; s. 2, ch. 75-70; s. 59, ch. 85-349; s. 268, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 93, ch. 98-279.
288.23 Division authorized to acquire roads and bridges.
(1) The Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration is authorized and empowered, upon the application of any county or counties evidenced by resolution of the board or boards of county commissioners thereof, to acquire by purchase, gift, or eminent domain and/or to construct within such county or counties so making application therefor, any road or bridge, including the acquisition of necessary rights-of-way therefor, connecting state highways within such county or counties; provided, however, in the event the said division shall determine, agree, or contract to build or construct any road or bridge under the provisions hereof then it shall so advise the Department of Transportation of such determination, agreement, or contract and shall give the Department of Transportation complete copies of all documents, agreements, resolutions, contracts, and instruments relating to such matter and shall request the Department of Transportation to do such construction work including the acquisition of necessary rights-of-way, planning, surveying, and actual construction of such project and shall also transfer to the credit of the Department of Transportation in the Treasury of the state the funds hereinafter provided for such projects and the Department of Transportation shall thereupon be authorized, empowered, and directed to proceed with such construction, including the acquisition of necessary rights-of-way, and to use the said funds for such work, and no other work, in the same manner that it is now authorized to use the funds otherwise provided by law for its use in construction of roads and bridges.
(2) The authority herein and hereby conferred to acquire rights-of-way shall be construed to extend to and include the acquisition of new rights-of-way separately to be used in the future for the construction of new roads and new bridges and for the acquisition of rights-of-way to be used in the future for widening or four-laning or extending, or otherwise improving, existing state roads and bridges. Provided, however, that no rights-of-way shall be acquired hereunder except for use in the construction of roads and bridges that have been prior to such acquisition legally designated as state roads and bridges, and provided further, that if any provision or any part of any provision of this amended section shall be held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of this amended section. The acquisition of rights-of-way as provided above separately and in advance of the construction of improvements on such rights-of-way, shall be and constitute a separate project or purpose under the provisions of this chapter or under the provisions of any other law or laws, and the Division of Bond Finance shall be fully authorized to issue its bonds, notes or certificates in the manner provided in this chapter to finance the cost of the acquisition of such rights-of-way separately and in advance of the construction of improvements on such rights-of-way.
History.s. 1, ch. 23758, 1947; s. 11, ch. 29788, 1955; s. 1, ch. 57-86; ss. 22, 23, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 269, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326.
Note.Former s. 420.12.
288.24 Division authorized to acquire ferries and toll ferries.
(1) The Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration is authorized:
(a) To acquire, own, maintain, and operate ferries and toll ferries wherever the same are connected with or form a part of or are auxiliary to the state system of public roads.
(b) To fix and collect reasonable rentals, tolls, or charges for the use of any ferries operated by or under agreement with the said division.
(c) To enter into a contract or contracts with the Department of Transportation for the acquisition, maintenance, or operation of any such ferry or ferries.
(2) The acquisition, ownership, maintenance, and operation of said ferries and toll ferries shall be exercised in accordance with existing laws governing the powers of said division in connection with other buildings, facilities, additions, and improvements.
History.ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, ch. 25009, 1949; s. 11, ch. 29788, 1955; ss. 22, 23, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 60, ch. 79-164; s. 270, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326.
Note.Former s. 420.121.
288.27 Lease or sale by division.The Division of Bond Finance is authorized and empowered to lease or sell roads or bridges acquired or constructed pursuant to s. 288.23 to the Department of Transportation, upon such terms and conditions as will secure sufficient revenue for paying all cost incurred in connection with the acquisition or construction of such roads or bridges and which will represent the fair market value thereof for leasehold and for purchase purposes.
History.s. 3, ch. 23758, 1947; s. 11, ch. 29788, 1955; ss. 22, 23, 35, ch. 69-106.
Note.Former s. 420.14.
288.28 Department of Transportation authorized to lease or purchase certain roads and bridges.The Department of Transportation is hereby authorized and empowered to lease or purchase from the Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration such roads or bridges as may have been acquired or constructed under the provisions of s. 288.23 and to pay either the rental or the purchase price from the surplus gasoline taxes which may, in the future, accrue to the credit of the county or counties in which the road or bridge is located, under the provisions of s. 9, Art. XII of the State Constitution.
History.s. 4, ch. 23758, 1947; s. 1, ch. 26768, 1951; s. 11, ch. 29788, 1955; ss. 22, 23, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 18, ch. 69-216; s. 271, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326.
Note.Former s. 420.15.
288.281 Financing construction or acquisition of roads and bridges; additional method.
(1) Upon request of any county, any road or bridge district, or any authority, evidenced by a resolution duly adopted by the governing body thereof, the Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration is authorized and empowered to issue and sell interest-bearing bonds, notes, or certificates in its own name for and on behalf of said county, road or bridge district, or authority, for the purpose of financing the construction of roads or bridges within the county, district, or authority, or the acquisition of rights-of-way for such roads. The governing body of the county, district, or authority may request in said resolution that the division construct or acquire said project by and through its statutory agent, the Department of Transportation.
(2) Any county, road or bridge district, or authority making application to the Division of Bond Finance pursuant to this section may prescribe the terms, conditions, and limitations under which said bonds, notes, or certificates shall be issued and sold and the proceeds of the sale of said bonds, notes, and certificates shall be applied.
(3) Any bonds, notes, or certificates issued by the division pursuant to this section may be secured by and payable as to both principal and interest, in whole or in part, from the 20-percent surplus gasoline tax funds accruing under the provisions of s. 9, Art. XII of the State Constitution, tolls or other revenue derived from the operation of the project, or ad valorem taxes or any combination thereof that may be legally available to said county, road or bridge district, or authority. If authorized by the Department of Transportation bonds, notes, or certificates may be additionally secured by and payable as to both principal and interest from legally available 80-percent surplus gasoline tax funds accruing to the Department of Transportation under the provisions of s. 9, Art. XII of the State Constitution.
(4) This section is intended to be cumulative of other powers granted to the Division of Bond Finance, the Department of Transportation, the counties, districts, and authorities under other provisions of law and is not intended to repeal, abrogate, or modify any such provisions.
History.s. 1, ch. 61-433; ss. 22, 23, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 18, ch. 69-216; s. 272, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326.
288.29 Ratifying prior transactions.Any transaction heretofore consummated, or in the process of consummation, in whole or in part, concerning the acquisition, condemnation, financing, construction, lease, or sale of any such road or bridge within the intendment of ss. 288.23, 288.24, 288.27, 288.28, 288.29, 288.30, be and the same is hereby ratified, legalized and confirmed.
History.s. 5, ch. 23758, 1947; s. 11, ch. 29788, 1955.
Note.Former s. 420.16.
288.30 Cumulative provisions.Sections 288.23, 288.24, 288.27, 288.28, and 288.29 are intended to be cumulative of other powers granted to the Division of Bond Finance and the Department of Transportation under other provisions of law and are not intended to repeal, abrogate, or modify any such provisions.
History.s. 6, ch. 23758, 1947; s. 11, ch. 29788, 1955; ss. 22, 23, 35, ch. 69-106.
Note.Former s. 420.17.
288.31 Armories; financing construction authorized.
(1) The Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration shall have the power to borrow money and incur obligations by way of bonds, notes, or revenue certificates and issue such obligations for the purpose of financing, either in whole or in part, the construction of armories in such counties and municipalities as designated by the State Armory Board. The authority hereby conferred shall empower the said division to issue such certificates or bonds for the financing of the share or portion of the cost to be borne by a county or municipality when required by the provisions of a grant of funds from the state or the Federal Government or any other source, or to authorize the borrowing and issuing of obligations for financing such an armory in its entirety. Bonds, notes, or certificates issued hereunder shall be issued in conformity to all the provisions of chapter 215, and the division shall be empowered to fix the rentals or charges to be collected for the purpose of the retirement or purchase of said obligations. The division and the county or municipality shall be empowered to enter into such lease, or leases, as may be necessary to ensure the providing of sufficient funds to retire such obligations and when the said obligations shall have been fully paid, the armory shall be conveyed to the state. Leases with the county or municipality under the terms of this section shall provide for the control of the building and its use to be vested in the military commander representing the Armory Board in accordance with the provisions of s. 250.40.
(2) For the purpose of determining the amount of the contribution of any county or municipality toward the requirement of matching state or federal funds, real estate provided or donated by such county or municipality may be considered as a portion of the contribution required to the amount of the fair appraised value of the same as determined by the Armory Board, and all lands, buildings and structures shall be conveyed to and become the property of the Division of Bond Finance when it acts under the provisions of this section, the same to be conveyed to the state when all obligations against same shall have been paid in full.
(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing the pledging, mortgaging or otherwise hypothecating the real estate and armory building, but the obligations issued hereunder shall pledge only the income from the armory building as covered in its rental by the county or municipality or from other sources.
(4) The purpose of this section is to provide a means for financing and supplying the funds necessary to be furnished by a county or municipality to meet and match funds made available by the state or federal government on a matching basis or to provide the total amount of the construction costs of armories.
(5) Counties and municipalities are hereby authorized and empowered to levy taxes not to exceed 1 mill to provide the funds necessary for the lease or leases herein provided and for the retirement of bonds or certificates of indebtedness issued by the division under the provisions of this section.
(6) Nothing in this section, however, shall be construed to repeal any provision of chapter 250, as amended in 1949.
History.s. 1, ch. 24200, 1947; ss. 1, 2, ch. 25125, 1949; (2), s. 10, ch. 26484, 1951; s. 11, ch. 29788, 1955; ss. 22, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 273, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 22, ch. 2004-5.
Note.Former s. 420.18.
288.33 School buildings; financing construction authorized.
(1) Upon the request of the school board of any district with the approval of the State Board of Education evidenced by a resolution duly adopted by the governing body of each of such boards, the Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration is authorized and empowered to issue and sell interest-bearing revenue bonds, notes, or certificates in its own name for the purpose of constructing, within the county, school buildings or additions thereto for rent, lease, or purchase by the school board of the district. The Division of Bond Finance may, by contract, make the school board its agent for the acquisition or construction of such school buildings, classrooms, or facilities.
(2) Any school board, making application to the Division of Bond Finance pursuant to this section may prescribe the terms, conditions and limitations under which said bonds, notes, or certificates shall be issued and sold and the proceeds of the sale of said bonds, notes, and certificates shall be applied.
(3) Under no circumstances shall any bonds, notes or certificates issued under this section by the division be construed as an obligation of the state nor of its subdivisions nor shall the state or its subdivisions under any theory be bound therefor. They shall be solely and only the obligations of the division in its corporate and representative capacity and shall be secured only by such revenues as shall be pledged as security for the payment thereof.
(4) Any revenue bonds, notes or certificates issued by the Division of Bond Finance pursuant to this section may be secured by a lease-purchase agreement executed by the school board, which agreement may remain in effect until the bonds and all interest thereon and any refunding thereof have been paid in full. As security for the rentals agreed to be paid under the terms of the lease-purchase agreement, the school board may pledge and agree to pay as such rentals any moneys legally available for school purposes to such school board not prohibited by the State Constitution. Each school board requesting the construction of school buildings under this section shall annually request in its budget sufficient funds to meet the annual rentals agreed to be paid the Division of Bond Finance for lease or purchase of said buildings.
(5) As further security for the repayment of said revenue bonds, notes or certificates, the said school board is authorized to pledge as rentals any funds which may be appropriated by the Legislature for school purposes to said school board. The authority to pledge funds provided for in this subsection is expressly limited to any funds as, if, and when appropriated, in that the Legislature is under no obligation to make any future appropriation.
(6) Any school board requesting the Division of Bond Finance to construct school buildings pursuant to this section shall use said leased buildings for school purposes so long as a need exists therefor and until all of said revenue bonds, notes or certificates and the interest thereon, including any refundings thereof are paid in full; and thereupon title to said buildings shall vest in the school board.
(7) This section is intended to be cumulative to the other powers granted to the Division of Bond Finance and is not intended to repeal or abrogate any such other powers. In financing school buildings pursuant to this section the division may utilize all the powers granted under this chapter.
(8) No approval of any other state board, body, agency, or official other than as specified herein, shall be required for the issuance of such revenue bonds, notes or certificates as provided in this section except the approval of the State Board of Administration in the manner now provided by law.
History.s. 1, ch. 67-428; ss. 22, 28, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 69-300; s. 274, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326.
PART III
FOREIGN TRADE ZONES
288.35 Definitions.
288.36 Foreign trade zones; authority to establish, operate, and maintain.
288.37 Foreign trade zones; authority to select and describe locations and make rules.
288.38 Applicability of state laws and rules concerning citrus fruit and products.
288.35 Definitions.The following terms, wherever used or referred to in this part, shall have the following meanings:
(1) “Corporation” means any corporation organized for the purpose of establishing, operating, and maintaining a foreign trade zone.
(2) “Government agency” means the state or any county or political subdivision thereof; any state agency; any consolidated government of a county, and some or all of the municipalities located within the county; any chartered municipality in the state; and any of the institutions of such consolidated governments, counties, or municipalities. Specifically included are airports, port authorities, industrial authorities, and Space Florida.
(3) “Act of Congress” means the Act of Congress approved June 18, 1934, entitled an Act to provide for the establishment, operation, and maintenance of foreign trade zones in ports of entry of the United States, to expedite and encourage foreign commerce, and for other purposes, as amended, and commonly known as the Foreign Trade Zones Act of 1934, 19 U.S.C. ss. 81a-81u.
(4) “Operational and promotional advancements” means any advance of state funds which are drawn from the State Treasury for the purpose of paying legal obligations of the state on a cash basis.
History.s. 1, ch. 76-42; s. 3, ch. 78-375; s. 15, ch. 99-256; s. 6, ch. 2002-183; s. 56, ch. 2006-60.
288.36 Foreign trade zones; authority to establish, operate, and maintain.Any corporation or government agency shall have the power to apply to the proper authorities of the United States for a grant of the privilege of establishing, operating, and maintaining foreign trade zones and foreign trade subzones under the provisions of the Act of Congress and, when the grant is issued, to accept the grant and to establish, operate, and maintain the foreign trade zones and foreign trade subzones and do all things necessary and proper to carry into effect the establishment, operation, and maintenance of such zones, all in accordance with the Act of Congress and other applicable laws and rules and regulations.
History.s. 2, ch. 76-42.
288.37 Foreign trade zones; authority to select and describe locations and make rules.Any corporation or government agency may select and describe the location of the foreign trade zones or foreign trade subzones for which an application is made under the provisions of the Act of Congress and make such rules and regulations concerning the establishment, operation, and maintenance of the foreign trade zones or foreign trade subzones as may be necessary to comply with the Act of Congress or as may be necessary to comply with the rules and regulations made in accordance with the Act of Congress.
History.s. 3, ch. 76-42.
288.38 Applicability of state laws and rules concerning citrus fruit and products.Any application for establishment of a foreign trade zone made pursuant hereto shall include a provision that all laws of this state and rules of the Florida Department of Citrus applicable to citrus fruit and processed citrus products shall equally apply within any foreign trade zone so established.
History.s. 4, ch. 76-42.
PART IV
SMALL AND MINORITY BUSINESS
288.7015 Appointment of rules ombudsman; duties.
288.702 Short title.
288.703 Definitions.
288.7031 Application of certain definitions.
288.705 Statewide contracts register.
288.706 Florida Minority Business Loan Mobilization Program.
288.7094 Black business investment corporations.
288.7102 Black Business Loan Program.
288.71025 Prohibited acts; penalties.
288.7103 Eligibility for loan, loan guarantee, or investment.
288.714 Quarterly and annual reports.
288.7015 Appointment of rules ombudsman; duties.The Governor shall appoint a rules ombudsman, as defined in s. 288.703, in the Executive Office of the Governor, for considering the impact of agency rules on the state’s citizens and businesses. The duties of the rules ombudsman are to:
(1) Carry out the responsibility provided in s. 120.54(3)(b), with respect to small businesses.
(2) Review state agency rules that adversely or disproportionately impact businesses, particularly those relating to small and minority businesses.
(3) Make recommendations on any existing or proposed rules to alleviate unnecessary or disproportionate adverse effects to businesses.
(4) Each state agency shall cooperate fully with the rules ombudsman in identifying such rules. Further, each agency shall take the necessary steps to waive, modify, or otherwise minimize such adverse effects of any such rules. However, nothing in this section authorizes any state agency to waive, modify, provide exceptions to, or otherwise alter any rule that is:
(a) Expressly required to implement or enforce any statutory provision or the express legislative intent thereof;
(b) Designed to protect persons against discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, handicap, or marital status; or
(c) Likely to prevent a significant risk or danger to the public health, the public safety, or the environment of the state.
(5) The modification or waiver of any such rule pursuant to this section must be accomplished in accordance with the provisions of chapter 120.
History.s. 5, ch. 96-320; s. 67, ch. 2010-102; s. 171, ch. 2011-142; s. 45, ch. 2014-17; s. 70, ch. 2023-173.
288.702 Short title.This section and ss. 288.703-288.706 may be cited as the “Florida Small and Minority Business Assistance Act.”
History.s. 1, ch. 85-104; s. 2, ch. 2007-157.
288.703 Definitions.As used in ss. 288.702-288.706, the term:
(1) “Certified minority business enterprise” means a business which has been certified by the certifying organization or jurisdiction in accordance with s. 287.0943(1) and (2).
(2) “Financial institution” means any bank, trust company, insurance company, savings and loan association, credit union, federal lending agency, or foundation.
(3) “Minority business enterprise” means any small business concern as defined in subsection (6) which is organized to engage in commercial transactions, which is domiciled in Florida, and which is at least 51-percent-owned by minority persons who are members of an insular group that is of a particular racial, ethnic, or gender makeup or national origin, which has been subjected historically to disparate treatment due to identification in and with that group resulting in an underrepresentation of commercial enterprises under the group’s control, and whose management and daily operations are controlled by such persons. A minority business enterprise may primarily involve the practice of a profession. Ownership by a minority person does not include ownership which is the result of a transfer from a nonminority person to a minority person within a related immediate family group if the combined total net asset value of all members of such family group exceeds $1 million. For purposes of this subsection, the term “related immediate family group” means one or more children under 16 years of age and a parent of such children or the spouse of such parent residing in the same house or living unit.
(4) “Minority person” means a lawful, permanent resident of Florida who is:
(a) An African American, a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of the African Diaspora, regardless of cultural origin.
(b) A Hispanic American, a person of Spanish or Portuguese culture with origins in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, South America, Central America, or the Caribbean, regardless of race.
(c) An Asian American, a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands, including the Hawaiian Islands before 1778.
(d) A Native American, a person who has origins in any of the Indian Tribes of North America before 1835, upon presentation of proper documentation thereof as established by rule of the Department of Management Services.
(e) An American woman.
(5) “Ombudsman” means an office or individual whose responsibilities include coordinating with the Office of Supplier Diversity for the interests of and providing assistance to small and minority business enterprises in dealing with governmental agencies and in developing proposals for changes in state agency rules.
(6) “Small business” means an independently owned and operated business concern that employs 200 or fewer permanent full-time employees and that, together with its affiliates, has a net worth of not more than $5 million or any firm based in this state which has a Small Business Administration 8(a) certification. As applicable to sole proprietorships, the $5 million net worth requirement shall include both personal and business investments.
History.s. 2, ch. 85-104; s. 14, ch. 91-162; s. 275, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 18, ch. 93-187; s. 22, ch. 94-322; s. 59, ch. 96-320; s. 2, ch. 98-295; s. 5, ch. 2000-286; s. 3, ch. 2007-157; s. 172, ch. 2011-142.
288.7031 Application of certain definitions.The definitions of “small business,” “minority business enterprise,” and “certified minority business enterprise” provided in s. 288.703 apply to the state and all political subdivisions of the state.
History.s. 3, ch. 98-295.
288.705 Statewide contracts register.All state agencies shall in a timely manner provide the Florida Small Business Development Center Procurement System with all formal solicitations for contractual services, supplies, and commodities. The Small Business Development Center shall coordinate with Minority Business Development Centers to compile and distribute this information to small and minority businesses requesting such service for the period of time necessary to familiarize the business with the market represented by state agencies. On or before February 1 of each year, the Small Business Development Center shall report to the department on the use of the statewide contracts register. The report shall include, but not be limited to, information relating to:
(1) The total number of solicitations received from state agencies during the calendar year.
(2) The number of solicitations received from each state agency during the calendar year.
(3) The method of distributing solicitation information to businesses requesting such service.
(4) The total number of businesses using the service.
(5) The percentage of businesses using the service which are owned and controlled by minorities.
(6) The percentage of service-disabled veteran business enterprises using the service.
History.s. 4, ch. 85-104; s. 277, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 23, ch. 94-322; s. 60, ch. 96-320; s. 39, ch. 2007-217; s. 2, ch. 2008-155; s. 173, ch. 2011-142.
288.706 Florida Minority Business Loan Mobilization Program.
(1) The Legislature finds that it is in the interest of the public welfare to meaningfully assist minority business enterprises that are vital to the overall economy of this state. It is the intent of the Legislature to promote diversity in state contracting by eliminating barriers to minority business enterprises providing goods and services to this state. Finally, the Legislature recognizes the contribution of minority business enterprises to employment opportunities in this state.
(2) The Florida Minority Business Loan Mobilization Program is created to promote the development of minority business enterprises, as defined in s. 288.703(3), increase the ability of minority business enterprises to compete for state contracts, and sustain the economic growth of minority business enterprises in this state. The goal of the program is to assist minority business enterprises by facilitating working capital loans to minority business enterprises that are vendors on state agency contracts. The Department of Management Services shall administer the program.
(3) Notwithstanding ss. 215.422(15) and 216.181(16), and pursuant to s. 216.351, under the Florida Minority Business Loan Mobilization Program, a state agency may disburse up to 10 percent of the base contract award amount to assist a minority business enterprise vendor that is awarded a state agency contract for goods or services in obtaining working capital financing as provided in subsection (5).
(4) Notwithstanding ss. 215.422(15) and 216.181(16), and pursuant to s. 216.351, in lieu of applying for participation in the Florida Minority Business Loan Mobilization Program, a minority business enterprise vendor awarded a state agency contract for the performance of professional services may apply with that contracting state agency for up to 5 percent of the base contract award amount. The contracting state agency may award such advance in order to facilitate the performance of that contract.
(5) The following Florida Minority Business Loan Mobilization Program procedures apply to minority business enterprise vendors for contracts awarded by a state agency for construction or professional services or for the provision of goods or services:
(a) Upon receipt of an award of a prime contract or subcontract, a minority business enterprise vendor may seek to obtain working capital financing from a participating financial institution. The minority business enterprise vendor shall complete all the necessary requirements of the participating financial institution in order to obtain a working capital agreement. A minority business enterprise vendor shall only be entitled to participate in the program if a working capital agreement is established with a participating financial institution.
(b) The working capital agreement may provide for a line of credit that is no less than 125 percent and no more than 200 percent of the designated loan mobilization payment described in paragraph (c).
(c) The designated loan mobilization payment is that portion of the base contract award amount that is to be disbursed by the agency under this section. The actual amount of the designated loan mobilization payment shall be no less than $5,000 and no greater than $250,000. The amount of the designated loan mobilization payment shall be:
1. No less than 5 percent and no more than 10 percent of the base contract award amount between the minority business enterprise prime contract vendor and the contracting state agency; or
2. No less than 5 percent and no more than 10 percent of the base contract award amount between a minority business enterprise subcontract vendor and a minority business enterprise or nonminority business enterprise prime contract vendor.
(d) The designated loan mobilization payment shall be disbursed pursuant to the working capital agreement and this subsection and shall be made payable by the contracting state agency to the minority business enterprise prime contract vendor and the participating financial institution using the tax identification number of the minority business enterprise vendor that is the debtor under the working capital agreement.
