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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XXX
Chapter 427
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F.S. 427.705
427.705 Administration of the telecommunications access system.
(1) Consistent with the provisions of this act and rules and regulations established by the commission, the administrator shall:
(a) Purchase, store, distribute, and maintain specialized telecommunications devices, either directly or through contract with third parties, or a combination thereof.
(b) Administer advertising and outreach services as required by the commission, either directly or through contract with third parties, or a combination thereof.
(c) Administer training services for recipients of specialized telecommunications devices and for telecommunications relay service users as directed by the commission through contract with third parties.
(d) Establish and maintain an operational fund with appropriate financial institutions regulated under state or federal law, and receive moneys from the local exchange telecommunications companies and deposit such moneys in the operational fund.
(e) Develop, test, and implement an accounting system and internal controls and procedures to receive, safeguard, and disperse moneys in the operational fund as directed by the commission.
(f) Develop and implement procedures for an independent audit and for compliance with commission reporting requirements, as directed by the commission.
(g) Administer and control the award of money to all parties incurring costs in implementing and maintaining the telecommunications access system, equipment, and technical support services in accordance with the provisions of this act.
(2) The administrator shall be audited annually by an independent auditing firm to assure proper management of any revenues it receives and disburses. The administrator’s books and records shall be open to the commission and to the Auditor General for review upon request. The commission shall have the authority to establish fiscal and operational requirements for the administrator to follow in order to ensure that the administrative costs of the system are reasonable.
(3) The administrator may apply to the commission for an adjustment in the amount of the monthly surcharge that a local exchange telecommunications company must impose on its customers. Prior to applying to the commission for such an adjustment, the commission may require the administrator to employ an independent accounting firm to perform an audit of the accounts of the administrator and the service providers relevant to the surcharge and file a report with the commission.
(4) In contracting for the provision of distribution of specialized telecommunications devices, outreach services, and training of recipients, the administrator shall consider contracting with organizations that provide services to persons who are hearing impaired or speech impaired.
(5) The administrator shall provide for the distribution of specialized telecommunications devices to persons qualified to receive such equipment in accordance with the provisions of this act. The administrator shall establish procedures for the distribution of specialized telecommunications devices and shall solicit the advice and counsel and consider the recommendations of the advisory committee in establishing such procedures. The procedures shall:
(a) Provide for certification of persons as hearing impaired, speech impaired, or dual sensory impaired. Such certification process shall include a statement attesting to such impairment by a licensed physician, audiologist, speech-language pathologist, hearing aid specialist, or deaf service center director; by a state-certified teacher of the hearing impaired; by a state-certified teacher of the visually impaired; or by an appropriate state or federal agency. The licensed physician, audiologist, speech-language pathologist, hearing aid specialist, state-certified teacher of the hearing impaired, or state-certified teacher of the visually impaired providing statements which attest to such impairments shall work within their individual scopes of practice according to their education and training. The deaf service center directors and appropriate state and federal agencies shall attest to such impairments as provided for in the procedures developed by the administrator.
(b) Establish characteristics and performance standards for specialized telecommunications devices determined to be necessary, and for the selection of equipment to be purchased for distribution to qualified recipients. The characteristics and standards shall be modified as advances in equipment technology render such standards inapplicable.
(c) Provide for the administrator to apply for, contract for, receive, and expend for the purposes of this part any appropriation, grant, gift, or donation from the Federal Government or any other public or private source.
(d) Require the administrator to purchase the equipment required by this part on a competitively bid basis, so that the best value per unit may be obtained on the equipment selected for purchase, unless the equipment is available from only one source, or the total amount of the subject transaction does not exceed $5,000.
(6) All names, addresses, and telephone numbers provided to the Florida Public Service Commission or administrator by applicants for specialized telecommunications devices are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1). The information shall be released to contractors only to the extent necessary for assignment and shipment of equipment, for provision of training in the use of equipment, and for inventory reconciliation purposes. Neither the administrator or any contractor shall release this information nor use it for any other purpose.
(7) The administrator shall assume responsibility for distribution of specialized telecommunications devices.
(8) The administrator shall submit financial statements to the commission quarterly, in the manner prescribed by the commission.
History.s. 1, ch. 91-111; s. 1, ch. 92-2; s. 278, ch. 96-406; s. 52, ch. 99-5; s. 12, ch. 2000-334.