(e) The following procedures shall apply when the minority business enterprise is the prime contract vendor to the contracting state agency:
1. Pursuant to s. 216.351, ss. 215.422(15) and 216.181(16) do not apply to this paragraph.
2. For construction contracts, the designated loan mobilization payment shall be disbursed when:
a. The minority business enterprise prime contract vendor requests disbursement in the first application for payment.
b. The contracting state agency has issued a notice to proceed and has approved the first application for payment.
3. For contracts other than construction contracts, the designated loan mobilization payment shall be disbursed when:
a. The minority business enterprise prime contract vendor requests disbursement by letter delivered to the contracting state agency after the execution of the contract but prior to the commencement of work.
b. The contracting state agency has approved the minority business enterprise prime contract vendor’s letter of request.
4. The designated loan mobilization payment may be paid by the contracting state agency prior to the commencement of work. In order to ensure that the contract time provisions do not commence until the minority business enterprise prime contract vendor has adequate working capital, the contract documents may provide that the contract shall commence at such time as the contracting state agency releases the designated loan mobilization payment to the minority business enterprise prime contract vendor and participating financial institution pursuant to the working capital agreement.
(f) The following procedures shall apply when the minority business enterprise is the subcontract vendor:
1. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “minority business enterprise subcontract vendor” is limited to subcontractors and suppliers to prime contract vendors that contract with a state agency.
2. A designated loan mobilization payment for a minority business enterprise subcontract vendor shall be made:
a. Upon approval by the contracting state agency of a letter from the minority business enterprise subcontract vendor and prime contract vendor that requests the designated loan mobilization payment and that indicates that the prime contract vendor is on notice of the request.
b. Payable to the prime contract vendor and the participating financial institution, which shall pay these funds to the minority business enterprise subcontract vendor within 10 business days after the receipt of the funds from the state.
3. No prime contract vendor shall retain more than 5 percent of the amount earned by a minority business enterprise subcontract vendor participating in this program, except that if the prime contract vendor is also participating in this program, the amount the prime contract vendor retains shall be subject to the provisions governing prime contract vendors.
(6) All prime contract vendors shall be required to incorporate the designated loan mobilization payment procedures in subcontract agreements or purchase orders with minority business enterprise vendors participating in this program and to cooperate in the release of designated loan mobilization payments to achieve the objective of providing working capital for minority business enterprise subcontract vendors.
(7) The contracting state agency shall encourage prime contract vendors to make weekly or biweekly payments to minority business enterprise subcontract vendors participating in this program.
(8) The contracting state agency shall monitor compliance with this section. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to limit the contracting state agency’s right to insist upon strict compliance with the requirements of the contract documents.
(9) The contracting state agency shall not be a party to a working capital agreement between a participating financial institution and a participating minority business enterprise vendor. The participating financial institution shall notify the contracting state agency head of vendor program applications received by such institution.
(10) The Department of Management Services shall maintain a listing of financial institutions willing to participate in the Florida Minority Business Loan Mobilization Program. This list of financial institutions shall not be exclusive. A minority business enterprise vendor who has a working relationship with a financial institution is encouraged to request that the financial institution apply to participate as a financial institution for the program.
(11) The Department of Management Services shall collaborate with the department to assist in the development and enhancement of black business enterprises.
History.s. 1, ch. 2002-303; s. 1, ch. 2003-268; s. 4, ch. 2007-157; s. 174, ch. 2011-142; s. 33, ch. 2012-5; s. 22, ch. 2013-18; s. 34, ch. 2017-175; s. 71, ch. 2023-173.
288.7094 Black business investment corporations.
(1) The term “black business investment corporation” means a corporation that provides loans, loan guarantees, or investments to black business enterprises under s. 288.7102.
(2) A black business investment corporation that meets the requirements of s. 288.7102(4) is eligible to participate in the Black Business Loan Program and shall receive priority consideration by the department for participation in the program.
History.s. 10, ch. 2007-157; s. 3, ch. 2008-140; s. 175, ch. 2011-142.
288.7102 Black Business Loan Program.
(1) The Black Business Loan Program is established in the department, which shall annually certify eligible recipients and subsequently disburse funds appropriated by the Legislature, through such eligible recipients, to black business enterprises that cannot obtain capital through conventional lending institutions but that could otherwise compete successfully in the private sector.
(2) The department shall establish an application and annual certification process for entities seeking funds to participate in providing loans, loan guarantees, or investments in black business enterprises pursuant to the Florida Black Business Investment Act. The department shall process all applications and recertifications submitted by June 1 on or before July 31.
(3) If the Black Business Loan Program is appropriated any funding in a fiscal year, the department shall distribute an equal amount of the appropriation, calculated as the total annual appropriation divided by the total number of program recipients certified on or before July 31 of that fiscal year.
(4) To be eligible to receive funds and provide loans, loan guarantees, or investments under this section, a recipient must:
(a) Be a corporation registered in the state.
(b) For an existing recipient, annually submit to the department a financial audit performed by an independent certified public accountant for the most recently completed fiscal year, which audit does not reveal any material weaknesses or instances of material noncompliance.
(c) For a new recipient:
1. Demonstrate that its board of directors includes citizens of the state experienced in the development of black business enterprises.
2. Demonstrate that the recipient has a business plan that allows the recipient to operate in a manner consistent with this section and the rules of the department.
3. Demonstrate that the recipient has the technical skills to analyze and evaluate applications by black business enterprises for loans, loan guarantees, or investments.
4. Demonstrate that the recipient has established viable partnerships with public and private funding sources, economic development agencies, and workforce development and job referral networks.
5. Demonstrate that the recipient can provide a private match equal to 20 percent of the amount of funds provided by the department.
(d) For an existing or new recipient, agree to maintain the recipient’s books and records relating to funds received by the department according to generally accepted accounting principles and in accordance with the requirements of s. 215.97(7) and to make those books and records available to the department for inspection upon reasonable notice.
(5) Each eligible recipient must meet the requirements of this section, the terms of the contract between the recipient and the department, and any other applicable state or federal laws. An entity may not receive funds unless the entity meets annual certification requirements.
(6) Upon approval by the department and before release of the funds as provided in this section, the department shall issue a letter certifying the applicant as qualified for an award. The department and the applicant shall enter into an agreement that sets forth the conditions for award of the funds. The agreement must include the total amount of funds awarded; the performance conditions that must be met once the funding has been awarded, including, but not limited to, compliance with all of the requirements of this section for eligible recipients of funds under this section; and sanctions for failure to meet performance conditions, including any provisions to recover awards.
(7) The department shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section.
(8) A black business investment corporation certified by the department as an eligible recipient under this section is authorized to use funds appropriated for the Black Business Loan Program in any of the following forms:
(a) Purchases of stock, preferred or common, voting or nonvoting; however, no more than 40 percent of the funds may be used for direct investments in black business enterprises;
(b) Loans or loan guarantees, with or without recourse, in either a subordinated or priority position; or
(c) Technical support to black business enterprises, not to exceed 9 percent of the funds received, and direct administrative costs, not to exceed 12 percent of the funds received.
(9) It is the intent of the Legislature that if any one type of investment mechanism authorized in subsection (8) is held to be invalid, all other valid mechanisms remain available.
(10) All loans, loan guarantees, and investments, and any income related thereto, shall be used to carry out the public purpose to develop black business enterprises. This subsection does not preclude a reasonable profit for the participating black business investment corporation or for return of equity developed to the state and participating financial institutions upon any distribution of the assets or excess income of the investment corporation.
History.s. 11, ch. 2007-157; s. 2, ch. 2008-140; s. 4, ch. 2010-39; s. 176, ch. 2011-142; s. 34, ch. 2012-5; s. 46, ch. 2012-96.
288.71025 Prohibited acts; penalties.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to hold itself out as a black business investment corporation without being certified as eligible to participate in the Florida Black Business Loan Program.
(2) In addition to any other penalties or remedies provided under law, the department may bring a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction against any person for a knowing or willful violation of this section. Upon an adverse adjudication, the court may impose a civil penalty of up to $500 and payment of court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the plaintiff.
History.s. 12, ch. 2007-157; s. 5, ch. 2010-39; s. 39, ch. 2013-15.
288.7103 Eligibility for loan, loan guarantee, or investment.A black business enterprise is not eligible to receive a loan, loan guarantee, or investment from funds disbursed pursuant to s. 288.7102 unless the black business enterprise demonstrates that:
(1) The proposed loan, loan guarantee, or investment is economically sound and will assist the black business enterprise in entering the conventional lending market, increasing opportunities for employment, and strengthening the economy of the state.
(2) The black business enterprise will be able to compete successfully in the private sector if the black business enterprise obtains the requested financial assistance and has obtained or will obtain appropriate and credible technical or managerial support through an organization approved by the corporation.
History.s. 13, ch. 2007-157.
288.714 Quarterly and annual reports.
(1) Each recipient of state funds under s. 288.7102 shall provide to the department a quarterly report within 15 days after the end of each calendar quarter that includes a detailed summary of the recipient’s performance of the duties imposed by s. 288.7102, including, but not limited to:
(a) The dollar amount of all loans or loan guarantees made to black business enterprises, the percentages of the loans guaranteed, and the names and identification of the types of businesses served.
(b) Loan performance information.
(c) The amount and nature of all other financial assistance provided to black business enterprises.
(d) The amount and nature of technical assistance provided to black business enterprises, including technical assistance services provided in areas in which such services are otherwise unavailable.
(e) A balance sheet for the recipient, including an explanation of all investments and administrative and operational expenses.
(f) A summary of all services provided to nonblack business enterprises, including the dollar value and nature of such services and the names and identification of the types of businesses served.
(g) Any other information as required by policies adopted by the department.
(2) The department must compile a summary of all quarterly reports within 30 days after the end of each calendar quarter which includes a detailed summary of the recipient’s performance of the duties imposed by s. 288.7102.
(3) The department shall include in its annual report required under s. 20.60 a detailed report of the performance of the Black Business Loan Program. The report must include a cumulative summary of the quarterly report data compiled pursuant to subsection (2).
History.s. 20, ch. 85-104; s. 4, ch. 89-352; s. 66, ch. 96-320; s. 8, ch. 2002-180; s. 5, ch. 2003-268; s. 15, ch. 2007-157; s. 7, ch. 2010-39; s. 177, ch. 2011-142; s. 45, ch. 2012-96; s. 26, ch. 2013-39; s. 28, ch. 2013-42.
PART V
EXPORT FINANCE
288.770 Short title.
288.771 Legislative findings and intent.
288.772 Definitions.
288.773 Florida Export Finance Corporation.
288.774 Powers and limitations.
288.775 Florida Export Finance Corporation Guarantee Account.
288.776 Board of directors; powers and duties.
288.777 President of the corporation.
288.7771 Annual report of Florida Export Finance Corporation.
288.778 Office of Financial Institutions and Securities Regulation.
288.770 Short title.Sections 288.771-288.778 may be cited as the “Florida Export Finance Corporation Act.”
History.s. 46, ch. 93-187; s. 68, ch. 99-13.
288.771 Legislative findings and intent.The Legislature finds that the expansion of international trade is vital to the overall health and growth of Florida’s economy; however, this expansion is severely slowed by the lack of financial and technical assistance for small and medium-sized Florida businesses. The Legislature further finds that these businesses could be assisted through the establishment of a Florida Export Finance Corporation designed to work with the United States Export-Import Bank, Small Business Administration, Foreign Credit Insurance Association, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Private Export Funding Corporation, and other federal, state, and private agencies and institutions to provide Florida traders with information, technical assistance, and financial support. It is the intention of the Legislature to expand job opportunities for Florida’s workforce. Furthermore, it is the intention of the Legislature to avoid duplicating existing programs, and to coordinate, assist, augment, and improve the access to those programs by Florida-based small and medium-sized businesses and to promote Florida products and services in the international marketplace.
History.s. 47, ch. 93-187.
288.772 Definitions.For purposes of ss. 288.771-288.778:
(1) “Account” means the Florida Export Finance Corporation account.
(2) “Board” means the board of directors of the Florida Export Finance Corporation.
(3) “Corporation” means the Florida Export Finance Corporation.
(4) “Domiciled in this state” means registered to do business in this state.
(5) “Financial institution” shall have the same meaning as that term is defined in s. 655.005.
(6) “President” means the chief executive officer of the Florida Export Finance Corporation.
(7) “Small and medium-sized businesses” or “businesses” means businesses domiciled in this state which employ less than 250 people and have a net worth of less than $6 million.
History.s. 48, ch. 93-187; s. 68, ch. 96-320; s. 21, ch. 97-278; s. 32, ch. 2011-194; s. 7, ch. 2019-93.
288.773 Florida Export Finance Corporation.The Florida Export Finance Corporation is hereby created as a corporation not for profit, to be incorporated under the provisions of chapter 617 and approved by the Department of State. The corporation is organized on a nonstock basis. The purpose of the corporation is to expand employment and income opportunities for residents of this state through increased exports of goods and services, by providing businesses domiciled in this state information and technical assistance on export opportunities, exporting techniques, and financial assistance through guarantees and direct loan originations for sale in support of export transactions. The corporation shall have the power and authority to carry out the following functions:
(1) To coordinate the efforts of the corporation with programs and goals of the United States Export-Import Bank, the International Trade Administration of the United States Department of Commerce, the Foreign Credit Insurance Association, the department, and other private and public programs and organizations, domestic and foreign, designed to provide export assistance and export-related financing.
(2) To establish a network of contacts among those domestic and foreign public and private organizations which provide information, technical assistance, and financial support of exporting.
(3) To assemble, publish, and disseminate information on export opportunities, techniques of exporting, sources of public and private export assistance, and sources of export-related financing.
(4) To organize, host, and participate in seminars and other forums designed to disseminate information and technical assistance on exporting and export-related financing.
(5) To insure, coinsure, lend, and guarantee loans, and to originate for sale direct export-related loans, extended to small and medium-sized businesses in this state pursuant to criteria, bylaws, rules, and policies adopted by the board.
History.s. 49, ch. 93-187; s. 69, ch. 96-320; s. 178, ch. 2011-142; s. 72, ch. 2023-173.
288.774 Powers and limitations.
(1) The corporation may charge fees to help defray the operating expenses of its programs. The amount of fees shall be determined by the board.
(2) The total of loans, guarantees, direct loan originations for sale and insured export transactions outstanding shall not be more than five times the balance of the account. The board may elect to require a higher reserve.
(3)(a) The board shall adopt terms and limits for loans, guarantees, and direct loan originations, but a loan guarantee or a direct loan origination shall not exceed 90 percent of the transaction contract.
(b) In providing assistance, the board shall be guided by the statewide economic development plan adopted by the department.
(c) The board shall explore the possibility of organizing Florida financial institutions and international bank syndicates for the purpose of offering nonrecourse postexport financing to Florida exporters.
(4) The board shall ensure that program participants graduate from the program to private financing and that no applicant receives more than $500,000 of assistance over any 5-year period. On a case-by-case basis, the board may exempt applicants from this limitation if the applicant demonstrates that he or she cannot secure financing from traditional lending sources. The term “applicant,” as used in this subsection, means any individual corporate officer or business owner regardless of whether the business name changes from application to application.
History.s. 50, ch. 93-187; s. 224, ch. 95-148; s. 70, ch. 96-320; s. 179, ch. 2011-142; s. 15, ch. 2017-5.
288.775 Florida Export Finance Corporation Guarantee Account.
(1) The board shall create the Florida Export Finance Corporation Guarantee Account for the purpose of receiving state, federal, and private financial resources, and the return from investments of those resources, and for the purposes of this part. The account shall be under the exclusive control of the board.
(2) Resources in the account shall be allocated for operating expenses of the corporation and for other purposes authorized in this part.
(3) Appropriations for the corporation shall be deposited into the account.
(a) The board of the corporation may deposit the resources of the account designated for the purposes of this section with state or federally chartered financial institutions in this state and may invest the remaining portion in permissible securities.
(b) At all times, the board shall attempt to maximize the returns on these funds.
(c) All funds received from the activity of the corporation shall be redeposited in the account to be used to support the purposes of this part.
(4) Any claims against the account shall be paid solely from the account. Under no circumstances shall the credit of the state be pledged other than funds appropriated by law to the account, nor shall the state be liable or obligated in any way for claims on the account or against the corporation.
History.s. 51, ch. 93-187; s. 71, ch. 96-320; s. 22, ch. 97-278.
288.776 Board of directors; powers and duties.
(1)(a) The corporation shall have a board of directors consisting of 15 members representing all geographic areas of the state. Minority and gender representation must be considered when making appointments to the board. The board membership must include:
1. A representative of the following businesses, all of which must be registered to do business in this state: a foreign bank, a state bank, a federal bank, an insurance company involved in covering trade financing risks, and a small or medium-sized exporter.
2. The following persons or their designee: the Secretary of Commerce, the Chief Financial Officer, the Secretary of State, and a senior official of the United States Department of Commerce.
(b) Appointees who are not state or Federal Government officials shall serve for a term of 3 years and shall be eligible for reappointment. Nonstate and nonfederal official vacancies on the board shall be filled by the board within 30 days after the effective date of the vacancy.
(2) Board members shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for all necessary expenses in the performance of their duties, including attending board meetings and conducting board business.
(3) The board shall:
(a) Prior to the expenditure of funds from the export finance account, adopt bylaws and policies which are necessary to carry out the responsibilities under this part, particularly with respect to the implementation of the corporation’s programs to insure, coinsure, lend, provide loan guarantees, and make direct, guaranteed, or collateralized loans by the corporation to support export transactions. The corporation’s bylaws and policies shall be reviewed and approved by the department prior to final adoption by the board.
(b) Hold regularly scheduled meetings, at least quarterly, in order to carry out the objectives and responsibilities of the board.
(c) Issue an annual report to the department on the activities of the corporation, including an evaluation of activities and recommendations for change. The evaluation shall include the corporation’s impact on the following:
1. Participation of private banks and other private organizations and individuals in the corporation’s export financing programs.
2. Access of small and medium-sized businesses in this state to federal export financing programs.
3. Export volume of the small and medium-sized businesses in this state accessing the corporation’s programs.
4. Other economic and social benefits to international programs in this state.
(d) Adopt policies, including criteria, establishing which exporters and export transactions shall be eligible for insurance, coinsurance, loan guarantees, and direct, guaranteed, or collateralized loans which may be extended by the corporation. Pursuant to this subsection, the board shall include the following criteria:
1. Any individual signing any corporation loan application and loan or guarantee agreement shall have an equity in the business applying for financial assistance.
2. Each program shall exclusively support the export of goods and services by small and medium-sized businesses which are domiciled in this state. Priority shall be given to goods which have value added in this state.
3. Financial assistance shall only be extended when at least one of the following circumstances exists:
a. The assistance is required to secure the participation of small and medium-sized export businesses in federal, state, or private financing programs.
b. No conventional source of lender support is available for the business from public or private financing sources.

Personal financial records, trade secrets, or proprietary information of applicants shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1).

(e) Adopt requirements to ensure the full repayment of loans and loan guarantees, plus accrued interest, full-recourse claims, and indemnities on direct loan originations sold by the corporation, and the solvency of any insurance and coinsurance program extended under this part.
(f) Approve any extension of insurance, coinsurance, loans, loan guarantees, or direct loan originations for sale, under this part.
(g) Consult with the department, or any state or federal agency, to ensure that the respective loan guarantee or working capital loan origination programs are not duplicative and that each program makes full use of, to the extent practicable, the resources of the other.
(h) Work to secure a delegated line of authority from the United States Export-Import Bank or other appropriate federal or state agency or private sector entity in order to take advantage of this possible funding or guarantee source.
(i) Develop a streamlined application and review process, including a survey of businesses to obtain the statistics required in paragraph (c).
History.s. 52, ch. 93-187; s. 2, ch. 95-386; s. 72, ch. 96-320; s. 142, ch. 96-406; s. 23, ch. 97-278; s. 69, ch. 99-13; s. 346, ch. 2003-261; s. 180, ch. 2011-142; s. 16, ch. 2017-5; s. 73, ch. 2023-173.
288.777 President of the corporation.
(1) The board shall appoint a president. The president shall be knowledgeable about private and public export assistance and export financing programs.
(2) The president shall serve at the pleasure of the board and shall receive a salary and benefits as shall be fixed by the board.
(3) The president shall administer the programs of the corporation and perform such duties as shall be delegated by the board.
(4) The president may, upon approval of the board:
(a) Contract for services.
(b) Hold public hearings.
(c) Call upon and reimburse for services any state agency or department for assistance in carrying out the objectives of this part.
(d) Participate with government or private industry in programs for technical assistance, loans, technology transfer, or any other programs related to this part.
(e) Undertake or commission studies on methods to increase financial resources to expand the exports of goods and services by small and medium-sized businesses in this state.
(f) Hire staff and provide export finance training for them and other individuals involved in export finance assistance, including such training sessions as may be provided by the United States Export-Import Bank and other organizations.
(g) Exercise any other powers as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this part.
(5) The president shall provide staff to the board as requested.
(6) The president shall submit an annual budget to be approved by the board.
History.s. 53, ch. 93-187; s. 73, ch. 96-320; s. 24, ch. 97-278.
288.7771 Annual report of Florida Export Finance Corporation.The corporation shall annually prepare and submit to the department for inclusion in its annual report required under s. 20.60 a complete and detailed report setting forth:
(1) The report required in s. 288.776(3).
(2) Its assets and liabilities at the end of its most recent fiscal year.
History.s. 54, ch. 93-187; s. 74, ch. 96-320; s. 25, ch. 97-278; s. 64, ch. 2001-61; s. 68, ch. 2010-102; s. 181, ch. 2011-142; s. 27, ch. 2013-39; s. 29, ch. 2013-42; s. 74, ch. 2023-173.
288.778 Office of Financial Institutions and Securities Regulation.The Office of Financial Regulation shall review the corporation’s activities once every 24 months to determine compliance with this part and other related laws and rules and to evaluate the corporation’s operations. The office shall prepare a report based on its review and evaluation with recommendation for any corrective action. The president shall submit to the office regular reports on the corporation’s activities. The content and frequency of such reports shall be determined by the office. The office shall charge a fee for conducting the review and evaluation and preparing the related report, which fee shall not be in excess of the examination fee paid by financial institutions chartered or licensed under the financial institutions code of this state.
History.s. 56, ch. 93-187; s. 19, ch. 99-155; s. 347, ch. 2003-261.
PART VI
GULF COAST ECONOMIC CORRIDOR
288.80 Short title.
288.8011 Gulf Coast Economic Corridor; legislative intent.
288.8012 Definitions.
288.80125 Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund.
288.8013 Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.; creation; funding; investment.
288.8014 Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.; organization; board of directors.
288.8015 Board of directors; powers.
288.8016 Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.; duties.
288.8017 Awards.
288.8018 Gulf Coast audits.
288.80 Short title.This section and ss. 288.8011-288.8018 may be cited as the “Gulf Coast Economic Corridor Act.”
History.s. 51, ch. 2013-39; s. 1, ch. 2017-63.
288.8011 Gulf Coast Economic Corridor; legislative intent.The Legislature recognizes that fully supporting areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster to ensure goals for economic recovery and diversification are achieved is in the best interest of the citizens of the state. The Legislature intends to provide a long-term source of funding for efforts of economic recovery and enhancement in the Gulf Coast region. The Legislature finds that it is important to help businesses, individuals, and local governments in the Gulf Coast region recover.
History.s. 52, ch. 2013-39.
288.8012 Definitions.As used in ss. 288.8011-288.8018, the term:
(1) “Awardee” means a person, organization, or local government granted an award of funds as authorized in s. 288.8017 for a project or program.
(2) “Department” means the Department of Economic Opportunity.
(3) “Disproportionately affected county” means Bay County, Escambia County, Franklin County, Gulf County, Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Walton County, or Wakulla County.
(4) “Settlement agreement” means the agreement entitled “Settlement Agreement Between the Gulf States and the BP Entities with Respect to Economic and Other Claims Arising from the Deepwater Horizon Incident,” which was entered into on October 5, 2015, in the case styled In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL 2179 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
History.s. 53, ch. 2013-39; s. 2, ch. 2017-63.
288.80125 Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund.
(1) The Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund is created within the department. The trust fund is established as a depository for funds transferred, as set forth in s. 288.8013, from the General Revenue Fund pursuant to the “Settlement Agreement Between the Gulf States and the BP Entities with Respect to Economic and Other Claims Arising from the Deepwater Horizon Incident,” which was entered into on October 5, 2015, in the case styled In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL 2179 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The trust fund is exempt from the general revenue service charge provided in s. 215.20.
(2) Funds from the trust fund shall be used for the purposes described in ss. 288.8011-288.8018.
1(3) For the 2023-2024 fiscal year, funds shall be used for the Rebuild Florida Revolving Loan Fund program to provide assistance to businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael as provided in the General Appropriations Act. This subsection expires July 1, 2024.
History.s. 1, ch. 2017-64; s. 92, ch. 2020-114; s. 2, ch. 2021-4; s. 52, ch. 2021-37; s. 73, ch. 2022-157; s. 63, ch. 2023-240.
1Note.Section 63, ch. 2023-240, amended subsection (3) “[i]n order to implement section 185 of the 2023-2024 General Appropriations Act.”
288.8013 Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.; creation; funding; investment.
(1) There is created a nonprofit corporation, to be known as Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., which shall be registered, incorporated, organized, and operated in compliance with chapter 617, and which is not a unit or entity of state government. Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., is not subject to control, supervision, or direction by the department in any manner, including, but not limited to, personnel, purchasing, transactions involving real or personal property, and budgetary matters.
(2) Seventy-five percent of all payments to the state pursuant to the settlement agreement shall be transferred immediately by the Chief Financial Officer from the General Revenue Fund to the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund.
(a) Such funds are appropriated to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., and shall be released by the department for deposit into the trust account established by Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., pursuant to subsection (3) as follows:
1. Seventy-five percent of the moneys received by the state pursuant to the settlement agreement on or before July 1, 2017, shall be immediately released to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.
2. Seventy-five percent of the moneys received by the state pursuant to the settlement agreement after July 1, 2017, shall be released to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., no later than 30 days after such funds are transferred to the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund.
(b) Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., shall make awards for projects or programs within the geographic boundaries of each disproportionately affected county based on the following minimum allocations:
1. At least 40 percent of the moneys transferred to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., pursuant to subparagraph (a)1., must be allocated equally among the eight disproportionately affected counties based on a minimum allocation of at least 5 percent per county.
2. For each transfer of funds to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., pursuant to subparagraph (a)2., at least 32 percent of the moneys must be allocated equally among the eight disproportionately affected counties based on a minimum allocation of at least 4 percent per county.
(c) Each board of county commissioners shall solicit proposed projects and programs from other elected local governing boards within the county and shall provide Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., with a list of proposed projects and programs located within its county. The submitted list of proposed projects and programs must include projects and programs submitted by other elected local governing boards and projects and programs recommended by the board of county commissioners.
(d) Any remaining funds shall be allocated by Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., for administrative costs and to make awards pursuant to s. 288.8017. Administrative costs may not exceed 0.75 percent of the funds released to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.
1(3) Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., shall establish a trust account at a federally insured financial institution to hold funds received from the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund and make deposits and payments. Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., may invest surplus funds in the Local Government Surplus Funds Trust Fund, pursuant to s. 218.407. Earnings generated by investments and interest of the fund may be retained and used to make awards pursuant to this act or, notwithstanding paragraph (2)(d), for administrative costs, including costs in excess of the cap. Administrative costs may include payment of travel and per diem expenses of board members, audits, salary or other costs for employed or contracted staff, including required staff under s. 288.8014(9), and other allowable costs. The annual salary for any employee or contracted staff may not exceed $130,000, and associated benefits may not exceed 35 percent of salary.
(4) Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., shall report on June 30 and December 30 of each year to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the established priorities; the project and program selection process, including a list of all submitted projects and programs and reasons for approval or denial; and the status of all approved awards.
(5) The Auditor General shall conduct an operational audit of Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., annually. Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., shall provide to the Auditor General any detail or supplemental data required.
History.s. 54, ch. 2013-39; s. 7, ch. 2014-218; s. 3, ch. 2017-63; ss. 64, 65, ch. 2023-240.
1Note.

A. Section 64, ch. 2023-240, amended subsection (3) “[i]n order to implement Specific Appropriations 2277 through 2284 of the 2023-2024 General Appropriations Act.”

B. Section 65, ch. 2023-240, provides that “[t]he amendments to s. 288.8013(3), Florida Statutes, made by this act expire July 1, 2024, and the text of that subsection shall revert to that in existence on June 30, 2023, except that any amendments to such text enacted other than by this act shall be preserved and continue to operate to the extent that such amendments are not dependent upon the portions of text which expire pursuant to this section.” Effective July 1, 2024, subsection (3), as amended by s. 65, ch. 2023-240, will read:

(3) Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., shall establish a trust account at a federally insured financial institution to hold funds received from the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund and make deposits and payments. Interest earned in the trust account shall be deposited monthly into the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund. Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., may invest surplus funds in the Local Government Surplus Funds Trust Fund, pursuant to s. 218.407, and interest earned, net of fees, shall be transferred monthly into the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund. Administrative costs may include payment of travel and per diem expenses of board members, audits, salary or other costs for employed or contracted staff, including required staff under s. 288.8014(9), and other allowable costs. The annual salary for any employee or contracted staff may not exceed $130,000, and associated benefits may not exceed 35 percent of salary.

288.8014 Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.; organization; board of directors.
(1) Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., is subject to the provisions of chapter 119 relating to public records and those provisions of chapter 286 relating to public meetings and records.
(2) Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., shall initially be governed by a five-member board of directors. Each of the Trustees of the State Board of Administration, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall each appoint one member from the private sector. As of June 2, 2017, the number of board members is increased to seven, with the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives each appointing an additional member from the private sector in one of the four least populous disproportionately affected counties, as identified by the United States Census Bureau in its April 2016 estimates of county populations, to ensure that two such counties are represented on the board. The board of directors shall annually elect a chairperson from among the board’s members. The chairperson may be removed by a majority vote of the members. His or her successor shall be elected to serve for the balance of the removed chairperson’s term. The chairperson is responsible to ensure records are kept of the proceedings of the board of directors and is the custodian of all books, documents, and papers filed with the board; the minutes of meetings of the board; and the official seal of Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.
(3) Notwithstanding s. 20.052(4)(c), each initial appointment to the board of directors by the Board of Trustees of the State Board of Administration shall serve for a term that ends 4 years after the Legislature appropriates funds to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. To achieve staggered terms among the members of the board, each initial appointment to the board of directors by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall serve for a term that ends 5 years after the Legislature appropriates funds to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. Thereafter, each member of the board of directors shall serve for a term of 4 years. A member is not eligible for reappointment to the board; however, any member appointed to fill a vacancy for a term of 2 years or less may be reappointed for an additional term of 4 years. Vacancies on the board of directors shall be filled by the officer who originally appointed the member. A vacancy that occurs before the scheduled expiration of the term of the member shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(4) The Legislature determines that it is in the public interest for the members of the board of directors to be subject to the requirements of ss. 112.313, 112.3135, and 112.3143, notwithstanding the fact that the board members are not public officers or employees. For purposes of those sections, the board members shall be considered to be public officers or employees. In addition to the postemployment restrictions of s. 112.313(9), a person appointed to the board of directors must agree to refrain from having any direct interest in any contract, franchise, privilege, project, program, or other benefit arising from an award by Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., during the term of his or her appointment and for 6 years after the termination of such appointment. It is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for a person to accept appointment to the board of directors in violation of this subsection or to accept a direct interest in any contract, franchise, privilege, project, program, or other benefit granted by Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., to an awardee within 6 years after the termination of his or her service on the board. Further, each member of the board of directors who is not otherwise required to file financial disclosure under s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution or s. 112.3144 shall file disclosure of financial interests under s. 112.3145.
(5) Each member of the board of directors shall serve without compensation, but shall receive travel and per diem expenses as provided in s. 112.061 while in the performance of his or her duties.
(6) Each member of the board of directors is accountable for the proper performance of the duties of office, and each member owes a fiduciary duty to the people of the state to ensure that awards provided are disbursed and used, and investments are made, as prescribed by law and contract. An appointed member of the board of directors may be removed by the officer that appointed the member for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, unexcused absence from three consecutive meetings of the board, arrest or indictment for a crime that is a felony or a misdemeanor involving theft or a crime of dishonesty, or pleading nolo contendere to, or being found guilty of, any crime.
(7) The board of directors shall meet at least quarterly, upon the call of the chairperson or at the request of a majority of the membership, to establish and review priorities for economic recovery, diversification, and enhancement of the disproportionately affected counties, and determine use of funds available. A majority of the members of the board of directors constitutes a quorum. Members may not vote by proxy.
(8) The Secretary of Economic Opportunity, or his or her designee, the Secretary of Environmental Protection, or his or her designee, and the chair of the Committee of 8 Disproportionally Affected Counties, or his or her designee, shall be available to consult with the board of directors and may be requested to attend meetings of the board of directors. These individuals shall not be permitted to vote on any matter before the board.
(9)(a) Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., is permitted to hire or contract for all staff necessary to the proper execution of its powers and duties to implement this act. The corporation is required to retain:
1. An independent certified public accountant licensed in this state pursuant to chapter 473 to inspect the records of and to annually audit the expenditure of funds by Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.
2. A legal advisor with expertise in not-for-profit contracting who is a member of The Florida Bar to assist with contracting and carrying out the intent of this act.
(b) All employees of the corporation shall comply with the code of ethics for public employees under part III of chapter 112. Retained staff under paragraph (a) must agree to refrain from having any direct interest in any contract, franchise, privilege, project, program, or other benefit arising from an award of funds by Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., during the term of his or her appointment and for 6 years after the termination of such appointment.
History.s. 55, ch. 2013-39; s. 8, ch. 2014-218; ss. 4, 10, ch. 2017-63; s. 27, ch. 2021-25; s. 16, ch. 2022-4.
288.8015 Board of directors; powers.In addition to the powers and duties prescribed in chapter 617 and the articles and bylaws adopted in compliance with that chapter, the board of directors may:
(1) Make and enter into contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient for the exercise of its powers and functions.
(2) Make expenditures including any necessary administrative expenditure consistent with its powers.
(3) Adopt, use, and alter a common corporate seal. Notwithstanding any provision of chapter 617 to the contrary, this seal is not required to contain the words “corporation not for profit.”
(4) Adopt, amend, and repeal bylaws, not inconsistent with the powers granted to it or the articles of incorporation, for the administration of the activities of Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., and the exercise of its corporate powers.
(5) Use the state seal, notwithstanding the provisions of s. 15.03, when appropriate, for standard corporate identity applications. Use of the state seal is not intended to replace use of a corporate seal as provided in this section.

Under no circumstances may the credit of the State of Florida be pledged on behalf of Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.

History.s. 56, ch. 2013-39; s. 5, ch. 2017-63.
288.8016 Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.; duties.Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., shall have the following duties:
(1) Manage responsibly and prudently all funds received, and ensure that the use of such funds is in accordance with all applicable laws, bylaws, or contractual requirements.
(2) Administer the program created under this act.
(3) Monitor, review, and annually evaluate awardees and their projects or programs to determine whether an award should be continued, terminated, reduced, or increased.
(4) Operate in a transparent manner, providing public access to information, notice of meetings, awards, and the status of projects and programs. To this end, Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., shall maintain a website that provides public access to this information. At least 14 calendar days before approving an award pursuant to s. 288.8017, Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., shall publish on the website a summary of the project or program and indicate its intent to approve the award.
History.s. 57, ch. 2013-39; s. 6, ch. 2017-63.
288.8017 Awards.
(1) Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., shall make awards from available funds to projects or programs that meet the priorities for economic recovery, diversification, and enhancement of the disproportionately affected counties. Awards may be provided for:
(a) Ad valorem tax rate reduction within disproportionately affected counties;
(b) Local match requirements of s. 288.0655 for projects in the disproportionately affected counties;
(c) Public infrastructure projects for construction, expansion, or maintenance which are shown to enhance economic recovery, diversification, and enhancement of the disproportionately affected counties;
(d) Grants to local governments in the disproportionately affected counties to establish and maintain equipment and trained personnel for local action plans of response to respond to disasters, such as plans created for the Coastal Impacts Assistance Program;
(e) Grants to support programs that prepare students for future occupations and careers at K-20 institutions that have campuses in the disproportionately affected counties. Eligible programs include those that increase students’ technology skills and knowledge; encourage industry certifications; provide rigorous, alternative pathways for students to meet high school graduation requirements; strengthen career readiness initiatives; fund high-demand programs of emphasis at the bachelor’s and master’s level designated by the Board of Governors; and, similar to or the same as talent retention programs created by the Chancellor of the State University System and the Commission of Education, encourage students with interest or aptitude for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical disciplines to pursue postsecondary education at a state university or a Florida College System institution within the disproportionately affected counties;
(f) Grants to support programs that provide participants in the disproportionately affected counties with transferable, sustainable workforce skills that are not confined to a single employer; and
(g) Grants to the tourism entity created under s. 288.1226 for the purpose of advertising and promoting tourism and Fresh From Florida, and grants to promote workforce and infrastructure, on behalf of all of the disproportionately affected counties.
(2) Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., shall establish an application procedure for awards and a scoring process for the selection of projects and programs that have the potential to generate increased economic activity in the disproportionately affected counties, giving priority to projects and programs that:
(a) Generate maximum estimated economic benefits, based on tools and models not generally employed by economic input-output analyses, including cost-benefit, return-on-investment, or dynamic scoring techniques to determine how the long-term economic growth potential of the disproportionately affected counties may be enhanced by the investment.
(b) Increase household income in the disproportionately affected counties above national average household income.
(c) Leverage or further enhance key regional assets, including educational institutions, research facilities, and military bases.
(d) Partner with local governments to provide funds, infrastructure, land, or other assistance for the project.
(e) Benefit the environment, in addition to the economy.
(f) Provide outcome measures.
(g) Partner with K-20 educational institutions or school districts located within the disproportionately affected counties as of January 1, 2017.
(h) Are recommended by the board of county commissioners of the county in which the project or program will be located.
(i) Partner with convention and visitor bureaus, tourist development councils, or chambers of commerce located within the disproportionately affected counties.
(3) Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., may make awards as applications are received or may establish application periods for selection. Awards may not be used to finance 100 percent of any project or program. Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., may require a one-to-one private-sector match or higher for an award, if applicable and deemed prudent by the board of directors. An awardee may not receive all of the funds available in any given year. An award may supplement but may not supplant existing funding sources.
(4) A contract executed by Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., with an awardee must include provisions requiring a performance report on the contracted activities, must account for the proper use of funds provided under the contract, and must include provisions for recovery of awards in the event the award was based upon fraudulent information or the awardee is not meeting the performance requirements of the award. Awardees must regularly report to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., the expenditure of funds and the status of the project or program on a schedule determined by the corporation.
History.s. 58, ch. 2013-39; s. 7, ch. 2017-63.
288.8018 Gulf Coast audits.
(1) The scope of a financial audit conducted pursuant to s. 218.39 shall include funds related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill for any year in which a local government entity receives or expends funds related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including any funds under s. 288.8017 or under 33 U.S.C. s. 1321(t). The scope of review for these funds shall include, but is not limited to, compliance with state and federal laws related to the receipt and expenditure of these funds.
(2) Every 2 years, the Auditor General shall conduct an operational audit, as defined in s. 11.45, of a local government entity’s funds related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to evaluate the local government entity’s performance in administering laws, policies, and procedures governing the expenditure of funds related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in an efficient and effective manner. The scope of review shall include, but is not limited to, evaluating internal controls, internal audit functions, reporting and performance requirements required for use of the funds, and compliance with state and federal law. The audit shall include any funds the local government entity receives or expends related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including any funds under s. 288.8017 or under 33 U.S.C. s. 1321(t).
(3) In addition to the rules of the Auditor General adopted under s. 11.45(8), the Auditor General shall adopt rules for the form and conduct of all financial audits performed by independent certified public accountants and for audits of local government entities conducted under this section for funds received under 33 U.S.C. s. 1321(t). Such rules shall take into account the rules for such audits set forth by the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to 33 U.S.C s. 1321(t).
(4) The Auditor General may report findings to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States in addition to the reporting requirements under state law.
History.s. 59, ch. 2013-39.
PART VII
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
288.816 Intergovernmental relations.
288.8165 Citizen support organizations.
288.8175 Linkage institutes between postsecondary institutions in this state and foreign countries.
288.826 Florida International Trade and Promotion Trust Fund.
288.851 Short title.
288.852 Legislative purpose.
288.853 International sanctions against Castro government.
288.854 Support for a free and independent Cuba.
288.855 Export or sale for export to foreign countries in violation of federal law prohibited.
288.860 International cultural agreements.
288.816 Intergovernmental relations.
(1) The state protocol officer shall be responsible for consular operations and the sister city and sister state program and shall serve as liaison with foreign, federal, and other state international organizations and with county and municipal governments in Florida.
(2) The state protocol officer shall be responsible for all consular relations between the state and all foreign governments doing business in Florida. The state protocol officer shall monitor United States laws and directives to ensure that all federal treaties regarding foreign privileges and immunities are properly observed. The state protocol officer shall:
(a) Establish a viable system of registration for foreign government officials residing or having jurisdiction in the state. Emphasis shall be placed on maintaining active communication between the state protocol officer and the United States Department of State in order to be currently informed regarding foreign governmental personnel stationed in, or with official responsibilities for, Florida. Active dialogue shall also be maintained with foreign countries which historically have had dealings with Florida in order to keep them informed of the proper procedure for registering with the state.
(b) Maintain and systematically update a current and accurate list of all such foreign governmental officials, consuls, or consulates.
(c) Verify entitlement to issuance of special motor vehicle license plates by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to honorary consuls or such other officials representing foreign governments who are not entitled to issuance of special Consul Corps license plates by the United States Government.
(d) Establish a system of communication to provide all state and local law enforcement agencies with information regarding proper procedures relating to the arrest or incarceration of a foreign citizen.
(e) Request the Department of Law Enforcement to provide transportation and protection services when necessary pursuant to s. 943.68.
(f) Coordinate, when necessary, special activities between foreign governments and Florida state and local governments. These may include Consular Corps Day, Consular Corps conferences, and various other social, cultural, or educational activities.
(g) Notify all newly arrived foreign governmental officials of the services offered by the state protocol officer.
(3) The state protocol officer may:
(a) Coordinate and carry out activities designed to encourage the state and its subdivisions to participate in sister city and sister state affiliations with foreign countries and their subdivisions. Such activities may include a State of Florida sister cities conference.
(b) Encourage cooperation with and disseminate information pertaining to the Sister Cities International Program and any other program whose object is to promote linkages with foreign countries and their subdivisions.
(c) Maximize any aid available from all levels of government, public and private agencies, and other entities to facilitate such activities.
(4) The state protocol officer shall serve as a contact for the state with the Florida Washington Office, the Florida Congressional Delegation, and United States Government agencies with respect to laws or policies which may affect the interests of the state in the area of international relations. All inquiries received regarding international economic trade development or reverse investment opportunities shall be referred to the department. In addition, the state protocol officer shall serve as liaison with other states with respect to international programs of interest to Florida. The state protocol officer shall also investigate and make suggestions regarding possible areas of joint action or regional cooperation with these states.
(5) The state protocol officer shall have the power and duty to encourage the relocation to Florida of consular offices and multilateral and international agencies and organizations.
(6) The department shall help to contribute an international perspective to the state’s development efforts.
History.s. 74, ch. 90-201; s. 16, ch. 91-5; s. 26, ch. 91-201; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 77, ch. 96-320; s. 26, ch. 97-278; s. 2, ch. 2001-200; s. 23, ch. 2002-21; s. 9, ch. 2004-242; s. 4, ch. 2011-66; s. 182, ch. 2011-142; s. 23, ch. 2013-18; s. 3, ch. 2020-93; s. 75, ch. 2023-173.
288.8165 Citizen support organizations.
(1) CITIZEN SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS.The Department of State may authorize the establishment of citizen support organizations to provide assistance, funding, and promotional support for the intergovernmental programs of the department. For the purposes of this section, “citizen support organization” means an organization which:
(a) Is a Florida corporation not for profit incorporated under chapter 617 and approved by the Department of State.
(b) Is organized and operated to conduct programs and activities; raise funds; request and receive grants, gifts, and bequests of money; acquire, receive, hold, invest, and administer, in its own name, securities, funds, or real or personal property; and make expenditures for the benefit of the intergovernmental programs of the department; except that such organization may not receive funds from the department by grant or gift unless specifically authorized by the Legislature. If the citizen support organization by contract provides fiscal and administrative services to the department for a grant or program that benefits the intergovernmental programs of the department, the organization may be reimbursed or compensated for such services by the department if the services are a direct benefit to the intergovernmental programs of the department.
(c) The department has determined to be consistent with the goals of the intergovernmental programs of the department and in the best interests of the state.
(d) Is approved in writing by the department to operate for the benefit of the intergovernmental programs of the department. Such approval must be stated in a letter of agreement from the Secretary of State.
(2) USE OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES AND PROPERTY.
(a) The department may permit a citizen support organization to use department property, facilities, and personnel free of charge. A citizen support organization may use department property, facilities, and personnel if such use is consistent with the approved purpose of that citizen support organization and if such use does not unreasonably interfere with the general public’s use of department property, facilities, and personnel for established purposes.
(b) The department may prescribe conditions upon the use by a citizen support organization of department property, facilities, or personnel.
(c) The department may not permit the use of any property, facilities, or personnel of the state by a citizen support organization that does not provide equal membership and employment opportunities to all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or age.
(3) ANNUAL AUDIT.Each citizen support organization shall provide for an annual financial audit in accordance with s. 215.981.
(4) FUTURE REPEAL.This section is repealed October 1, 2025, unless reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature.
History.s. 4, ch. 2020-93.
288.8175 Linkage institutes between postsecondary institutions in this state and foreign countries.
(1) There are created Florida linkage institutes. A primary purpose of these institutes is to assist in the development of stronger economic, cultural, educational, and social ties between this state and strategic foreign countries through the promotion of expanded public and private dialogue on cooperative research and technical assistance activities, increased bilateral commerce, student and faculty exchange, cultural exchange, and the enhancement of language training skills between the postsecondary institutions in this state and those of selected foreign countries. Each institute must ensure that minority students are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in the exchange programs.
(2) Each institute must be governed by an agreement between the Board of Governors of the State University System for a state university and the State Board of Education for a community college with the counterpart organization in a foreign country. Each institute must report to the Department of Education regarding its program activities, expenditures, and policies.
(3) Each institute must be co-administered in this state by a university-community college partnership, as designated in subsection (5), and must have a private sector and public sector advisory committee. The advisory committee must be representative of the international education and commercial interests of the state and may have members who are native to the foreign country partner. Six members must be appointed by the Department of Education. The Department of Education must appoint at least one member who is an international educator. The presidents, or their designees, of the participating university and community college must also serve on the advisory committee.
(4) The institutes are:
(a) Florida-Brazil Institute (University of Florida and Miami Dade College).
(b) Florida-Costa Rica Institute (Florida State University and Valencia College).
(c) Florida Caribbean Institute (Florida International University and Daytona State College).
(d) Florida-Canada Institute (University of Central Florida and Palm Beach State College).
(e) Florida-China Institute (University of West Florida, University of South Florida, and Eastern Florida State College).
(f) Florida-Japan Institute (University of South Florida, University of West Florida, and St. Petersburg College).
(g) Florida-France Institute (New College of the University of South Florida, Miami Dade College, and Florida State University).
(h) Florida-Israel Institute (Florida Atlantic University and Broward College).
(i) Florida-West Africa Institute (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, University of North Florida, and Florida State College at Jacksonville).
(j) Florida-Eastern Europe Institute (University of Central Florida and Lake-Sumter State College).
(k) Florida-Mexico Institute (Florida International University and Polk State College).
(5) Each institute is allowed to exempt from s. 1009.21 up to 25 full-time equivalent students per year from the respective host countries to study in any of the state universities or community colleges in this state as resident students for tuition purposes. The institute directors shall develop criteria, to be approved by the Department of Education, for the selection of these students. Students must return home within 3 years after their tenure of graduate or undergraduate study for a length of time equal to their exemption period.
(6) Each state university and community college linkage institute partner may enter into an agreement for a student exchange program, that requires that the tuition and fees of a student who is enrolled in a state university or community college and who is participating in an exchange program be paid to the university or community college while the student is participating in the exchange program. The agreement may also require that the tuition and fees of a student who is enrolled in a postsecondary institution in a foreign country and who is participating in an exchange program be paid to the foreign institution of enrollment.
(7) A linkage institute may not be created or funded except upon the recommendation of the Department of Education and except by amendment to this section.
History.s. 23, ch. 87-329; s. 1, ch. 88-162; s. 78, ch. 90-201; s. 34, ch. 90-302; s. 21, ch. 91-5; s. 26, ch. 91-201; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 66, ch. 93-187; s. 78, ch. 96-320; s. 27, ch. 97-278; s. 36, ch. 2000-258; s. 947, ch. 2002-387; s. 10, ch. 2004-242; s. 41, ch. 2007-217; s. 57, ch. 2008-4; s. 26, ch. 2009-21; s. 9, ch. 2009-228; s. 1, ch. 2010-23; s. 69, ch. 2010-102; s. 2, ch. 2011-102; s. 184, ch. 2011-142; s. 1, ch. 2013-24; s. 1, ch. 2013-45.
Note.Former s. 240.137.
288.826 Florida International Trade and Promotion Trust Fund.There is hereby established in the State Treasury the Florida International Trade and Promotion Trust Fund. The moneys deposited into this trust fund shall be administered by the department for the operation of the direct-support organization created pursuant to s. 288.012 and for the operation of Florida international offices under s. 288.012.
History.s. 91, ch. 90-132; s. 114, ch. 90-201; s. 55, ch. 91-5; s. 26, ch. 91-201; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 16, ch. 92-299; s. 13, ch. 95-430; s. 79, ch. 96-320; s. 185, ch. 2011-142; s. 76, ch. 2023-173.
288.851 Short title.This act may be cited as the “Cuban Freedom Act.”
History.s. 1, ch. 96-188.
288.852 Legislative purpose.It is the purpose of this act to assist in strengthening international sanctions against the government of Fidel Castro and his regime in the Republic of Cuba, encouraging the holding of free and fair elections, providing a policy framework for the United States and Florida to support a transition government and a democratically elected government in Cuba, and protecting the rights of Floridians who own claims to confiscated property abroad.
History.s. 2, ch. 96-188.
288.853 International sanctions against Castro government.
(1) The Legislature hereby finds that:
(a) The acts of Fidel Castro and his government, including human rights violations, are a threat to international peace and to the peace of the State of Florida.
(b) The President should instruct the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations to seek, in the Security Council, an international embargo against the Castro dictatorship, similar to consultations conducted with respect to Haiti.
(c) There should be a detrimental impact on United States assistance to any independent state of the former Soviet Union which resumes efforts to make operational the nuclear facility at Cienfuegos, Cuba.
(2) The Legislature hereby supports and reaffirms s. 1704(a) of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, which states that the President should encourage foreign countries to restrict trade and credit relations with Cuba, and urges the President to take immediate steps to apply sanctions described in s. 1704(b)(1) of such act against countries assisting Cuba.
(3) To the extent allowed by federal law, no loan, credit, or other financing may be extended knowingly by a citizen or legal resident of Florida, a state agency, or a financial institution located or doing business in Florida to any person for the purpose of financing transactions involving any confiscated property, as defined by s. 4 of the federal Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996, the claim to which is owned by a citizen or legal resident of Florida as of July 1, 1996, except for financing by the citizen or legal resident of Florida owning such claim for a transaction permitted under state and federal law. Any person who violates this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084 so long as the imposition of the state penalty does not in any way interfere with full federal prosecution and penalties.
(4) The Legislature hereby requests:
(a) Congress and the President to withhold payment to any international financial institution that approves a loan or other assistance to Cuba in an amount equal to the amount of the loan or assistance provided to Cuba.
(b) The President to instruct the United States Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States to oppose the readmission of Cuba to the Organization of American States until a democratically elected government exists in Cuba.
(c) Upon the termination of Fidel Castro’s government in Cuba to take steps during the period that a transition government is in power in Cuba to support the processing of Cuba’s application for membership in any international financial institution, to take effect after a democratically elected government is in power in Cuba.
(5)(a) It is illegal for any person, firm, or corporation to import into Florida any sugars, syrups, or molasses that are the product of a country that the President determines has imported sugar, syrup, or molasses from Cuba. The intent of this section is to prevent indirect subsidization of the Cuban sugar industry through countries that buy Cuban sugar for domestic consumption and sell their own sugar to the United States at inflated prices under the sugar quota allotment program. Any person who violates this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084 so long as the imposition of the state penalty does not in any way interfere with full federal prosecution and penalties.
(b) The requirements of paragraph (a) shall not apply if the country described in paragraph (a) certifies to the President that the country will not import sugar, syrup, or molasses that is the product of Cuba until free and fair elections are held in Cuba.
History.s. 3, ch. 96-188; s. 70, ch. 99-13; s. 70, ch. 2010-102.
288.854 Support for a free and independent Cuba.
(1) It is the policy of Florida to:
(a) Support the self-determination of the Cuban people.
(b) Facilitate a peaceful transition to representative democracy and a free market economy in Cuba.
(c) Be impartial toward any individual or entity in the selection by the Cuban people of their future government.
(2) Once the President has determined that a democratically elected government exists in Cuba, the Legislature of Florida supports the United States policy to:
(a) Restore diplomatic recognition and support the reintegration of Cuba into entities of the Inter-American System.
(b) Remove the economic embargo.
(c) Pursue a mutually beneficial trading relationship.
(3) Florida’s participation in the economic embargo on Cuba shall be terminated by Florida upon transmittal to Congress of a presidential determination that a democratically elected government is in power in Cuba.
(4) For the purposes of this act, the term:
(a) A “transition government in Cuba” means one which:
1. Is demonstrably in transition from communist totalitarian dictatorship to democracy.
2. Has released all political prisoners.
3. Has dissolved the present Department of State Security in the Cuban Ministry of the Interior.
4. Also “makes public commitments” to:
a. Establishing an independent judiciary.
b. Respecting internationally recognized human rights and basic freedoms.
c. Guaranteeing the rights of free speech and freedom of the press.
d. Permitting the reinstatement of citizenship to Cuban-born nationals returning to Cuba.
e. Organizing free and fair elections for a new government.
f. Assuring the right to private property.
g. Taking appropriate steps either to return to United States citizens property taken by the government of Cuba on or after January 1, 1959, or to provide equitable compensation to United States citizens for such property.
h. Having a currency that is fully convertible domestically and internationally.
i. Granting permits to privately owned telecommunications and media companies to operate in Cuba.
j. Allowing the establishment of an independent labor movement and of independent social, economic, and political associations.
5. Does not include Fidel Castro or Raul Castro.
6. Has given adequate assurances that it will allow the speedy and efficient distribution of assistance to the Cuban people.
7. Permits the deployment throughout Cuba of independent and unfettered international human rights monitors.
(b) A “democratic government in Cuba” means one which:
1. Is the product of free and fair elections in which opposition parties had sufficient time to organize and were permitted full access to media.
2. Is showing respect for basic civil liberties and human rights.
3. Has established an independent judiciary.
4. Is moving toward a market-oriented economic system based on the right to own and enjoy property.
5. Is committed to making constitutional changes that would ensure regular free and fair elections.
6. Has returned to United States citizens, and entities which are 50 percent or more beneficially owned by United States citizens, property taken by the government of Cuba from such citizens and entities on or after January 1, 1959, or provides full compensation in accordance with international law standards.
History.s. 4, ch. 96-188.
288.855 Export or sale for export to foreign countries in violation of federal law prohibited.No person, corporation, company, or other entity shall export or make a sale intended for export to a foreign country of any goods, products, or services in violation of any federal law. Except as prohibited by the preceding sentence, no person, corporation, company, or other entity, by contract or otherwise, shall prohibit, restrict, or restrain the exportation or a sale intended for exportation from the state to a foreign country of any goods, products, or services.
History.s. 5, ch. 96-188.
288.860 International cultural agreements.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Foreign country of concern” means the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Cuba, the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro, or the Syrian Arab Republic, including any agency of or any other entity under significant control of such foreign country of concern.
(b) “Foreign principal” means:
1. The government or an official of the government of a foreign country of concern;
2. A political party or a member of a political party in a foreign country of concern. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “political party” means an organization or a combination of individuals whose aim or purpose is, or who are engaged in any activity devoted in whole or in part to, the establishment, administration, control, or acquisition of administration or control of a government of a foreign country of concern or a subdivision thereof, or the furtherance or influencing of the political or public interest, policies, or relations of a government of a foreign country of concern or a subdivision thereof;
3. A partnership, an association, a corporation, an organization, or other combination of persons organized under the laws of or having its principal place of business in a foreign country of concern, or a subsidiary thereof; or
4. Any person who is domiciled in a foreign country of concern and is not a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.
(c) “Partnership” means a faculty or student exchange program, a study abroad program, an articulation program, a recruiting program, or a dual degree program.
(d) “Political subdivision” has the same meaning as in s. 1.01(8) and includes any entity under the control of or established for the benefit of the political subdivision.
(e) “Public school” means any education institution under the supervision of a school district and any entity under the control of or established for the benefit of a public school or school district.
(f) “State agency” means any agency or unit of state government created or established by law and any entity under the control of or established for the benefit of a state agency.
(g) “State college” means any postsecondary education institution under the supervision of the State Board of Education, including any entity under the control of or established for the benefit of a state college.
(h) “State university” means any state university under the supervision of the Board of Governors, including any entity under the control of or established for the benefit of a state university.
(2) A state agency, political subdivision, or public school authorized to expend state-appropriated funds or levy ad valorem taxes may not participate in any agreement with or accept any grant from a foreign country of concern, or any entity controlled by a foreign country of concern, which:
(a) Constrains the freedom of contract of such public entity;
(b) Allows the curriculum or values of a program in the state to be directed or controlled by the foreign country of concern; or
(c) Promotes an agenda detrimental to the safety or security of the United States or its residents. Before the execution of any cultural exchange agreement with a foreign country of concern, the substance of the agreement must be shared with federal agencies concerned with protecting national security or enforcing trade sanctions, embargoes, or other restrictions under federal law. If such federal agency provides information suggesting that such agreement promotes an agenda detrimental to the safety or security of the United States or its residents, the public entity may not enter into the agreement.
(3)(a) For the purposes of this subsection only, the term “agreement” means a written statement of mutual interest in academic or research collaboration.
(b) Beginning July 1, 2023, a state university or state college authorized to expend state-appropriated funds may not accept any grant from or participate in any agreement with any college or university based in a foreign country of concern, or with any foreign principal, except as specified in paragraphs (d) and (e).
(c) Beginning December 1, 2023, a state university or state college authorized to expend state-appropriated funds may not accept any grant from or participate in any partnership with any college or university based in a foreign country of concern, or with any foreign principal, except as specified in paragraphs (d) and (e).
(d) A state university may, upon approval by the Board of Governors, enter into a partnership or an agreement with a college or university based in a foreign country of concern, or with a foreign principal, if such partnership or agreement is deemed by the board to be valuable to students and the state university and is not detrimental to the safety or security of the United States or its residents. A partnership or an agreement approved under this paragraph must meet the other relevant requirements of this section.
1. The board shall exercise the authority provided pursuant to s. 1008.322 to sanction a state university pursuant to subparagraph 2. which, without approval of the board, enters into a partnership or an agreement with a college or university based in a foreign country of concern, or with a foreign principal.
2. The board may withhold additional performance funding from a state university that, without approval from the board, enters into a partnership or an agreement with a college or university based in a foreign country of concern, or with a foreign principal. The funds must be deposited into the General Revenue Fund.
(e) A state college may, upon approval by the State Board of Education, enter into a partnership or an agreement with a college or university based in a foreign country of concern, or with a foreign principal, if such partnership or agreement is deemed by the state board to be valuable to students and the state college and is not detrimental to the safety or security of the United States or its residents. A partnership or an agreement approved under this paragraph must meet the requirements of this section.
1. Beginning July 1, 2023, the state board shall exercise the authority provided pursuant to s. 1008.32 to sanction a state college pursuant to subparagraph 2. which, without approval from the state board, enters into a partnership or an agreement with a college or university based in a foreign country of concern, or with a foreign principal.
2. The state board may withhold additional performance funding from a state college that, without approval from the state board, enters into a partnership or an agreement with a college or university based in a foreign country of concern, or with a foreign principal. The funds must be deposited into the General Revenue Fund. The state board may administratively enforce this section.
(f) By December 1, 2024, and each December 1 thereafter, the Board of Governors and the Department of Education, respectively, shall submit a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives relating to partnerships and agreements of state universities and state colleges, respectively, with colleges and universities based in a foreign country of concern and with foreign principals. At a minimum, the report must include the following information for the previous fiscal year:
1. Data reflecting any grant program, agreement, partnership, or contract between a state university or state college and any college or university based in a foreign country of concern, or with a foreign principal.
2. Data reflecting any office, campus, or physical location used or maintained by a state university or state college in a foreign country of concern, or with a foreign principal.
3. The date on which any such grant program, agreement, partnership, or contract reported pursuant to subparagraph 1. is expected to terminate.
(g) The Board of Governors and the State Board of Education shall adopt regulations and rules, respectively, to administer this subsection.
(4) A state agency, political subdivision, public school, state college, or state university may not accept anything of value conditioned upon participation in a program or other endeavor to promote the language or culture of a foreign country of concern.
(5) For the 2022-2023 fiscal year, notwithstanding subsection (2), a state agency, political subdivision, public school, state college, or state university may not enter into any agreement with or accept any grant from the Russian Federation. This subsection expires July 1, 2023.
History.s. 2, ch. 2021-76; s. 96, ch. 2022-157; s. 1, ch. 2023-34.
PART VIII
CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT
288.9602 Findings and declarations of necessity.
288.9603 Definitions.
288.9604 Creation of the corporation.
288.9605 Corporation powers.
288.9606 Issue of revenue bonds.
288.9607 Guaranty of bond issues.
288.9608 Creation and funding of the Energy, Technology, and Economic Development Guaranty Fund.
288.9609 Bonds as legal investments.
288.9610 Annual reports of Florida Development Finance Corporation.
288.9614 Authorized programs.
288.9619 Conflicts of interest.
288.9602 Findings and declarations of necessity.The Legislature finds and declares that:
(1) There is a need to enhance economic activity in the state by attracting manufacturing, development, redevelopment of brownfield areas, business enterprise management, and other activities conducive to economic promotion in order to provide a stronger, more balanced, and stable economy in the state.
(2) A significant portion of businesses located in the state or desiring to locate in the state encounter difficulty in obtaining financing on terms competitive with those available to businesses located in other states and nations or are unable to obtain such financing at all.
(3) The difficulty in obtaining such financing impairs the expansion of economic activity and the creation of jobs and income in communities throughout the state.
(4) The businesses most often affected by these financing difficulties are small businesses critical to the economic development of the state.
(5) The economic well-being of the people in, and the commercial and industrial resources of, the state would be enhanced by the provision of financing to businesses on terms competitive with those available in the most developed financial markets worldwide.
(6) In order to improve the prosperity and welfare of this state and its inhabitants, to improve and promote the financing of projects related to the economic development of this state, including redevelopment of brownfield areas, and to increase the purchasing power and opportunities for gainful employment of citizens of this state, it is necessary and in the public interest to facilitate the financing of such projects as provided for in this act and to do so without regard to the boundaries between counties, municipalities, special districts, and other local governmental bodies or agencies in order to more effectively and efficiently serve the interests of the greatest number of people in the widest area practicable.
(7) In order to promote and stimulate development and advance the business prosperity and economic welfare of this state and its inhabitants; to encourage and assist new business and industry in this state through loans, investments, or other business transactions; to rehabilitate and assist existing businesses; to stimulate and assist in the expansion of all kinds of for-profit and not-for-profit business activity; and to create maximum opportunities for employment, encouragement of thrift, and improvement of the standard of living of the citizens of Florida, it is necessary and in the public interest to facilitate the cooperation and action between organizations, public and private, in the promotion, development, and conduct of all kinds of for-profit and not-for-profit business activity in the state.
(8) In order to efficiently and effectively achieve the purposes of this act, it is necessary and in the public interest to create a special development finance authority to cooperate and act in conjunction with public agencies of this state and local governments of this state, through interlocal agreements pursuant to the Florida Interlocal Cooperation Act of 1969, in the promotion and advancement of projects related to economic development, including redevelopment of brownfield areas, throughout the state.
(9) The purposes to be achieved by the special development finance authority through such projects and such financings of business and industry in compliance with the criteria and the requirements of this act are predominantly the public purposes stated in this section, and such purposes implement the governmental purposes under the State Constitution of providing for the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the state.
History.ss. 26, 62, ch. 93-187; s. 1, ch. 93-402; s. 11, ch. 98-75; s. 2, ch. 2010-139.
288.9603 Definitions.
(1) “Act” means the Florida Development Finance Corporation Act of 1993, and all acts supplemental thereto and amendatory thereof.
(2) “Amortization payments” means periodic payments, such as monthly, semiannually, or annually, of interest on premiums, if any, and installments of principal of revenue bonds as required by an indenture of the corporation.
(3) “Applicant” means the individual, firm, or corporation, whether for profit or nonprofit, charged with developing the project under the terms of the indenture of the corporation.
(4) “Cash equivalents” shall include letters of credit issued by investment grade rated financial institutions or their subsidiaries; direct obligations of the government of the United States of America, or any agency thereof, or obligations unconditionally guaranteed by the United States of America; certificates of deposit issued by investment grade rated financial institutions or their subsidiaries; and investments in commercial paper which, at the time of acquisition by the corporation is accorded the highest rating by Standard & Poor’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Services, Inc., or any other nationally recognized credit rating agency of similar standing, provided that in each such case such investments shall be convertible to cash as may be reasonably necessary for application of such moneys as and when the same are to be applied in accordance with the provisions of this act.
(5) “Corporation” means the Florida Development Finance Corporation.
(6) “Debt service” shall mean for any bonds issued by the corporation or for any bonds or other form of indebtedness for which a guaranty has been issued pursuant to ss. 288.9606, 288.9607, and 288.9608, for any period for which such determination is to be made, the aggregate amount of all interest charges due or which shall become due on or with respect to such bonds or indebtedness during the period for which such determination is being made, plus the aggregate amount of scheduled principal payments due or which shall become due on or with respect to such bonds or indebtedness during the period for which such determination is being made. Scheduled principal payments may include only principal payments that are scheduled as part of the terms of the original bond or indebtedness issue and that result in the reduction of the outstanding principal balance of the bonds or indebtedness.
(7) “Economic development specialist” means a resident of the state who is professionally employed in the discipline of economic development or industrial development.
(8) “Financial institution” means any banking corporation or trust company, savings and loan association, insurance company or related corporation, partnership, foundation, or other institution engaged primarily in lending or investing funds in this state.
(9) “Maximum debt service” shall mean, for any period of 6 months or 1 year, as the case may be, during the life of any bonds issued by the corporation and for which a guaranty has been issued pursuant to ss. 288.9606, 288.9607, and 288.9608 and for which such determination is being made, the maximum amount of the debt service which is due or will become due during such period of time on or with respect to such bonds. For the purposes of calculating the amount of the maximum debt service with respect to any bonds which bear interest at a variable rate, the corporation shall utilize a fixed rate which it in its reasonable discretion determines to be appropriate.
(10) “Partnership” means the department.
(11) “Guaranty agreement” means an agreement by and between the corporation and an applicant pursuant to the provisions of s. 288.9607.
(12) “Guaranty agreement fund” means the Energy, Technology, and Economic Development Guaranty Fund established by the corporation pursuant to s. 288.9608.
(13) “Interlocal agreement” means an agreement by and between the Florida Development Finance Corporation and a public agency of this state, pursuant to the provisions of s. 163.01.
(14) “Public agency” means a political subdivision, agency, or officer of this state or of any state of the United States, including, but not limited to, state, government, county, city, school district, single and multipurpose special district, single and multipurpose public authority, metropolitan or consolidated government, an independently elected county officer, any agency of the United States Government, and any similar entity of any other state of the United States.
History.ss. 27, 62, ch. 93-187; s. 1, ch. 93-402; s. 100, ch. 96-320; s. 40, ch. 99-251; s. 3, ch. 2010-139; s. 92, ch. 2023-173.
288.9604 Creation of the corporation.
(1) There is created a public body corporate and politic known as the “Florida Development Finance Corporation.” The corporation shall be constituted as a public instrumentality, and the exercise by the corporation of the powers conferred by this act shall be deemed and held to be the performance of an essential public function. The corporation has the power to function within the corporate limits of any public agency with which it has entered into an interlocal agreement for any of the purposes of this act.
(2) The board of directors of the corporation shall consist of seven directors. The Secretary of Economic Opportunity, or his or her designee, shall serve as chair of the board of directors of the corporation. The director of the Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration, or his or her designee, shall serve as a director on the board of directors of the corporation. The Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate, shall appoint the remaining five directors of the board of directors of the corporation. The terms of office for the appointed directors are for 4 years after the date of their appointment. A vacancy occurring during a term of an appointed director shall be filled for the unexpired term. An appointed director is eligible for reappointment. At least three of the appointed directors of the corporation must have experience in finance, and one of the directors must have experience in economic development.
(3)(a)1. A director may not receive compensation for his or her services, but is entitled to necessary expenses, including travel expenses, incurred in the discharge of his or her duties. Each appointed director shall hold office until his or her successor has been appointed.
2. Directors are subject to ss. 112.313(1)-(8), (10), (12), and (15); 112.3135; and 112.3143(2). For purposes of applying ss. 112.313(1)-(8), (10), (12), and (15); 112.3135; and 112.3143(2) to activities of directors, directors are considered public officers and the corporation is considered their agency.
(b) The powers of the corporation shall be exercised by the directors thereof. A majority of the directors constitutes a quorum for the purposes of conducting business and exercising the powers of the corporation and for all other purposes. Meetings of the directors may be conducted by teleconference. Action may be taken by the corporation upon a vote of a majority of the directors present, unless in any case the bylaws require a larger number. Any person may be appointed as director if he or she resides, or is engaged in business, which means owning a business, practicing a profession, or performing a service for compensation or serving as an officer or director of a corporation or other business entity so engaged, within the state.
(c) The directors of the corporation shall annually elect, by a majority vote, one of their members as vice chair. The corporation may employ a president, technical experts, and such other agents and employees, permanent and temporary, as it requires and determine their qualifications, duties, and compensation. For such legal services as it requires, the corporation may employ or retain its own counsel and legal staff.
(4) The board may remove an appointed director for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or misconduct in office. Such director may be removed only after a hearing and only if he or she has been given a copy of the charges at least 10 days before such hearing and has had an opportunity to be heard in person or by counsel. The removal of an appointed director creates a vacancy on the board which must be filled pursuant to subsection (2).
History.ss. 28, 62, ch. 93-187; s. 1, ch. 93-402; s. 11, ch. 94-136; s. 882, ch. 95-148; s. 101, ch. 96-320; s. 43, ch. 97-100; s. 41, ch. 99-251; s. 38, ch. 2002-1; s. 73, ch. 2010-102; s. 4, ch. 2010-139; s. 15, ch. 2011-4; s. 188, ch. 2011-142; s. 10, ch. 2014-183; s. 4, ch. 2020-30; s. 29, ch. 2021-25; s. 93, ch. 2023-173.
288.9605 Corporation powers.
(1) The powers of the corporation created by s. 288.9604 shall include all the powers necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this act.
(2) The corporation is authorized and empowered to:
(a) Have perpetual succession as a body politic and corporate and adopt bylaws for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business.
(b) Adopt an official seal and alter the same at its pleasure.
(c) Maintain an office at such place or places as it may designate.
(d) Sue and be sued in its own name and plead and be impleaded.
(e) Enter into interlocal agreements pursuant to s. 163.01(7) with public agencies of this state for the exercise of any power, privilege, or authority consistent with the purposes of this act.
(f) Issue, from time to time, revenue bonds, notes, or other evidence of indebtedness, including, but not limited to, taxable bonds and bonds the interest on which is exempt from federal income taxation, for the purpose of financing and refinancing any capital projects that promote economic development within the state, thereby benefiting the citizens of the state, and exercise all powers in connection with the authorization, issuance, and sale of bonds, subject to the provisions of s. 288.9606.
(g) Issue bond anticipation notes in connection with the authorization, issuance, and sale of such bonds, pursuant to the provisions of s. 288.9606.
(h) Make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers under the act.
(i) Disseminate information about itself and its activities.
(j) Acquire, by purchase, lease, option, gift, grant, bequest, devise, or otherwise, real property, together with any improvements thereon, or personal property for its administrative purposes or in furtherance of the purposes of this act.
(k) Hold, improve, clear, or prepare for development any such property.
(l) Mortgage, pledge, hypothecate, or otherwise encumber or dispose of any real or personal property.
(m) Insure or provide for insurance of any real or personal property or operations of the corporation or any private enterprise against any risks or hazards, including the power to pay premiums on any such insurance.
(n) Establish and fund a guaranty fund in furtherance of the purposes of this act.
(o) Invest funds held in reserve or sinking funds or any such funds not required for immediate disbursement in property or securities in such manner as the board shall determine, subject to the authorizing resolution on any bonds issued, and to terms established in the investment agreement pursuant to ss. 288.9606, 288.9607, and 288.9608, and redeem such bonds as have been issued pursuant to s. 288.9606 at the redemption price established therein or purchase such bonds at less than redemption price, all such bonds so redeemed or purchased to be canceled.
(p) Borrow money and apply for and accept advances, loans, grants, contributions, and any other form of financial assistance from the Federal Government or the state, county, or other public agency or from any sources, public or private, for the purposes of this act and give such security as may be required and enter into and carry out contracts or agreements in connection therewith; and include in any contract for financial assistance with the Federal Government or the state, county, or other public agency for, or with respect to, any purposes under this act and related activities such conditions imposed pursuant to federal laws as the county or municipality or other public agency deems reasonable and appropriate which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this act.
(q) Make or have all surveys and plans necessary for the carrying out of the purposes of this act, contract with any person, public or private, in making and carrying out such plans, and adopt, approve, modify, and amend such plans.
(r) Develop, test, and report methods and techniques and carry out demonstrations and other activities for the promotion of any of the purposes of this act.
(s) Apply for, accept, and utilize grants from the Federal Government or the state, county, or other public agency available for any of the purposes of this act.
(t) Make expenditures necessary to carry out the purposes of this act.
(u) Exercise all or any part or combination of powers granted in this act.
(v) Enter into investment agreements with the department concerning the issuance of bonds and other forms of indebtedness and capital.
(w) Determine the situations and circumstances for participation in partnerships by agreement with local governments, financial institutions, and others associated with the redevelopment of brownfield areas pursuant to the Brownfields Redevelopment Act for a limited state guaranty of revenue bonds, loan guarantees, or loan loss reserves.
(3) Documents, agreements, and instruments executed by the corporation may be executed and delivered in accordance with the Electronic Signature Act of 1996.
History.ss. 29, 62, ch. 93-187; s. 1, ch. 93-402; s. 12, ch. 94-136; s. 12, ch. 98-75; s. 73, ch. 99-13; s. 5, ch. 2010-139; s. 189, ch. 2011-142; s. 6, ch. 2020-30; s. 94, ch. 2023-173.
288.9606 Issue of revenue bonds.
(1) When authorized by a public agency pursuant to s. 163.01(7), the corporation has power in its corporate capacity, in its discretion, to issue revenue bonds or other evidences of indebtedness which a public agency has the power to issue, from time to time to finance the undertaking of any purpose of this act, including, without limiting the generality thereof, the payment of principal and interest upon any advances for surveys and plans or preliminary loans, and has the power to issue refunding bonds for the payment or retirement of bonds previously issued. Bonds issued under this section shall bear the name “Florida Development Finance Corporation Revenue Bonds.” The security for such bonds may be based upon such revenues as are legally available. In anticipation of the sale of such revenue bonds, the corporation may issue bond anticipation notes and may renew such notes from time to time, but the maximum maturity of any such note, including renewals thereof, may not exceed 5 years after the date of issuance of the original note. Such notes shall be paid from any revenues of the corporation available therefor and not otherwise pledged or from the proceeds of sale of the revenue bonds in anticipation of which they were issued. Any bond, note, or other form of indebtedness issued under this act may not exceed 35 years from its respective date of issuance.
(2) Bonds issued under this section do not constitute an indebtedness within the meaning of any constitutional or statutory debt limitation or restriction, and are not subject to the provisions of any other law or charter relating to the authorization, issuance, or sale of bonds. Bonds issued under this act are declared to be for an essential public and governmental purpose. Bonds issued under this act, together with interest thereon and income therefrom, are exempted from all taxes, except those taxes imposed by chapter 220, on interest, income, or profits on debt obligations owned by corporations. Bonds issued under this act are not a debt, liability, or obligation of the state or any subdivision thereof, or a pledge of faith and credit of the corporation or of the state or of any such political subdivision thereof, but are payable solely from the revenues provided therefor. Each bond issued under this part shall contain on the face thereof a statement to the effect that the corporation is not obligated to pay the same or interest thereon from the revenues and proceeds pledged therefor, and that the faith and credit or the taxing power of the corporation or of the state or of any political subdivision thereof is not pledged to the payment of the principal of or the interest on such bonds.
(3) Bonds issued under this section shall be authorized by a public agency of this state pursuant to the terms of an interlocal agreement, unless such bonds are issued pursuant to subsection (7); may be issued in one or more series; and shall bear such date or dates, be payable upon demand or mature at such time or times, bear interest rate or rates, be in such denomination or denominations, be in such form either with or without coupon or registered, carry such conversion or registration privileges, have such rank or priority, be executed in such manner, be payable in such medium of payments at such place or places, be subject to such terms of redemption, with or without premium, be secured in such manner, and have such other characteristics as may be provided by the corporation. Bonds issued under this section may be sold in such manner, either at public or private sale, and for such price as the corporation may determine will effectuate the purpose of this act.
(4) In case a director whose signature appears on any bonds or coupons issued under this act ceases to be a director before the delivery of such bonds, such signature is, nevertheless, valid and sufficient for all purposes, the same as if such director had remained in office until such delivery.
(5) In any suit, action, or proceeding involving the validity or enforceability of any bond issued under this act, or the security therefor, any such bond reciting in substance that it has been issued by the corporation in connection with any purpose of the act shall be conclusively deemed to have been issued for such purpose, and such purpose shall be conclusively deemed to have been carried out in accordance with the act. The complaint in any action to validate such bonds shall be filed only in the Circuit Court for Leon County. The notice required to be published by s. 75.06 shall be published only in Leon County, and the complaint and order of the circuit court shall be served only on the State Attorney of the Second Judicial Circuit and on the state attorney of each circuit in each county where the public agencies which were initially a party to the interlocal agreement are located. Notice of such proceedings shall be published in the manner and the time required by s. 75.06, in Leon County and in each county where the public agencies which were initially a party to the interlocal agreement are located. Obligations of the corporation pursuant to a loan agreement as described in this subsection may be validated as provided in chapter 75. The validation of at least the first bonds approved by the corporation shall be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.
(6) The proceeds of any bonds of the corporation may not be used, in any manner, to acquire any building or facility that will be, during the pendency of the financing, used by, occupied by, leased to, or paid for by any state, county, or municipal agency or entity. This subsection does not prohibit the use of proceeds of bonds of the corporation for the purpose of financing the acquisition or construction of a transportation facility under a public-private partnership agreement authorized by s. 334.30.
(7) Notwithstanding any provision of this section, the corporation in its corporate capacity may, without authorization from a public agency under s. 163.01(7), issue revenue bonds or other evidence of indebtedness under this section to:
(a) Finance the undertaking of any project within the state that promotes renewable energy as defined in s. 366.91 or s. 377.803;
(b) Finance the undertaking of any project within the state that is a project contemplated or allowed under s. 406 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; or
(c) If permitted by federal law, finance qualifying improvement projects within the state under s. 163.08.
(d) Finance the costs of acquisition or construction of a transportation facility by a private entity or consortium of private entities under a public-private partnership agreement authorized by s. 334.30.
History.ss. 30, 62, ch. 93-187; s. 1, ch. 93-402; s. 13, ch. 94-136; s. 102, ch. 96-320; s. 6, ch. 2010-139; s. 190, ch. 2011-142; s. 7, ch. 2020-30; s. 6, ch. 2021-178; s. 3, ch. 2023-70.
288.9607 Guaranty of bond issues.
(1) The corporation may approve or deny, by a majority vote of the membership of the directors, a guaranty of debt service payments for bonds or other indebtedness used to finance any capital project that promotes economic development in the state, including, but not limited to, those capital projects for which revenue bonds are issued under this act, if any such guaranty does not exceed 5 percent of the total aggregate principal amount of bonds or other indebtedness relating to any one capital project. The corporation may also use moneys deposited into the Energy, Technology, and Economic Development Guaranty Fund to satisfy requirements to obtain federal loan guarantees for capital projects authorized pursuant to this section.
(2) Any applicant requesting a guaranty of the corporation under this act must submit a guaranty application, in a form acceptable to the corporation, together with supporting documentation to the corporation as provided in this section.
(3) All applicants which have entered into a guaranty agreement with the corporation shall pay a guaranty premium on such terms and at such rates as the corporation shall determine before the issuance of the guaranty. The corporation may adopt such guaranty premium structures as it deems appropriate, including, without limitation, guaranty premiums which are payable one time upon the issuance of the guaranty or annual premiums payable upon the outstanding principal balance of bonds or other indebtedness that is guaranteed from time to time. The premium payment may be collected by the corporation from any lessee of the project involved, from the applicant, or from any other payee of any loan agreement involved.
(4) All applications for a guaranty must acknowledge that as a condition to the issuance of the guaranty, the corporation may require that the financing must be secured by a mortgage or security interest on the property acquired which will have such priority over other liens on such property as may be required by the corporation, and that the financing must be guaranteed by such person or persons with such ownership interest in the applicant as may be required by the corporation.
(5) Personal financial records, trade secrets, or proprietary information of applicants delivered to or obtained by the corporation shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1).
(6) If the application for a guaranty is approved by the corporation, the corporation and the applicant shall enter into a guaranty agreement. In accordance with the provisions of the guaranty agreement, the corporation guarantees to use the funds on deposit in its Energy, Technology, and Economic Development Guaranty Fund to meet debt service payments on the bonds or indebtedness as they become due, in the event and to the extent that the applicant is unable to meet such payments, or to make similar payments to reimburse any person which has provided credit enhancement for the bonds and which has advanced funds to meet such debt service payments as they become due, if such guaranty of the corporation is limited to 5 percent of the total aggregate principal amount of bonds or other indebtedness relating to any one capital project. The corporation may also use moneys deposited in the Energy, Technology, and Economic Development Guaranty Fund to satisfy requirements to obtain federal loan guarantees for capital projects authorized under this section. If the applicant defaults on debt service payments, the corporation may use funds on deposit in the Energy, Technology, and Economic Development Guaranty Fund to pay insurance, maintenance, and other costs which may be required for the preservation of any capital project or other collateral security for any bond or indebtedness issued to finance a capital project for which debt service payments are guaranteed by the corporation in such manner as may be deemed necessary and advisable by the corporation.
(7) The guaranty is not a general obligation of the corporation or of the state, but is a special obligation, which constitutes the investment of a public trust fund. In no event shall the guaranty constitute an indebtedness of the corporation, the state, or any political subdivision thereof within the meaning of any constitutional or statutory limitation. Each guaranty agreement shall have plainly stated on the face thereof that it has been entered into under the provisions of this act and that it does not constitute an indebtedness of the corporation, the state, or any political subdivision thereof within any constitutional or statutory limitation, and that neither the full faith and credit of the state nor any of its revenues is pledged to meet any of the obligations of the corporation under such guaranty agreement. Each such agreement shall state that the obligation of the corporation under the guaranty shall be limited to the funds available in the Energy, Technology, and Economic Development Guaranty Fund as authorized by this section.
(8) In the event the corporation does not approve the application for a guaranty, the applicant shall be notified in writing of the corporation’s determination that the application not be approved.
(9) The membership of the corporation is authorized and directed to conduct such investigation as it may deem necessary for promulgation of regulations to govern the operation of the guaranty program authorized by this section. The regulations may include such other additional provisions, restrictions, and conditions as the corporation, after its investigation referred to in this subsection, shall determine to be proper to achieve the most effective utilization of the guaranty program. This may include, without limitation, a detailing of the remedies that must be exhausted by bondholders, a trustee acting on their behalf, or other credit provided before calling upon the corporation to perform under its guaranty agreement and the subrogation of other rights of the corporation with reference to the capital project and its operation or the financing in the event the corporation makes payment pursuant to the applicable guaranty agreement. The regulations promulgated by the corporation to govern the operation of the guaranty program may contain specific provisions with respect to the rights of the corporation to enter, take over, and manage all financed properties upon default. These regulations shall be submitted by the corporation to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for approval.
(10) The guaranty program described in this section may be used by the corporation in conjunction with any federal guaranty programs described in s. 406 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. All policies, procedures, and regulations of the guaranty program adopted by the corporation, to the extent such guaranty program of the corporation is used in conjunction with a federal guaranty program described in s. 406 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, must be consistent with s. 406 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
History.ss. 31, 62, ch. 93-187; s. 1, ch. 93-402; s. 14, ch. 94-136; s. 3, ch. 95-386; s. 103, ch. 96-320; s. 148, ch. 96-406; s. 74, ch. 99-13; s. 70, ch. 99-385; s. 7, ch. 2010-139; s. 502, ch. 2011-142.
288.9608 Creation and funding of the Energy, Technology, and Economic Development Guaranty Fund.
(1) The corporation shall establish an account known as the Energy, Technology, and Economic Development Guaranty Fund. The corporation may deposit moneys or other cash equivalents into the fund and maintain a balance in the fund, from general revenue funds of the state as are authorized for that purpose or any other designated funding sources not inconsistent with state law.
(2) If the corporation determines that the moneys in the guaranty agreement fund are not sufficient to meet the obligations of the guaranty agreement fund, the corporation is authorized to use the necessary amount of any available moneys that it may have which are not needed for, then or in the foreseeable future, or committed to other authorized functions and purposes of the corporation. Any such moneys so used may be reimbursed out of the guaranty agreement fund if and when there are moneys therein available for the purpose.
(3) The determination of when additional moneys will be needed for the guaranty agreement fund, the amounts that will be needed, and the availability or unavailability of other moneys shall be made solely by the corporation in the exercise of its discretion.
History.ss. 32, 62, ch. 93-187; s. 1, ch. 93-402; s. 234, ch. 95-148; s. 104, ch. 96-320; s. 8, ch. 2010-139.
288.9609 Bonds as legal investments.All banks, trust companies, bankers, savings banks and institutions, building and loan associations, savings and loan associations, investment companies, and other persons carrying on a banking and investment business; all insurance companies, insurance associations, and other persons carrying on an insurance business; and all executors, administrators, curators, trustees, and other fiduciaries may legally invest any sinking funds, moneys, or other funds belonging to them or within their control in any bonds or other obligations issued by the corporation. Such bonds and obligations shall be authorized security for all public deposits. It is the purpose of this section to authorize all persons, political subdivisions, and officers, public and private, to use any funds owned or controlled by them for the purchase of any such bonds or other obligations. Nothing contained in this section with regard to legal investments shall be construed as relieving any person of any duty of exercising reasonable care in selecting securities.
History.ss. 33, 62, ch. 93-187; s. 1, ch. 93-402; s. 9, ch. 2010-139.
288.9610 Annual reports of Florida Development Finance Corporation.On or before 90 days after the close of the Florida Development Finance Corporation’s fiscal year, the corporation shall submit to the Governor, the Legislature, the Auditor General, the Department of Economic Opportunity, and the governing body of each public entity for which the corporation issues revenue bonds pursuant to s. 288.9606 or with which it has entered into an interlocal agreement a complete and detailed report setting forth:
(1) The results of any audit conducted under s. 11.45.
(2) The activities, operations, and accomplishments of the Florida Development Finance Corporation, including the number of businesses assisted by the corporation.
(3) Its assets, liabilities, income, and operating expenses at the end of its most recent fiscal year, including a description of all of its outstanding revenue bonds.
History.ss. 34, 62, ch. 93-187; s. 1, ch. 93-402; s. 39, ch. 2002-1; s. 46, ch. 2004-305; s. 74, ch. 2010-102; s. 10, ch. 2010-139; s. 8, ch. 2020-30.
288.9614 Authorized programs.The department may take any action that it deems necessary to achieve the purposes of this act in partnership with private enterprises, public agencies, and other organizations, including, but not limited to, efforts to address the long-term debt needs of small-sized and medium-sized firms, to address the needs of microenterprises, to expand availability of venture capital, and to increase international trade and export finance opportunities for firms critical to achieving the purposes of this act.
History.s. 38, ch. 93-187; s. 108, ch. 96-320; s. 41, ch. 97-278; s. 42, ch. 99-251; s. 95, ch. 2023-173.
288.9619 Conflicts of interest.If any director has a direct or indirect interest associated with any party to an application on which the corporation has taken or will take action in exercising its power for the issuance of revenue bonds or other evidences of indebtedness, such interest must be publicly disclosed to the corporation and set forth in the minutes of the corporation. The director who has such interest may not participate in any action by the corporation with respect to such party and application.
History.s. 9, ch. 2020-30; s. 17, ch. 2021-51.
PART IX
CAPITAL FORMATION
288.9621 Short title.
288.9622 Findings and intent.
288.9623 Definitions.
288.9624 Florida Opportunity Fund; creation; duties.
288.9625 Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology.
288.96255 Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund; creation; duties.
288.9626 Exemptions from public records and public meetings requirements for the Florida Opportunity Fund.
288.9627 Exemptions from public records and public meetings requirements for the Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology.
288.9621 Short title.Sections 288.9621-288.96255 may be cited as the “Florida Capital Formation Act.”
History.s. 1, ch. 2007-189; s. 2, ch. 2018-139.
288.9622 Findings and intent.
(1) The Legislature finds and declares that there is a need to increase the availability of seed capital and early stage investment capital for emerging companies in the state, including, without limitation, businesses in life sciences, information technology, advanced manufacturing processes, aviation and aerospace, and homeland security and defense, as well as other industries of strategic importance to this state.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that ss. 288.9621-288.96255 serve to mobilize private investment in a broad variety of partnerships in diversified industries and geographies; retain private sector investment criteria focused on rate of return; allow the Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology to use highly qualified private fund managers experienced in the seed and early stage development industry in this state; outline the use, qualifications, and activities of the private management, without any financial support or specific appropriations from the state, by a private fund manager of the assets of the Seed Capital Accelerator Program and the Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund investment portfolio of the Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology; facilitate the organization of the Florida Opportunity Fund as an investor in seed and early stage businesses, infrastructure projects, venture capital funds, and angel funds; and precipitate capital investment and extensions of credit to and in the Florida Opportunity Fund.
(3) It is the intent of the Legislature to mobilize investment capital in such a manner as to result in a significant potential to create new businesses and jobs in this state which are based on high growth potential technologies, products, or services and which will further diversify the economy of this state.
(4) It is the intent of the Legislature to reduce the ongoing operational cost and burden of managing the Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund and the Seed Capital Accelerator Program to this state and eliminate any financial support or specific appropriations from the state by engaging a private asset management entity in this state which is familiar with the seed and early stage investment industry in this state. This entity would be responsible for the management of the assets of the Seed Capital Accelerator Program and the Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund investment portfolio without requiring ongoing budget expenditures by this state or receiving any financial support or specific appropriations from the state.
History.s. 1, ch. 2007-189; s. 25, ch. 2009-51; s. 3, ch. 2018-139.
288.9623 Definitions.As used in ss. 288.9621-288.96255, the term:
(1) “Accelerator program” means the Seed Capital Accelerator Program managed by the institute.
(2) “Board” means the board of directors of the Florida Opportunity Fund.
(3) “Fund” means the Florida Opportunity Fund.
(4) “Institute” means the Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology.
(5) “Investment portfolio” means individual or collective investment assets held under the technology fund.
(6) “Net profits” means the total gross proceeds received from the sale or liquidation of an asset of the investment portfolio less any costs, legal fees, professional fees, consulting fees, government fees, brokerage fees, taxes, management fees pursuant to s. 288.9625(12)(b), disbursement to private investors pursuant to s. 288.96255(6), or other fees, costs, and expenses incurred in the sale or liquidation of any of the investment portfolio assets.
(7) “Portfolio companies” means the companies that are part of the Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund investment portfolio.
(8) “Private fund manager” means the private entity, or its designee, selected to manage the investment portfolio on behalf of the institute.
(9) “Technology fund” means the Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund managed by the institute.
History.s. 1, ch. 2007-189; s. 4, ch. 2018-139; s. 43, ch. 2019-3.
288.9624 Florida Opportunity Fund; creation; duties.
(1)(a) The Florida Opportunity Fund is a private, not-for-profit corporation organized and operated under chapter 617. The fund is not a public corporation or instrumentality of the state. The fund shall manage its business affairs and conduct business consistent with its organizational documents and the purposes set forth in this section and under contract with the department. Notwithstanding the powers granted under chapter 617, the corporation may not amend, modify, or repeal a bylaw or article of incorporation without the express written consent of the department.
(b) The board of directors of the Florida Opportunity Fund shall have five members, appointed by the Governor. Board members shall serve terms as provided in the fund’s organizational documents. Within 90 days before an anticipated vacancy by expiration of the term of a board member, the board of directors of the fund shall submit a list of three eligible nominees, which may include the incumbent, to the Governor. The Governor may appoint a board member from the nominee list or may request and appoint from a new list of three nominees not included on the previous list.
(c) The persons appointed to the board of directors shall include persons who have expertise in the area of the selection and supervision of early stage investment managers or in the fiduciary management of investment funds and other areas of expertise as considered appropriate.
(d) Members of the board are subject to any restrictions on conflicts of interest specified in the organizational documents and may not have an interest in any venture capital investment selected by the fund under ss. 288.9621-288.9624.
(e) Members of the board shall serve without compensation, but members, the president of the board, and other board employees may be reimbursed for all reasonable, necessary, and actual expenses as determined and approved by the board pursuant to s. 112.061.
(f) The fund shall have all powers granted under its organizational documents and shall indemnify members to the broadest extent permissible under the laws of this state.
(2) Upon organization, the board shall conduct a national solicitation for investment plan proposals from qualified venture capital investment managers for the raising and investing of capital by the Florida Opportunity Fund. Any proposed investment plan must address the applicant’s level of experience, quality of management, investment philosophy and process, provability of success in fundraising, prior investment fund results, and plan for achieving the purposes of ss. 288.9621-288.9624. The board shall select only venture capital investment managers having demonstrated expertise in the management of and investment in companies.
(3) The board is responsible for negotiating the terms of a contract with the Florida Opportunity Fund investment manager; executing the contract with the selected venture capital investment fund manager on behalf of the Florida Opportunity Fund; managing the business affairs of the Florida Opportunity Fund, such as accounting, audit, insurance, and related requirements; soliciting and negotiating the terms of, contracting for, and receiving investment capital and loan proceeds with the assistance of the investment manager; receiving investment returns; paying investors and debtors; and reinvesting the investment returns in the fund in order to provide additional venture capital investments designed to result in a significant potential to create new businesses and jobs in this state and further diversify the economy of this state.
(4) For the purpose of mobilizing investment in a broad variety of Florida-based, new technology companies and generating a return sufficient to continue reinvestment, the fund shall:
(a) Invest in seed and early stage venture capital funds that have experienced managers or management teams with demonstrated experience, expertise, and a successful history in the investment of venture capital funds, focusing on opportunities in this state. The fund also may make direct investments, including loans, in individual businesses and infrastructure projects. While not precluded from investing in venture capital funds that have investments outside this state, the fund must require a venture capital fund to show a record of successful investment in this state, to be based in this state, or to have an office in this state staffed with a full-time, professional venture investment executive in order to be eligible for investment.
(b) Negotiate for investment capital or loan proceeds from private, institutional, or banking sources.
(c) Negotiate any and all terms and conditions for its investments.
(d) Invest only in funds, businesses, and infrastructure projects that have raised capital from other sources so that the amount invested in such funds, businesses, or infrastructure projects is at least twice the amount invested by the fund. Direct investments must be made in Florida infrastructure projects or businesses that are Florida-based or have significant business activities in Florida and operate in technology sectors that are strategic to Florida, including, but not limited to, enterprises in life sciences, information technology, advanced manufacturing processes, aviation and aerospace, and homeland security and defense, as well as other strategic technologies.
(e) Form or operate other entities and accept additional funds from other public and private sources to further its purpose.

The Opportunity Fund may not use its original legislative appropriation of $29.5 million for direct investments, including loans, in businesses or infrastructure projects, or for any purpose not specified in chapter 2007-189, Laws of Florida.

(5) By December 1 of each year, the board shall issue an annual report concerning the activities conducted by the fund to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The annual report, at a minimum, must include:
(a) An accounting of the amount of investments disbursed by the fund and the progress of the fund, including the progress of business and infrastructure projects that have been provided direct investment by the fund.
(b) A description of the benefits to this state resulting from the fund, including the number of businesses created, associated industries started, the number of jobs created, and the growth of related research projects.
(c) Independently audited financial statements, including statements that show receipts and expenditures during the preceding fiscal year for personnel, administration, and operational costs of the fund.
History.s. 1, ch. 2007-189; s. 26, ch. 2009-51; s. 191, ch. 2011-142; s. 96, ch. 2023-173.
288.9625 Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology.
(1) The institute is a nonprofit corporation registered, incorporated, and operated in accordance with chapter 617. The institute is not subject to control, supervision, or direction by the department in any manner, including, but not limited to, personnel, purchasing, transactions involving real or personal property, and budgetary matters.
(2) The purpose of the institute is to assist, without any financial support or specific appropriations from the state, in the commercialization of products developed by the research and development activities of an innovation business, including, but not limited to, those defined in former s. 288.1089. The institute shall fulfill its purpose in the best interests of the state. The institute:
(a) Is a corporation primarily acting as an instrumentality of the state pursuant to s. 768.28(2), for the purposes of sovereign immunity;
(b) Is not an agency within the meaning of s. 20.03(1);
(c) Is subject to the open records and meetings requirements of s. 24, Art. I of the State Constitution, chapter 119, and s. 286.011;
(d) Is not subject to chapter 287;
(e) Is governed by the code of ethics for public officers and employees as set forth in part III of chapter 112;
(f) May create corporate subsidiaries; and
(g) May not receive any financial support or specific appropriations from the state.
(3) The articles of incorporation of the institute must:
(a) Provide that the institute shall provide equal employment opportunities for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status;
(b) Provide that the institute is subject to the public records and meeting requirements of s. 24, Art. I of the State Constitution;
(c) Provide that all officers, directors, and employees of the institute are governed by the code of ethics for public officers and employees as set forth in part III of chapter 112;
(d) Provide that members of the board of directors of the institute are responsible for the prudent use of all public and private funds and that they will ensure that the use of funds is in accordance with all applicable laws, bylaws, and contractual requirements, including those in subsection (15); and
(e) Provide that the fiscal year of the institute is from July 1 to June 30.
(4) The investment-related affairs of the institute shall be managed by the private fund manager, and overseen by a board of directors who shall serve without compensation. Each director shall have only one vote. The chair of the board of directors shall be selected by a majority vote of the directors, a quorum being present.
(a) The board of directors shall consist of three directors appointed pursuant to the procedures and requirements of this section to 3-year staggered terms, to which the directors may be reappointed.
(b) For any director appointed before July 1, 2018, the term of service for that director may continue through the end of his or her current term. The vacancy created by the expiration of such term must be filled pursuant to the procedures and requirements of this section.
(c) The bylaws of the institute shall be amended accordingly by the board of directors to reflect the requirements of this section.
(d) Upon vacancy, or within 90 days before an anticipated vacancy by the expiration of a term of a director, the private fund manager shall submit a list of three eligible nominees, which may include the incumbent director, to replace the outgoing director. The board of directors, voting along with the private fund manager, may appoint a director from the nominee list or may request and appoint a director from a new list of three nominees that were not included on the previous list.
(e) The persons appointed as replacement directors must include persons who have expertise in the area of the selection and supervision of early stage investment managers or in the fiduciary management of investment funds and other areas of expertise as considered appropriate.
(f) Directors are subject to any restrictions on conflicts of interest specified in the organizational documents and may not have a financial interest in any venture capital investment in any portfolio company.
(g) Directors may be reimbursed for all reasonable, necessary, and actual expenses as determined and approved by the private fund manager pursuant to s. 112.061.
(h) The institute shall have all powers granted under its organizational documents and shall indemnify its directors and the private fund manager to the broadest extent permissible under the laws of this state.
(5) The board of directors shall oversee the private fund manager to ensure consistency with the Florida Capital Formation Act, perform those duties as may be delegated to it in the bylaws of the institute, and provide a copy of the institute’s annual report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(6) The Auditor General and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability may require and receive from the institute or its independent auditor any detail or supplemental data relative to the operation of the institute.
(7) To the extent funds for investment are available in the technology fund, the private fund manager, on behalf of the institute, may make an investment in a company or organization if the following requirements are met:
(a) Before providing assistance, the institute accepted the company or organization attempting to commercialize its product based on the guidelines under s. 288.96255(4).
(b) The company or organization is based in this state.
(8) Except as provided under s. 288.96255, the institute may not develop or accrue any ownership, royalty, patent, or other such rights over or interest in companies or products in the institute except in connection with financing provided directly to client companies and shall maintain the confidentiality of proprietary information.
(9) By December 1 of each year, the institute shall issue an annual report concerning its activities to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The annual report shall be considered a public record, as provided in paragraph (3)(b), subject to any appropriate exemptions under s. 288.9627. The annual report must include the following:
(a) Information on any assistance provided by the institute to an innovation business, as defined in former s. 288.1089.
(b) A description of the benefits to this state resulting from the institute, including the number of businesses created, the associated industries started, the number of jobs created, and the growth of related projects.
(c) Independently audited financial statements, including statements that show receipts and expenditures during the preceding fiscal year for personnel, management fees, administration, and operational costs of the institute.
(10) The private fund manager:
(a) Must be a for-profit limited liability company or a for-profit corporation formed, governed, and operated in accordance with chapter 605 or chapter 607, respectively.
(b) Shall conduct activities on behalf of the institute which are consistent with the purposes set forth in this section.
(c) Must have expertise and experience in the management and operation of early stage companies in this state.
(d) Must have experience with investment in early stage ventures in this state and have a working knowledge and understanding of the investment portfolio and the relevant industries of the portfolio companies in this state.
(e) Shall employ personnel and professionals who have knowledge of the investment portfolio and portfolio companies of the institute, as well as financial, technical, and business expertise to manage the technology fund activity.
(f) May not be a public corporation or instrumentality of the state.
(g) Is not a corporation primarily acting as an instrumentality of the state pursuant to s. 768.28(2), for the purposes of sovereign immunity.
(h) Is not an agency within the meaning of s. 20.03(1).
(i) Is not subject to chapter 287.
(j) May not be governed by the code of ethics for public officers and employees as set forth in part III of chapter 112.
(k) May not receive any specific appropriation from the state in any amount.
(11) The purpose of the institute’s use of a private fund manager is to alleviate the state’s burden of the continued and future operational and management costs related to the technology fund and accelerator program without the financial support of or any specific appropriation from the state, while allowing the institute, through the activities of the private fund manager, to continue to foster greater private-sector investment funding, to encourage seed-stage investments in startup and early stage companies, and to advise companies about how to restructure existing management, operations, product development, or service development to attract advantageous business opportunities.
(12) The private fund manager shall assume the management of the assets of the accelerator program and the technology fund investment portfolios associated with the institute.
(a) The private fund manager has the authority on behalf of the institute to:
1. Negotiate investment, sale, and liquidation terms with portfolio and nonportfolio companies;
2. Develop and execute contracts, or amendments thereto, with portfolio and nonportfolio companies;
3. Seek new qualified companies for the investment of funds from the technology fund;
4. Receive, on behalf of the institute, investment capital from the sale or liquidation of any portion of the investment portfolio, loan proceeds, or other investment returns, and remit such capital, proceeds, and returns to the technology fund pursuant to s. 288.96255, except as otherwise provided in this section and s. 288.96255; and
5. Perform additional duties set forth in s. 288.96255.
(b) The private fund manager shall be paid reasonable fees consistent with industry fund management practices and consisting of:
1. An operational management fee, including the reimbursement of expenses, paid from the proceeds of the repayment of loans from the accelerator program or other capital, proceeds, and returns available in the technology fund;
2. A portfolio fee paid from the proceeds of each sale or liquidation of assets or portions of the assets of the investment portfolio; and
3. A closing fee paid from the investment amount paid by the technology fund to a company at the closing of each investment.
(13) The private fund manager may undertake the following activities on behalf of the institute:
(a) Mentor, assist with the development of marketing information, and assist with attracting capital investment, as well as bring other resources to the company which may foster its effective management, growth, capitalization, technology protection, or marketing or business success;
(b) Communicate with private investors and venture capital organizations regarding investment opportunities in the portfolio companies of the technology fund and accelerator program;
(c) Facilitate meetings between prospective investors and the companies; and
(d) Develop cooperative relationships with publicly supported organizations that work together to provide resources or special knowledge likely to be helpful to portfolio companies.
(14) By November 1 of each year, the private fund manager shall issue an annual report to the board of directors of the institute concerning the activities the private fund manager conducted which relate to existing accelerator program and technology fund investments in order for the board to be in compliance with its report obligations under subsection (9). The annual report provided by the private fund manager shall be considered a public record, as provided in paragraph (3)(b), subject to any appropriate exemptions under s. 288.9627. The annual report, at a minimum, must include:
(a) A description of the benefits to this state resulting from the assets of the accelerator program and technology fund, including the number of jobs created, the amount of capital the companies raised, and other benefits relating to increased research expenditures and company growth.
(b) Independently audited financial statements related to the receipt and calculation of the net profits of the investment portfolio.
(15) If the institute receives any specific appropriation from the state after July 1, 2018, the institute shall immediately transfer such funds to the General Revenue Fund. The institute, and all assets held by the institute, including all assets and ownership interests held by the technology fund pursuant to s. 288.96255, shall be liquidated immediately after the receipt of such appropriation, and all proceeds of the sales of such assets and ownership interests shall revert to the General Revenue Fund.
History.s. 1, ch. 2007-189; s. 31, ch. 2010-147; s. 192, ch. 2011-142; s. 1, ch. 2013-120; s. 20, ch. 2014-18; s. 5, ch. 2018-139; s. 61, ch. 2023-8; s. 97, ch. 2023-173.
288.96255 Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund; creation; duties.
(1) The Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology shall create the Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund as a corporate subsidiary. The purpose of the technology fund is, without any financial assistance or specific appropriations from the state, to foster greater private-sector investment funding, to encourage seed-stage investments in start-up companies, and to advise companies about how to restructure existing management, operation, or production to attract advantageous business opportunities. The net profits of the proceeds of each sale or liquidation of assets or portions of the assets of the investment portfolio must be returned to the technology fund for reinvestment after payment of the applicable costs, professional fees, expenses, fees pursuant to s. 288.9625(12)(b), and disbursement to private investors pursuant to paragraph (6)(e).
(2) The institute shall administer the Florida Technology Seed Capital Fund.
(3) The institute shall employ a private fund manager pursuant to s. 288.9625 to manage the investment portfolio and technology fund activity. The private fund manager shall advise the institute and guide the management of the technology fund and make funding recommendations, provided that capital for investment is available in the technology fund. The private fund manager shall receive reasonable fees consistent with industry practices for performing due diligence and an investment closing fee paid out of the technology fund at the closing of each investment in addition to reasonable attorney fees, other fees prescribed in s. 288.9625(12)(b), and other costs in connection with making an investment.
(4) The private fund manager shall use a thorough and detailed process that is modeled after investment industry practices to evaluate a proposal. In order to approve a company for investment, the private fund manager, on behalf of the institute, must consider if:
(a) The company has a strong intellectual property position, a capable management team, readily identifiable paths to market or commercialization, significant job-growth potential, the ability to provide other sources of capital to leverage the state’s investment, and the potential to attract additional funding;
(b) The private fund manager has had an opportunity to complete due diligence to its satisfaction;
(c) The company is a target industry business as defined in s. 288.005; and
(d) An approved private-sector lead investor who has demonstrated due diligence typical of start-up investments in evaluating the potential of the company has identified the company.
(5) Funds from the technology fund may be invested if the institute approves a company and the initial seed-stage investment.
(6) The institute or private fund manager may:
(a) Provide a company with value-added support services in the areas of business plan development and strategy, the preparation of investor presentations, and other critical areas identified by the private fund manager to increase its chances for long-term viability and success;
(b) Encourage appropriate investment funds to become preapproved to match investment funds;
(c) Market the attractiveness of the state as an early-stage investment location;
(d) Collaborate with state economic-development organizations, national associations of seed and angel funds, and other innovation-based associations to create an enhanced state entrepreneurial ecosystem; and
(e) Transfer any portion of the assets of the investment portfolio, on behalf of the institute, into a private fund or special purpose vehicle, receive additional private investment in the private fund or special purpose vehicle, manage the private fund or special purpose vehicle, and distribute to the technology fund and the private investors the respective pro rata portion of any net profits from the sale or liquidation of the assets of such private fund or special purpose vehicle.
History.s. 2, ch. 2013-120; s. 6, ch. 2018-139; s. 98, ch. 2023-173.
288.9626 Exemptions from public records and public meetings requirements for the Florida Opportunity Fund.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Alternative investment” means an investment or prospective investment through a loan, acquisition of an equity interest, or other investment method by the Florida Opportunity Fund in a private equity fund, venture capital fund, or angel fund; an investment by the Florida Opportunity Fund or an alternative investment in a portfolio company; or an investment through a distribution of securities to its partners or shareholders by an alternative investment vehicle.
(b) “Alternative investment vehicle” means the limited partnership, limited liability company, or similar legal fund structure through which funds of, or funds managed by, the Florida Opportunity Fund are invested in a portfolio company.
(c) “Florida Opportunity Fund” means the Florida Opportunity Fund as defined in s. 288.9623.
(d) “Portfolio company” means a corporation or other issuer, any of whose securities or debt obligations are owned, or are being considered for ownership, by an alternative investment vehicle or the Florida Opportunity Fund and any subsidiary of such corporation or other issuer.
(e) “Portfolio positions” means individual investments in portfolio companies that are made by an alternative investment vehicle or the Florida Opportunity Fund, including information or specific investment terms associated with any portfolio company investment.
(f)1. “Proprietary confidential business information” means information that has been designated by the proprietor when provided to the Florida Opportunity Fund as information that is owned or controlled by a proprietor; that is intended to be and is treated by the proprietor as private, the disclosure of which would harm the business operations of the proprietor and has not been intentionally disclosed by the proprietor unless pursuant to a private agreement that provides that the information will not be released to the public except as required by law or legal process, or pursuant to law or an order of a court or administrative body; and that concerns:
a. Trade secrets as defined in s. 688.002.
b. Information provided to the Florida Opportunity Fund regarding an existing or prospective alternative investment in a private equity fund, venture capital fund, angel fund, or portfolio company that is proprietary to the provider of the information.
c. Financial statements and auditor reports of an alternative investment vehicle or portfolio company, unless publicly released by the alternative investment vehicle or portfolio company.
d. Meeting materials of an alternative investment vehicle or portfolio company relating to financial, operating, or marketing information of the alternative investment vehicle or portfolio company.
e. Information regarding the portfolio positions in which the alternative investment vehicles or Florida Opportunity Fund invest.
f. Capital call and distribution notices to investors or the Florida Opportunity Fund of an alternative investment vehicle.
g. Alternative investment agreements and related records.
h. Information concerning investors, other than the Florida Opportunity Fund, in an alternative investment vehicle or portfolio company.
2. “Proprietary confidential business information” does not include:
a. The name, address, and vintage year of an alternative investment vehicle or Florida Opportunity Fund and the identity of the principals involved in the management of the alternative investment vehicle or Florida Opportunity Fund.
b. The dollar amount of the commitment made by the Florida Opportunity Fund to each alternative investment vehicle since inception, if any.
c. The dollar amount and date of cash contributions made by the Florida Opportunity Fund to each alternative investment vehicle since inception, if any.
d. The dollar amount, on a fiscal-year-end basis, of cash or other fungible distributions received by the Florida Opportunity Fund from each alternative investment vehicle.
e. The dollar amount, on a fiscal-year-end basis, of cash or other fungible distributions received by the Florida Opportunity Fund plus the remaining value of alternative-vehicle assets that are attributable to the Florida Opportunity Fund’s investment in each alternative investment vehicle.
f. The net internal rate of return of each alternative investment vehicle since inception.
g. The investment multiple of each alternative investment vehicle since inception.
h. The dollar amount of the total management fees and costs paid on an annual fiscal-year-end basis by the Florida Opportunity Fund to each alternative investment vehicle.
i. The dollar amount of cash profit received by the Florida Opportunity Fund from each alternative investment vehicle on a fiscal-year-end basis.
(g) “Proprietor” means an alternative investment vehicle or portfolio company in which an alternative investment vehicle or Florida Opportunity Fund invests or which is being considered for investment, or an outside consultant, including the respective authorized officers, employees, agents, or successors in interest, that controls or owns information.
(2) PUBLIC RECORDS EXEMPTION.
(a) The following records held by the Florida Opportunity Fund are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
1. Materials that relate to methods of manufacture or production, potential trade secrets, or patentable material received, generated, ascertained, or discovered during the course of research or through research projects and that are provided by a proprietor.
2. Information that would identify an investor or potential investor who desires to remain anonymous in projects reviewed by the Florida Opportunity Fund.
3. Proprietary confidential business information regarding alternative investments for 7 years after the termination of the alternative investment.
(b) At the time any record made confidential and exempt by this subsection, or portion thereof, is legally available or subject to public disclosure for any other reason, that record, or portion thereof, shall no longer be confidential and exempt and shall be made available for inspection and copying.
(3) PUBLIC MEETINGS EXEMPTION.
(a) That portion of a meeting of the board of directors of the Florida Opportunity Fund at which information is discussed which is confidential and exempt under subsection (2) is exempt from s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(b) Any exempt portion of a meeting shall be recorded and transcribed. The board of directors shall record the times of commencement and termination of the meeting, all discussion and proceedings, the names of all persons present at any time, and the names of all persons speaking. An exempt portion of any meeting may not be off the record.
(c) A transcript and minutes of exempt portions of meetings are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(4) REQUEST TO INSPECT OR COPY A RECORD.
(a) Records made confidential and exempt by this section may be released, upon written request, to a governmental entity in the performance of its official duties and responsibilities.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (2)(a), a request to inspect or copy a public record that contains proprietary confidential business information shall be granted if the proprietor of the information fails, within a reasonable period of time after the request is received by the Florida Opportunity Fund, to verify the following to the Florida Opportunity Fund through a written declaration in the manner provided by s. 92.525:
1. That the requested record contains proprietary confidential business information and the specific location of such information within the record;
2. If the proprietary confidential business information is a trade secret, a verification that it is a trade secret as defined in s. 688.002;
3. That the proprietary confidential business information is intended to be and is treated by the proprietor as private, is the subject of efforts of the proprietor to maintain its privacy, and is not readily ascertainable or publicly available from any other source; and
4. That the disclosure of the proprietary confidential business information to the public would harm the business operations of the proprietor.
(c)1. Any person may petition a court of competent jurisdiction for an order for the public release of those portions of any record made confidential and exempt by subsection (2).
2. Any action under this subsection must be brought in Orange County, and the petition or other initial pleading shall be served on the Florida Opportunity Fund and, if determinable upon diligent inquiry, on the proprietor of the information sought to be released.
3. In any order for the public release of a record under this subsection, the court shall make a finding that:
a. The record or portion thereof is not a trade secret as defined in s. 688.002;
b. A compelling public interest is served by the release of the record or portions thereof which exceed the public necessity for maintaining the confidentiality of such record; and
c. The release of the record will not cause damage to or adversely affect the interests of the proprietor of the released information, other private persons or business entities, or the Florida Opportunity Fund.
(5) PENALTIES.Any person who willfully and knowingly violates this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 1, ch. 2007-190; s. 1, ch. 2012-223.
288.9627 Exemptions from public records and public meetings requirements for the Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology” or “institute” means the institute established by s. 288.9625.
(b)1. “Proprietary confidential business information” means information that has been designated by the proprietor when provided to the institute as information that is owned or controlled by a proprietor; that is intended to be and is treated by the proprietor as private, the disclosure of which would harm the business operations of the proprietor and has not been intentionally disclosed by the proprietor unless pursuant to a private agreement that provides that the information will not be released to the public except as required by law or legal process, or pursuant to law or an order of a court or administrative body; and that concerns:
a. Trade secrets as defined in s. 688.002.
b. Financial statements and internal or external auditor reports of a proprietor corporation, partnership, or person requesting confidentiality under this statute, unless publicly released by the proprietor.
c. Meeting materials related to financial, operating, investment, or marketing information of the proprietor corporation, partnership, or person.
d. Information concerning private investors in the proprietor corporation, partnership, or person.
2. “Proprietary confidential business information” does not include:
a. The identity and primary address of the proprietor’s principals.
b. The dollar amount and date of the financial commitment or contribution made by the institute.
c. The dollar amount, on a fiscal-year-end basis, of cash repayments or other fungible distributions received by the institute from each proprietor.
d. The dollar amount, if any, of the total management fees and costs paid on an annual fiscal-year-end basis by the institute.
(c) “Proprietor” means a corporation, partnership, or person that has applied for or received assistance, financial or otherwise, from the institute and that controls or owns the proprietary confidential business information.
(2) PUBLIC RECORDS EXEMPTION.
(a) The following records held by the institute are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
1. Materials that relate to methods of manufacture or production, potential trade secrets, or patentable material received, generated, ascertained, or discovered during the course of research or through research projects conducted by universities and other publicly supported organizations in this state and that are provided to the institute by a proprietor.
2. Information that would identify an investor or potential investor who desires to remain anonymous in projects reviewed by the institute for assistance.
3. Any information received from a person from another state or nation or the Federal Government which is otherwise confidential or exempt pursuant to the laws of that state or nation or pursuant to federal law.
4. Proprietary confidential business information for 7 years after the termination of the institute’s financial commitment to the company.
(b) At the time any record made confidential and exempt by this subsection, or portion thereof, is legally available or subject to public disclosure for any other reason, that record, or portion thereof, shall no longer be confidential and exempt and shall be made available for inspection and copying.
(3) PUBLIC MEETINGS EXEMPTION.
(a) That portion of a meeting of the institute’s board of directors at which information is discussed which is confidential and exempt under subsection (2) is exempt from s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(b) Any exempt portion of a meeting shall be recorded and transcribed. The board of directors shall record the times of commencement and termination of the meeting, all discussion and proceedings, the names of all persons present at any time, and the names of all persons speaking. An exempt portion of any meeting may not be off the record.
(c) A transcript and minutes of exempt portions of meetings are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(4) REQUEST TO INSPECT OR COPY A RECORD.
(a) Records made confidential and exempt by this section may be released, upon written request, to a governmental entity in the performance of its official duties and responsibilities.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (2)(a), a request to inspect or copy a public record that contains proprietary confidential business information shall be granted if the proprietor of the information fails, within a reasonable period of time after the request is received by the institute, to verify the following to the institute through a written declaration in the manner provided by s. 92.525:
1. That the requested record contains proprietary confidential business information and the specific location of such information within the record;
2. If the proprietary confidential business information is a trade secret, a verification that it is a trade secret as defined in s. 688.002;
3. That the proprietary confidential business information is intended to be and is treated by the proprietor as private, is the subject of efforts of the proprietor to maintain its privacy, and is not readily ascertainable or publicly available from any other source; and
4. That the disclosure of the proprietary confidential business information to the public would harm the business operations of the proprietor.
(c)1. Any person may petition a court of competent jurisdiction for an order for the public release of those portions of any record made confidential and exempt by subsection (2).
2. Any action under this subsection must be brought in Palm Beach County or Alachua County, and the petition or other initial pleading shall be served on the institute and, if determinable upon diligent inquiry, on the proprietor of the information sought to be released.
3. In any order for the public release of a record under this subsection, the court shall make a finding that:
a. The record or portion thereof is not a trade secret as defined in s. 688.002;
b. A compelling public interest is served by the release of the record or portions thereof which exceed the public necessity for maintaining the confidentiality of such record; and
c. The release of the record will not cause damage to or adversely affect the interests of the proprietor of the released information, other private persons or business entities, or the institute.
(5) PENALTIES.Any person who willfully and knowingly violates this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 2, ch. 2012-223; s. 7, ch. 2018-139.
PART X
DEFENSE CONVERSION AND TRANSITION
288.972 Legislative intent.
288.975 Military base reuse plans.
288.976 Military base closure and reuse.
288.977 Military base disposition.
288.980 Military base retention; legislative intent; grants program.
288.985 Exemptions from public records and public meetings requirements.
288.987 Florida Defense Support Task Force.
288.972 Legislative intent.It is the policy of this state, once the Federal Government has proposed any base closure or has determined that military bases, lands, or installations are to be closed and made available for reuse, to:
(1) Cooperate fully with the Federal Government and community base reuse commissions to ensure prompt effective plans for converting available base lands and facilities to uses which further the affected communities’ welfare.
(2) Conduct, in cooperation with federal and local government agencies, prompt and comprehensive assessments of the economic development, environmental, wildlife conservation, and growth management implications of base closure and reuse for use in making recommendations on land disposition.
(3) Honor, consistent with the state’s responsibility to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens, the affected communities’ plans in regard to base reuse.
(4) Offer to affected communities, to the maximum extent feasible, guidance and technical assistance in formulating plans for the beneficial economic development, environmental resource management, and other use of available base lands.
(5) Provide, to the maximum extent feasible, special assistance and outreach, in the form of counseling, training, and placement services, to workers in this state displaced by defense industry reductions, base closure, and realignments.
(6) Expedite, consistent with the state’s responsibility to protect the environment, manage growth, and fulfill its proprietary responsibilities, all state permitting, planning, and state lands ownership processes related to the closure and reuse of military base lands and facilities.
(7) Actively encourage the Federal Government to provide adequate funding and expeditious action for military base closing and reuse and to provide, consistent with national security laws and authorities, good access to affected military installations and their personnel for the purpose of fulfilling state agency responsibilities.
(8) Coordinate base retention efforts among communities in this state whose military installations are recommended for closure or realignment.
(9) Coordinate the development, maintenance, and analysis of a workforce database to assist workers adversely affected by defense-related activities in their relocation efforts.
History.s. 3, ch. 94-323; s. 2, ch. 96-348; s. 2, ch. 2012-98; s. 6, ch. 2012-159.
288.975 Military base reuse plans.
(1) This section contains optional provisions for military base reuse planning in recognition of the importance of ensuring prompt and effective planning for the conversion of military bases designated for closure by the Federal Government to maximize the welfare of impacted local governments and their constituents. While the reuse of these military bases shall provide substantial economic benefits to their host local governments, reuse activities may also have an adverse impact on the public facilities and services of local governments and impact resources and facilities of regional and statewide significance. The intent of this section is to address this unique relationship by providing for an optional military base reuse planning process that supersedes the provisions of chapter 380 pertaining to developments of regional impact and the requirements of part II of chapter 163, except as provided in this section.
(2) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Affected local government” means a local government adjoining the host local government and any other unit of local government that is not a host local government but that is identified in a proposed military base reuse plan as providing, operating, or maintaining one or more public facilities as defined in s. 163.3164 on lands within or serving a military base designated for closure by the Federal Government.
(b) “Affected person” means a host local government; an affected local government; any state, regional, or federal agency; or a person who resides, owns property, or owns or operates a business within the boundaries of a host local government or affected local government.
(c) “Base reuse activities” means development as defined in s. 380.04 on a military base designated for closure or closed by the Federal Government.
(d) “Host local government” means a local government within the jurisdiction of which all or part of a military base designated for closure by the Federal Government is located. This shall not include a county if no part of a military base is located in its unincorporated area.
(e) “Military base” means a military base designated for closure or closed by the Federal Government.
(f) “Regional policy plan” means a strategic regional policy plan that has been adopted by rule by a regional planning council pursuant to s. 186.508.
(g) “State comprehensive plan” means the plan as provided in chapter 187.
(3) No later than 6 months after the designation of a military base for closure by the Federal Government, each host local government shall notify the department in writing, by hand delivery or return receipt requested, as to whether it intends to use the optional provisions provided in this act. If a host local government does not opt to use the provisions of this act, land use planning and regulation pertaining to base reuse activities within those host local governments shall be subject to all applicable statutory requirements, including those contained within chapters 163 and 380.
(4)(a) Military base reuse plans shall contain the following elements: future land use; intergovernmental coordination; transportation, which shall include roads, public transportation, and ports, aviation, and related facilities; capital improvements; coastal management, where applicable; recreation and open space; housing; conservation; and general infrastructure, which shall include potable water, sanitary sewer, solid waste, aquifer recharge, and stormwater management. Each element of the plan shall contain standards to assure compatibility with and minimize impacts on the surrounding community. Each element shall comply with the nonprocedural requirements for such related elements contained in part II of chapter 163 and rules adopted thereunder. The plan shall address each noncontiguous portion of a base specifically.
(b) Military base reuse plans shall identify the need for and plans for provision of the following facilities and services for at least the next 5 years: roads, parking, public transportation, solid waste, drainage, sanitary sewer, potable water, and recreation and open space.
(c) Military base reuse plans shall identify projected impacts to significant regional resources and natural resources of regional significance as identified by applicable regional planning councils in their regional policy plans and the actions that shall be taken to mitigate such impacts.
(d) Data and analyses on which the plans are based shall include, at a minimum, the characteristics of vacant lands, projected use of vacant lands and redevelopment of developed lands, projected population growth, existing and projected public facilities, and projected impacts of base reuse activities on natural resources and those onsite and offsite public facilities and services listed in paragraph (b).
(e) Military base reuse plans may contain additional elements and provisions at the option of the host local government.
(5) At the discretion of the host local government, the provisions of this act may be complied with through the adoption of the military base reuse plan as a separate component of the local government comprehensive plan or through simultaneous amendments to all pertinent portions of the local government comprehensive plan. Once adopted and approved in accordance with this section, the military base reuse plan shall be considered to be part of the host local government’s comprehensive plan and shall be thereafter implemented, amended, and reviewed pursuant to part II of chapter 163.
(6) In the preparation and review of the military base reuse plans, local governments and regional and state agencies shall make every effort to avoid duplicative reviews and to use information and analyses generated by the federal environmental impact statement process and the federal community base reuse plan process.
(7) A military base reuse plan shall be consistent with the comprehensive plan of the host local government and shall not conflict with the comprehensive plan of any affected local governments. A military base reuse plan shall be consistent with the nonprocedural requirements of part II of chapter 163 and rules adopted thereunder, applicable regional policy plans, and the state comprehensive plan.
(8) At the request of a host local government, the department shall coordinate a presubmission workshop concerning a military base reuse plan within the boundaries of the host jurisdiction. Agencies that shall participate in the workshop shall include any affected local governments; the Department of Environmental Protection; the department; the Department of Transportation; the Department of Health; the Department of Children and Families; the Department of Juvenile Justice; the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; the Department of State; the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; and any applicable water management districts and regional planning councils. The purposes of the workshop shall be to assist the host local government to understand issues of concern to the above listed entities pertaining to the military base site and to identify opportunities for better coordination of planning and review efforts with the information and analyses generated by the federal environmental impact statement process and the federal community base reuse planning process.
(9) If a host local government elects to use the optional provisions of this act, it shall, no later than 12 months after notifying the agencies of its intent pursuant to subsection (3) either:
(a) Send a copy of the proposed military base reuse plan for review to any affected local governments; the Department of Environmental Protection; the department; the Department of Transportation; the Department of Health; the Department of Children and Families; the Department of Juvenile Justice; the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; the Department of State; the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; and any applicable water management districts and regional planning councils, or
(b) Petition the department for an extension of the deadline for submitting a proposed reuse plan. Such an extension request must be justified by changes or delays in the closure process by the federal Department of Defense or for reasons otherwise deemed to promote the orderly and beneficial planning of the subject military base reuse. The department may grant extensions to the required submission date of the reuse plan.
(10) Within 60 days after receipt of a proposed military base reuse plan, these entities shall review and provide comments to the host local government. The commencement of this review period shall be advertised in newspapers of general circulation within the host local government and any affected local government to allow for public comment. No later than 180 days after receipt and consideration of all comments, and the holding of at least two public hearings, the host local government shall adopt the military base reuse plan. The host local government shall comply with the notice requirements set forth in s. 163.3184(11) to ensure full public participation in this planning process.
(11) Copies of the adopted military base reuse plan shall be forwarded within 10 days after its adoption to any affected local governments and regional and state agencies that submitted comments on the proposed military base reuse plan. In addition, notice shall be published in newspapers of general circulation in the host and any affected local governments. The notice shall state how and where a copy of the plan may be obtained or inspected. Within 45 days after receipt of the adopted military base reuse plan, or 45 days after the publication of the notice of the availability of the adopted plan for review, whichever is later, an affected person who submitted comments on the proposed plan may petition the host local government, challenging the military base reuse plan as not being in compliance with this act or any rule adopted pursuant to this act. The petition shall state each objection, identify its source, and provide a recommended action.
(12) Following receipt of a petition, the petitioning party or parties and the host local government shall seek resolution of the issues in dispute. The issues in dispute shall be resolved as follows:
(a) The petitioning parties and host local government shall have 45 days to resolve the issues in dispute. Other affected parties that submitted comments on the proposed military base reuse plan may be given the opportunity to formally participate in decisions and agreements made in these and subsequent proceedings by mutual consent of the petitioning party and the host local government. A third-party mediator may be used to help resolve the issues in dispute.
(b) If resolution of the dispute cannot be achieved within 45 days, the petitioning parties and host local government may extend such dispute resolution for up to 45 days. If resolution of the dispute cannot be achieved with the above timeframes, the issues in dispute shall be submitted to the state land planning agency. If the issues stem from multiple petitions, the mediation shall be consolidated into a single proceeding. The state land planning agency shall have 45 days to hold informal hearings, if necessary, identify the issues in dispute, prepare a record of the proceedings, and provide recommended solutions to the parties. If the parties fail to implement the recommended solutions within 45 days, the state land planning agency shall submit the matter to the Administration Commission for final action. The report to the Administration Commission shall list each issue in dispute, describe the nature and basis for each dispute, identify the recommended solutions provided to the parties, and make recommendations for actions the Administration Commission should take to resolve the disputed issues.
(c) If the state land planning agency is a party to the dispute, the issues in dispute shall be submitted to a party jointly selected by the state land planning agency and the host local government. The selected party shall comply with the responsibilities placed upon the state land planning agency in this section.
(d) Within 45 days after receiving the report from the state land planning agency, the Administration Commission shall take action to resolve the issues in dispute. In deciding upon a proper resolution, the Administration Commission shall consider the nature of the issues in dispute, any requests for a formal administrative hearing pursuant to chapter 120, the compliance of the parties with this section, the extent of the conflict between the parties, the comparative hardships and the public interest involved. If the Administration Commission incorporates in its final order a term or condition that requires any local government to amend its local government comprehensive plan, the local government shall amend its plan within 60 days after the issuance of the order. A public hearing on such amendment or amendments pursuant to s. 163.3184(11)(b)1. is not required. The final order of the Administration Commission is subject to appeal pursuant to s. 120.68. If the order of the Administration Commission is appealed, the time for the local government to amend its plan shall be tolled during the pendency of any local, state, or federal administrative or judicial proceeding relating to the military base reuse plan.
(13) Following adoption of a military base reuse plan and resolution of any petitions filed pertaining to the plan, base reuse activities shall be exempt from all provisions of chapter 380 pertaining to developments of regional impact.
(14) No later than 150 days following adoption of a military base reuse plan and resolution of any petitions filed pertaining to the plan, the host local government shall adopt new land development regulations or amend existing land development regulations as necessary to fully implement the military base reuse plan. With the exception of the 150-day adoption period, the adoption, review and enforcement of land development regulations pursuant to this section shall be governed by the provisions of ss. 163.3201, 163.3202, 163.3213, and 163.3215.
History.s. 6, ch. 94-323; s. 116, ch. 96-320; s. 5, ch. 96-348; s. 45, ch. 97-100; s. 24, ch. 98-176; s. 53, ch. 99-8; s. 86, ch. 99-245; s. 61, ch. 2008-4; s. 44, ch. 2011-139; s. 193, ch. 2011-142; s. 16, ch. 2012-99; s. 55, ch. 2014-19.
288.976 Military base closure and reuse.State agencies and departments shall, consistent with their statutory authorities and responsibility:
(1) Consult with the appropriate federal agencies, local governments, and federally recognized community base reuse commissions as early as possible to coordinate information gathering, issue identification, impact assessment, potential land use options, citizen participation, review timelines, and all other aspects of base closure and reuse approvals. Such agencies shall invite federal and local government representatives to attend any agency preapplication conferences related to military base closure or reuse.
(2) Make every effort to avoid duplicate reviews of impacts and, when possible and appropriate, use information analyses, and recommendations generated by the federal environmental impact statement process and the community base reuse plan process in state planning and permitting reviews.
(3) Be authorized to enter into memorandums of agreement with federal agencies in order to facilitate the coordination of reviews.
(4) Designate a person to serve as the agency coordinator for military base closure and reuse matters and notify the Governor in writing of the designation. The Governor shall notify the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the appropriate community base reuse commission chair, and the commanding officer of the affected installation of the appointment.
History.s. 7, ch. 94-323.
288.977 Military base disposition.State agencies or departments having an interest in acquiring or otherwise utilizing property on closed or realigned military bases may apply to acquire or use such property either by utilizing the standard state and local government screening process established in Pub. L. No. 101-510, s. 203, or by applying to a federal agency to use the property as a public benefit conveyance. The agency or department seeking to acquire or use property declared as surplus to the Federal Government by the United States Department of Defense shall provide to the Governor and the appropriate local government or federally recognized community base reuse commission, at the time of application to the Federal Government, a detailed description of the location and of the property as well as the agency’s proposed or anticipated use of the property.
History.s. 8, ch. 94-323.
288.980 Military base retention; legislative intent; grants program.
(1)(a) It is the intent of this state to provide the necessary means to assist communities with military installations in supporting and sustaining those installations. It is further the intent to encourage communities to initiate a coordinated program of response and plan of action in advance of future actions of the federal government relating to realignments and closures. It is critical that communities develop and implement strategies to preserve and protect military installations. The Legislature hereby recognizes that the state needs to coordinate all efforts that can support military installations throughout the state. The Legislature, therefore, declares that providing such assistance to support the defense-related initiatives within this section is a public purpose for which public money may be used.
(b) The Florida Defense Alliance, an organization within the department, is designated as the organization to ensure that Florida, its resident military bases and missions, and its military host communities are in competitive positions as the United States continues its defense realignment and downsizing. The defense alliance shall serve as an overall advisory body for defense-related activity of the department. The Florida Defense Alliance may receive funding from appropriations made for that purpose administered by the department.
(c) The Legislature finds that encroachment of military installations has been identified by local, state, and federal leaders as a critical threat to protecting, preserving, and enhancing military installations in this state. Encroachment can be detrimental to the current and future missions of military installations due to the incompatible use of adjacent land. The Legislature recognizes the unique need to secure lands that have no conservation value, but may present an encroachment threat to a military installation.
(2)(a) The Military Base Protection Program is created. The functions of the Military Base Protection Program include, but are not limited to:
1. Securing nonconservation lands to serve as a buffer to protect military installations against encroachment; and
2. Supporting local community efforts to engage in service partnerships with military installations.
(b)1. The department shall annually request military installations in the state to provide the department with a list of base buffering encroachment lands for fee simple or less-than-fee simple acquisitions before October 1.
2. The department shall submit the list of base buffering encroachment lands to the Florida Defense Support Task Force created in s. 288.987.
3. The Florida Defense Support Task Force shall, annually by December 1, review the list of base buffering encroachment lands submitted by the military installations and provide its recommendations for ranking the lands for acquisition to the department.
4. The department shall annually submit the list of base buffering encroachment lands provided by the Florida Defense Support Task Force to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, which may acquire the lands pursuant to s. 253.025. At a minimum, the annual list must contain for each recommended land acquisition:
a. A legal description of the land and its property identification number;
b. A detailed map of the land; and
c. A management and monitoring agreement to ensure the land serves a base buffering purpose.
(c) As used in this subsection, the term “nonconservation lands” means lands acquired for uses other than conservation, outdoor resource-based recreation, or archaeological or historic preservation.
(d) Funds appropriated to this program may be used to address emergent needs relating to mission sustainment, encroachment reduction or prevention, and base retention. All funds appropriated for the purposes of this program are eligible to be used for matching of federal funds. The department shall coordinate and implement this program.
(3)(a) The department is authorized to award grants on a competitive basis from any funds available to it to support activities related to the Florida Defense Reinvestment Grant Program and the Florida Defense Infrastructure Grant Program.
(b) The term “activities” as used in this section means studies, presentations, analyses, plans, and modeling. For the purposes of the Florida Defense Infrastructure Grant Program, the term “activities” also includes, but is not limited to, construction, land purchases, and easements. Staff salaries are not considered an “activity” for which grant funds may be awarded. Travel costs and costs incidental thereto incurred by a grant recipient shall be considered an “activity” for which grant funds may be awarded.
(c) The department shall require that an applicant:
1. Represent a local government with a military installation or military installations that could be adversely affected by federal actions.
2. Agree to match at least 30 percent of any grant awarded.
3. Prepare a coordinated program or plan of action delineating how the eligible project will be administered and accomplished.
4. Provide documentation describing the potential for changes to the mission of a military installation located in the applicant’s community and the potential impacts such changes will have on the applicant’s community.
(d) In making grant awards the department shall consider, at a minimum, the following factors:
1. The relative value of the particular military installation in terms of its importance to the local and state economy relative to other military installations.
2. The potential job displacement within the local community should the mission of the military installation be changed.
3. The potential impact on industries and technologies which service the military installation.
(4) The Florida Defense Reinvestment Grant Program is established to respond to the need for this state to work in conjunction with defense-dependent communities in developing and implementing strategies and approaches that will help communities support the missions of military installations, and in developing and implementing alternative economic diversification strategies to transition from a defense economy to a nondefense economy. Eligible applicants include defense-dependent counties and cities, and local economic development councils located within such communities. The program shall be administered by the department and grant awards may be provided to support community-based activities that:
(a) Protect existing military installations;
(b) Diversify the economy of a defense-dependent community; or
(c) Develop plans for the reuse of closed or realigned military installations, including any plans necessary for infrastructure improvements needed to facilitate reuse and related marketing activities.

Applications for grants under this subsection must include a coordinated program of work or plan of action delineating how the eligible project will be administered and accomplished, which must include a plan for ensuring close cooperation between civilian and military authorities in the conduct of the funded activities and a plan for public involvement.

(5) The Defense Infrastructure Grant Program is created. The department shall coordinate and implement this program, the purpose of which is to support local infrastructure projects deemed to have a positive impact on the military value of installations within the state. Funds are to be used for projects that benefit both the local community and the military installation. Infrastructure projects to be funded under this program include, but are not limited to, those related to encroachment, transportation and access, utilities, communications, housing, environment, and security. Grant requests will be accepted only from economic development applicants serving in the official capacity of a governing board of a county, municipality, special district, or state agency that will have the authority to maintain the project upon completion. An applicant must represent a community or county in which a military installation is located. There is no limit as to the amount of any grant awarded to an applicant. A match by the county or local community may be required. The program may not be used to fund on-base military construction projects. The department shall establish guidelines to implement the purpose of this subsection.
(6) The department may award nonfederal matching funds specifically appropriated for construction, maintenance, and analysis of a Florida defense workforce database. Such funds will be used to create a registry of worker skills that can be used to match the worker needs of companies that are relocating to this state or to assist workers in relocating to other areas within this state where similar or related employment is available.
(7) Payment of administrative expenses shall be limited to no more than 10 percent of any grants issued pursuant to this section.
(8) The department shall establish guidelines to implement and carry out the purpose and intent of this section.
History.s. 9, ch. 94-323; s. 117, ch. 96-320; s. 6, ch. 96-348; s. 25, ch. 98-176; s. 101, ch. 99-251; s. 5, ch. 2004-230; s. 194, ch. 2011-142; s. 35, ch. 2012-5; s. 84, ch. 2012-96; s. 3, ch. 2012-98; s. 7, ch. 2012-159; s. 40, ch. 2013-15; s. 2, ch. 2013-222; s. 4, ch. 2018-159; s. 99, ch. 2023-173.
288.985 Exemptions from public records and public meetings requirements.
(1) The following records held by the Florida Defense Support Task Force are exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
(a) That portion of a record which relates to strengths and weaknesses of military installations or military missions in this state relative to the selection criteria for the realignment and closure of military bases and missions under any United States Department of Defense base realignment and closure process.
(b) That portion of a record which relates to strengths and weaknesses of military installations or military missions in other states or territories and the vulnerability of such installations or missions to base realignment or closure under the United States Department of Defense base realignment and closure process, and any agreements or proposals to relocate or realign military units and missions from other states or territories.
(c) That portion of a record which relates to the state’s strategy to retain its military bases during any United States Department of Defense base realignment and closure process and any agreements or proposals to relocate or realign military units and missions.
(2)(a) Meetings or portions of meetings of the Florida Defense Support Task Force, or a workgroup of the task force, at which records are presented or discussed that are exempt under subsection (1) are exempt from s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(b) Any records generated during those portions of meetings that are exempt under paragraph (a) are exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
History.s. 1, ch. 2009-156; s. 6, ch. 2012-98; s. 10, ch. 2012-159; s. 1, ch. 2014-185.
288.987 Florida Defense Support Task Force.
(1) The Florida Defense Support Task Force is created.
(2) The mission of the task force is to make recommendations to preserve and protect military installations to support the state’s position in research and development related to or arising out of military missions and contracting, and to improve the state’s military-friendly environment for servicemembers, military dependents, military retirees, and businesses that bring military and base-related jobs to the state.
(3) The task force shall be comprised of the Governor or his or her designee, and 12 members appointed as follows:
(a) Four members appointed by the Governor.
(b) Four members appointed by the President of the Senate.
(c) Four members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(d) Appointed members must represent defense-related industries or communities that host military bases and installations. All appointments must be made by August 1, 2011. Members shall serve for a term of 4 years, with the first term ending July 1, 2015. However, if members of the Legislature are appointed to the task force, those members shall serve until the expiration of their legislative term and may be reappointed once. A vacancy shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term in the same manner as the initial appointment. All members of the council are eligible for reappointment. A member who serves in the Legislature may participate in all task force activities but may only vote on matters that are advisory.
(4) The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall each designate one of their appointees to serve as chair of the task force. The chair shall rotate each July 1. The appointee designated by the President of the Senate shall serve as initial chair. If the Governor, instead of his or her designee, participates in the activities of the task force, then the Governor shall serve as chair.
(5) The Secretary of Economic Opportunity, or his or her designee, shall serve as the ex officio, nonvoting executive director of the task force.
(6) The task force shall submit an annual progress report and work plan to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives each February 1.
(7) The department shall support the task force and contract with the task force for expenditure of appropriated funds, which may be used by the task force for economic and product research and development, joint planning with host communities to accommodate military missions and prevent base encroachment, advocacy on the state’s behalf with federal civilian and military officials, assistance to school districts in providing a smooth transition for large numbers of additional military-related students, job training and placement for military spouses in communities with high proportions of active duty military personnel, and promotion of the state to military and related contractors and employers. The task force may annually spend up to $250,000 of funds appropriated to the department for the task force for staffing and administrative expenses of the task force, including travel and per diem costs incurred by task force members who are not otherwise eligible for state reimbursement.
History.s. 38, ch. 2011-76; s. 47, ch. 2012-96; s. 7, ch. 2012-98; s. 11, ch. 2012-159; s. 9, ch. 2014-218; s. 30, ch. 2021-25; s. 100, ch. 2023-173.
PART XI
MICROFINANCE PROGRAMS
288.993 Short title.
288.9931 Legislative findings and intent.
288.9932 Definitions.
288.9933 Rulemaking authority.
288.9935 Microfinance Guarantee Program.
288.993 Short title.This part may be cited as the “Florida Microfinance Act.”
History.s. 48, ch. 2014-218.
288.9931 Legislative findings and intent.The Legislature finds that the ability of entrepreneurs and small businesses to access capital is vital to the overall health and growth of this state’s economy; however, access to capital is limited by the lack of available credit for entrepreneurs and small businesses in this state. The Legislature further finds that entrepreneurs and small businesses could be assisted through the creation of a program that will provide an avenue for entrepreneurs and small businesses in this state to access credit. Additionally, the Legislature finds that business management training, business development training, and technical assistance are necessary to ensure that entrepreneurs and small businesses that receive credit develop the skills necessary to grow and achieve long-term financial stability. The Legislature intends to expand job opportunities for this state’s workforce by expanding access to credit to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Furthermore, the Legislature intends to avoid duplicating existing programs and to coordinate, assist, augment, and improve access to those programs for entrepreneurs and small businesses in this state.
History.s. 49, ch. 2014-218.
288.9932 Definitions.As used in this part, the term:
(1) “Applicant” means an entrepreneur or small business that applies to a loan administrator for a microloan.
(2) “Entrepreneur” means an individual residing in this state who desires to assume the risk of organizing, managing, and operating a small business in this state.
(3) “Network” means the Florida Small Business Development Center Network.
(4) “Small business” means a business, regardless of corporate structure, domiciled in this state which employs 25 or fewer people and generated average annual gross revenues of $1.5 million or less per year for the preceding 2 years. For the purposes of this part, the identity of a small business is not affected by name changes or changes in personnel.
History.s. 50, ch. 2014-218; s. 113, ch. 2023-173.
288.9933 Rulemaking authority.The department may adopt rules to implement this part.
History.s. 51, ch. 2014-218.
288.9935 Microfinance Guarantee Program.
(1) The Microfinance Guarantee Program is established in the department. The purpose of the program is to stimulate access to credit for entrepreneurs and small businesses in this state by providing targeted guarantees to loans made to such entrepreneurs and small businesses. Funds appropriated to the program must be reinvested and maintained as a long-term and stable source of funding for the program.
(2) As used in this section, the term “lender” means a financial institution as defined in s. 655.005.
(3) The department, to administer the Microfinance Guarantee Program, must, at a minimum:
(a) Establish lender and borrower eligibility requirements in addition to those provided in this section;
(b) Determine a reasonable leverage ratio of loan amounts guaranteed to state funds; however, the leverage ratio may not exceed 3 to 1;
(c) Establish reasonable fees and interest;
(d) Promote the program to financial institutions that provide loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses in order to maximize the number of lenders throughout the state which participate in the program;
(e) Enter into a memorandum of understanding with the network to promote the program to underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses;
(f) Establish limits on the total amount of loan guarantees a single lender can receive;
(g) Establish an average loan guarantee amount for loans guaranteed under this section;
(h) Establish a risk-sharing strategy to be employed in the event of a loan failure; and
(i) Establish financial performance measures and objectives for the program in order to maximize the state funds.
(4) The department is limited to providing loan guarantees for loans with total loan amounts of at least $50,000 and not more than $250,000. A loan guarantee may not exceed 50 percent of the total loan amount.
(5) The department may not guarantee a loan if the direct or indirect purpose or result of the loan would be to:
(a) Pay off any creditors of the applicant, including the refund of a debt owed to a small business investment company organized pursuant to 15 U.S.C. s. 681;
(b) Provide funds, directly or indirectly, for payment, distribution, or as a loan to owners, partners, or shareholders of the applicant’s business, except as ordinary compensation for services rendered;
(c) Finance the acquisition, construction, improvement, or operation of real property which is, or will be, held primarily for sale or investment;
(d) Pay for lobbying activities; or
(e) Replenish funds used for any of the purposes specified in paragraphs (a)-(d).
(6) The department may not use funds appropriated from the state for costs associated with administering the guarantee program.
(7) To be eligible to receive a loan guarantee under the Microfinance Guarantee Program, a borrower must, at a minimum:
(a) Be an entrepreneur or small business located in this state;
(b) Employ 25 or fewer people;
(c) Generate average annual gross revenues of $1.5 million or less per year for the last 2 years; and
(d) Meet any additional requirements established by the department.
(8) The department must, in the department’s report required under s. 20.60(10), include an annual report on the program. The report must, at a minimum, provide:
(a) A comprehensive description of the program, including an evaluation of its application and guarantee activities, recommendations for change, and identification of any other state programs that overlap with the program;
(b) An assessment of the current availability of and access to credit for entrepreneurs and small businesses in this state;
(c) A summary of the financial and employment results of the entrepreneurs and small businesses receiving loan guarantees, including the number of full-time equivalent jobs created as a result of the guaranteed loans and the amount of wages paid to employees in the newly created jobs;
(d) Industry data about the borrowers, including the six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code;
(e) The name and location of lenders that receive loan guarantees;
(f) The number of loan guarantee applications received;
(g) The number, duration, location, and amount of guarantees made;
(h) The number and amount of guaranteed loans outstanding, if any;
(i) The number and amount of guaranteed loans with payments overdue, if any;
(j) The number and amount of guaranteed loans in default, if any;
(k) The repayment history of the guaranteed loans made; and
(l) An evaluation of the program’s ability to meet the financial performance measures and objectives specified in subsection (3).
(9) The credit of the state may not be pledged except for funds appropriated by law to the Microfinance Guarantee Program. The state is not liable or obligated in any way for claims on the program or against the department.
History.s. 53, ch. 2014-218; s. 115, ch. 2023-173.
PART XII
FLORIDA OFFICE OF BROADBAND
288.9961 Promotion of broadband adoption; Florida Office of Broadband.
288.9962 Broadband Opportunity Program.
288.9963 Attachment of broadband facilities to municipal electric utility poles.
288.9961 Promotion of broadband adoption; Florida Office of Broadband.
(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.The Legislature finds that the sustainable adoption of broadband Internet service is critical to the economic and business development of this state and is essential for all residents of this state, libraries, schools, colleges and universities, health care providers, and community organizations.
(2) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Broadband Internet service” means a service that offers a connection to the Internet with a capacity for transmission at a consistent speed of at least 25 megabits per second downstream and 3 megabits per second upstream.
(b) “Department” means the Department of Economic Opportunity.
(c) “Deployed” means that a broadband service provider meets either of the following:
1. Currently provides broadband Internet service in a specific geographic area; or
2. Is able to provide broadband Internet service in a specific geographic area to a customer that requests that service not later than 30 days after the customer requests installation of that service and without an extraordinary commitment of resources or construction charges or fees exceeding an ordinary service activation fee. The 30-day time period shall be extended to 60 days if permits are needed before the broadband Internet service is installed and activated.
(d) “Office” means the Florida Office of Broadband.
(e) “Sustainable adoption” means the ability for communications service providers to offer broadband services in all areas of this state by encouraging adoption and use levels that allow for these services to be offered in the free market absent the need for governmental subsidy.
(f) “Underserved” means a geographic area of this state in which there is no provider of broadband Internet service that offers a connection to the Internet with a capacity for transmission at a consistent speed of at least 100 megabits per second downstream and at least 10 megabits per second upstream.
(g) “Unserved” means a geographic area of this state in which there is no provider of broadband Internet service.
(3) STATE AGENCY.The department is designated as the lead state agency to facilitate the expansion of broadband Internet service in this state. The department shall work collaboratively with private businesses and receive staffing support and other resources from state agencies, local governments, and community organizations.
(4) FLORIDA OFFICE OF BROADBAND.The Florida Office of Broadband is created within the Division of Community Development in the department for the purpose of developing, marketing, and promoting broadband Internet services in this state. The office, in the performance of its duties, shall do all of the following:
(a) Create a strategic plan that has goals and strategies for increasing and improving the availability of, access to, and use of broadband Internet service in this state. In development of the plan, the department shall incorporate applicable federal broadband activities, including any efforts or initiatives of the Federal Communications Commission, to improve broadband Internet service in this state. The plan must identify available federal funding sources for the expansion or improvement of broadband. The strategic plan must be submitted to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by June 30, 2022. The strategic plan must be updated biennially thereafter. The plan must include a process to review and verify public input regarding transmission speeds and availability of broadband Internet service throughout this state.
(b) Build and facilitate local technology planning teams or partnerships with members representing cross-sections of the community, which may include, but are not limited to, representatives from the following organizations and industries: libraries, K-12 education, colleges and universities, local health care providers, private businesses, community organizations, economic development organizations, local governments, tourism, parks and recreation, and agriculture. The local technology planning teams or partnerships shall work with rural communities to help the communities understand their current broadband availability, locate unserved and underserved businesses and residents, identify assets relevant to broadband deployment, build partnerships with broadband service providers, and identify opportunities to leverage assets and reduce barriers to the deployment of broadband Internet services in the community. The teams or partnerships must be proactive in fiscally constrained counties in identifying and providing assistance with applying for federal grants for broadband Internet service.
(c) Provide technical and planning assistance to rural communities.
(d) Encourage the use of broadband Internet service, especially in the rural, unserved, or underserved communities of this state through grant programs having effective strategies to facilitate the statewide deployment of broadband Internet service. For any grants to be awarded, priority must be given to projects that:
1. Provide access to broadband education, awareness, training, access, equipment, and support to libraries, schools, colleges and universities, health care providers, and community support organizations.
2. Encourage the sustainable adoption of broadband Internet service in primarily underserved areas by removing barriers to entry.
3. Work toward encouraging investments in establishing affordable and sustainable broadband Internet service in unserved areas of this state.
4. Facilitate the development of applications, programs, and services, including, but not limited to, telework, telemedicine, and e-learning to increase the usage of, and demand for, broadband Internet service in this state.
(e) Monitor, participate in, and provide input in proceedings of the Federal Communications Commission and other federal agencies related to the geographic availability and deployment of broadband Internet service in this state as necessary to ensure that this information is accurately presented and that rural, unserved, and underserved areas of this state are best positioned to benefit from federal and state broadband deployment programs.
(f) Administer the Broadband Opportunity Program established in s. 288.9962.
(5) ADMINISTRATION.The department may:
(a) Apply for and accept federal funds for purposes of this section.
(b) Enter into contracts necessary or useful to carry out the purposes of this section.
(c) Establish any committee or workgroup to administer and carry out the purposes of this section.
(d) Adopt rules to implement this part.
History.s. 2, ch. 2009-226; s. 5, ch. 2011-36; s. 53, ch. 2012-116; s. 1, ch. 2012-131; s. 2, ch. 2020-26; s. 3, ch. 2021-24; s. 118, ch. 2023-173.
Note.Former s. 364.0135.
288.9962 Broadband Opportunity Program.
(1) The Broadband Opportunity Program is established within the office to award grants to applicants who seek to expand broadband Internet service to unserved areas of this state. The office must administer and act as fiscal agent for the program and is responsible for receiving and reviewing applications and awarding grants.
(2) Subject to appropriation, grants shall be awarded under this section to fund the installation or deployment of infrastructure that supports the provision of broadband Internet service. Grant funds may not be used to install or deploy broadband Internet service to a geographic area in which broadband Internet service is already deployed by at least one provider.
(3) Applicants eligible for grant awards include:
(a) Corporations, limited liability companies, general partnerships, and limited partnerships that are organized under the laws of this state or otherwise authorized to transact business in this state.
(b) Political subdivisions.
(c) Indian tribes.
(4) The office may not award, directly or indirectly, grants under this section to a governmental entity or an educational institution or affiliate to provide broadband Internet service to any residential or commercial premises, unless other broadband Internet service providers have not deployed service to an unserved area.
(5) An eligible applicant shall submit a grant application to the office on a form prescribed by the office. A grant application must include the following information:
(a) A description of the project area.
(b) A description of the kind and amount of broadband Internet service infrastructure that is proposed.
(c) Evidence demonstrating the unserved nature of the project area.
(d) The number of households and businesses that would have access to broadband Internet service as a result of the grant.
(e) A list of significant community institutions that would benefit from the grant.
(f) The total cost of the project and the timeframe in which it would be completed.
(g) A list identifying sources of funding or in-kind contributions that would supplement any awarded grant.
(h) Any other information required by the office.
(6)(a) At least 30 days before the first day grant applications may be submitted each fiscal year, the office shall publish on its website the specific criteria and quantitative scoring system it will use to evaluate or rank grant applications. Such criteria and quantitative scoring system must include the criteria set forth in subsection (8).
(b) Within 3 business days after the close of the grant application process, the office shall publish on its website, from each grant application submitted, the proposed unserved areas to be served and the proposed broadband Internet speeds of the areas to be served.
(c) A broadband Internet service provider that provides existing service in or adjacent to a proposed project area may submit to the office, within 45 days after publication of the information under paragraph (b), a written challenge to an application. The challenge shall contain information demonstrating that:
1. The provider currently has deployed broadband Internet service to retail customers within the project area;
2. The provider has begun construction to provide broadband Internet service to retail customers within the proposed project area within the timeframe proposed by the applicant; or
3. The provider commits to providing broadband Internet service to retail customers within the proposed project area within the timeframe proposed by the applicant.
(d) Within 3 business days after the submission of a written challenge, the office shall notify the applicant, in writing, of the challenge.
(e) The office shall evaluate each challenge submitted under this subsection. If the office determines that the provider currently has deployed, has begun construction to provide, or commits to provide broadband Internet service in the proposed project area, the office may not fund the challenged project.
(f) If the office denies funding to an applicant as a result of a broadband Internet service provider’s challenge and the provider does not fulfill its commitment to provide broadband Internet service in the unserved area, the office may not consider another challenge from the provider for the next two grant application cycles, unless the office determines that the failure to fulfill the commitment was due to circumstances beyond the provider’s control.
(7)(a) In evaluating grant applications and awarding grants, the office must give priority to applications that:
1. Offer broadband Internet service to important community institutions, including, but not limited to, libraries, educational institutions, public safety facilities, and health care facilities;
2. Facilitate the use of telemedicine and electronic health records;
3. Serve economically distressed areas of this state, as measured by indices of unemployment, poverty, or population loss that are significantly greater than the statewide average;
4. Provide for scalability to transmission speeds of at least 100 megabits per second download and 10 megabits per second upload;
5. Include a component to actively promote the adoption of the newly available broadband Internet service in the community;
6. Provide evidence of strong support for the project from citizens, government, businesses, and institutions in the community;
7. Provide access to broadband Internet service to the greatest number of unserved households and businesses;
8. Leverage greater amounts of funding for a project from private sources; or
9. Demonstrate consistency with the strategic plan adopted under s. 288.9961.
(b) The office must endeavor to award grants to qualified applications serving all regions of this state.
(8)(a) The office may not award any grant to an otherwise eligible grant applicant to provide broadband Internet service in a project area for which any other federal funding has been awarded.
(b) A grant awarded under this section may not be used to serve any retail end user that already has access to broadband Internet service.
(c) A grant awarded under this section, when combined with any state or local funds, may not fund more than 50 percent of the total cost of a project.
(d) A single project may not be awarded a grant in excess of $5 million.
(9) For each grant awarded, the office shall enter into an agreement with the applicant. The agreement must specify the total amount of the grant, performance conditions that must be met to obtain the grant, the schedule of payment, and sanctions that would apply for failure to meet performance conditions, including, but not limited to, requiring the return of grant funds.
(10) By January 1, 2023, and each year thereafter, the office shall publish on its website and provide to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives:
(a) A list of all grant applications received during the previous fiscal year and for each application:
1. The results of any quantitative weighting or scoring system the office used to award grants or rank the applications.
2. The grant amounts requested.
3. The grant amounts awarded, if any.
4. A report on the progress of each grant recipient in acquiring and installing infrastructure that supports the provision of broadband Internet service in the project areas for which that grant was awarded and in securing adoption of such service in each project area.
(b) All written challenges filed during the previous year and the results of those challenges.
History.s. 5, ch. 2021-24.
288.9963 Attachment of broadband facilities to municipal electric utility poles.
(1) The Legislature finds that there is a need for increased availability of broadband Internet access throughout this state, particularly in areas where citizens do not have access to acceptable Internet download and upload speeds, or any access at all. The lack of Internet connectivity and widespread broadband availability is detrimental to the growth of the economy, access to telehealth, and educational opportunities. The federal government has provided vast resources for private cable and other broadband providers to expand the deployment of broadband Internet infrastructure in areas where Internet access and broadband Internet services are inadequate or nonexistent.
(2) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Broadband provider” means a person or entity who provides fixed broadband Internet service.
(b) “Broadband service” means a service that provides high speed access to the Internet at a rate of at least 25 megabits per second in the downstream direction and at least 3 megabits per second in the upstream direction.
(c) “Safety and reliability standards” includes all applicable engineering, reliability, and safety standards governing the installation, maintenance, and operation of facilities and poles and the performance of all work in and around electric utility facilities, including particular utility standards made available to a broadband provider, and shall include the most current versions of the National Electric Safety Code, the National Electric Code, and the regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and other reasonable nondiscriminatory safety and engineering requirements, including, but not limited to requirements addressing overloading of electric utility facilities.
(d) “Underserved” means there is no retail access to the Internet at speeds of at least 25 megabits per seconds for downloading and 3 megabits per second for uploading.
(e) “Unserved” means that there is no retail access to the Internet at speeds of at least 10 megabits per seconds for downloading and 1 megabits per second for uploading.
(f) “Wireline attachment” means a wire or cable and associated equipment affixed to a utility pole in the communications space of the pole.
(3) Beginning July 1, 2021, a broadband provider shall receive a promotional rate of $1 per wireline attachment per pole per year for any new attachment necessary to make broadband service available to an unserved or underserved end user within a municipal electric utility service territory for the time period specified in this subsection.
(a) A broadband provider who wishes to make wireline attachments subject to the promotional rate shall submit an application, including a route map, to the municipal electric utility specifying which wireline attachments on which utility poles are necessary to extend broadband service to unserved and underserved end users and therefore qualify for the promotional rate set forth in this subsection, together with such information necessary to identify which unserved or underserved end users within the municipal electric utility’s service territory will gain access to broadband service as a result. A copy of the application and plan shall also be submitted simultaneously to the office.
(b) A municipal electric utility shall report to the office which attachments on which utility poles were made available to broadband providers subject to the promotional rate, together with any information available to it regarding which of its municipal electric utility customers do and do not have access to broadband service and whether they are unserved or underserved.
(c) A broadband provider who makes application for wireline attachments under the promotional rate shall make all reasonable efforts to make broadband service available to the unserved or underserved municipal electric utility customers identified in the application. If a broadband provider fails to make broadband service available to those customers within 12 months, it may be required to pay the prevailing rate for those attachments that failed to make broadband service available to the intended customers.
(d) Except as provided in this section, wireline attachments which are subject to the promotional rate must conform to all other terms and conditions of existing pole attachment agreements between the broadband provider and the municipal electric utility. If no agreement exists, the parties shall have 90 days to enter into a pole attachment agreement for all other terms and conditions of attachment.
(e) The promotional rate of $1 per wireline attachment per pole per year applies to all pole attachments made pursuant to this subsection until July 1, 2024.
(4) All wireline attachments must comply with safety and reliability standards; provided, however, wireline attachments and their replacements, which complied with safety and reliability standards when installed, do not need to be modified to comply with new requirements except as may be necessary for safety reasons, as reasonably determined by the municipal electric utility.
(5) If the municipal electric utility is required to replace a utility pole due to a broadband provider’s attachment, the municipal electric utility may require, as a condition to attachment, that the broadband provider reimburse all reasonable and nondiscriminatory costs attributable solely to the new attachment minus the salvage value of the removed pole, if positive. The municipal electric utility may not require a utility pole to be replaced to accommodate a broadband provider’s attachment except where necessary to comply with applicable engineering and safety standards. With respect to such replacement poles, if the replacement is necessary to correct an existing violation, to bring the pole into compliance with any changes in applicable standards, or because the pole is at the end of its useful life, the replacement cost may not be charged to the broadband provider. As used in this subsection, the term “useful life” means not less than 30 years for wood utility poles and 50 years for concrete, steel, ductile iron, and all other utility poles.
(6) A municipal electric utility may not increase the fees charged to broadband providers for pole attachments between July 1, 2021, and July 31, 2022.
History.s. 6, ch. 2021-24.