Florida Senate - 2011                                    SB 1846
       By Senator Thrasher
       8-01489A-11                                           20111846__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail;
    3         providing a short title; providing legislative intent;
    4         providing definitions; requiring the Division of
    5         Recreation and Parks of the Department of
    6         Environmental Protection to supervise the design and
    7         construction of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail;
    8         specifying the locations and the requirements for the
    9         public golf facilities in state parks; requiring the
   10         division to coordinate with Jack Nicklaus and the
   11         company selected to identify state park locations;
   12         authorizing the division to approve additional public
   13         golf facilities; directing the division to initiate a
   14         competitive bidding process for the selection of a
   15         golf course development company to enter into a
   16         contract for the development of public golf facilities
   17         in state parks and for a long-term lease for the
   18         operation of the facilities; specifying the minimum
   19         qualifications for the selected golf course
   20         development company; requiring that the public golf
   21         facilities created pursuant to the act be designed by
   22         Jack Nicklaus; authorizing the issuance of an
   23         alcoholic beverage license to the golf course
   24         development company; preempting the regulation of any
   25         political subdivision, municipality, or agency
   26         concerning the development and operation of the public
   27         golf facilities authorized by the act; authorizing the
   28         division to issue revenue bonds to finance the cost of
   29         the golf courses; specifying requirements for and
   30         limitations on the revenue bonds; providing an
   31         effective date.
   33         WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus has resided in Florida since 1965,
   34  and the Nicklaus family has a long history of involvement in
   35  numerous local charitable activities, including the Nicklaus
   36  Children’s Health Care Foundation, and
   37         WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus was the recipient of the Woodrow
   38  Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, an award given to
   39  executives who demonstrate a commitment to the common good, and
   40  was honored by President George W. Bush with the Presidential
   41  Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to any civilian, and
   42         WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus is one of the greatest golfers of
   43  all times, having won six Masters Golf Tournaments, five PGA
   44  Championships, four U.S. Opens, and three British Opens, having
   45  been honored by Sports Illustrated with its “Best Individual
   46  Male Athlete of the 20th Century” award, and having been named
   47  “One of the 10 Greatest Athletes of the Century” by ESPN and
   48  “The Most Powerful Person in Golf” by Golf, and
   49         WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus has been involved in the design of
   50  nearly 300 golf courses, 63 of which have appeared on national
   51  and international “Top-100” lists, and his business, Nicklaus
   52  Design, has designed courses in 34 countries and 39 states, 90
   53  of which have hosted a combined total of more than 600
   54  professional tournaments and significant national amateur
   55  championships, and
   56         WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus and Nicklaus Design have a long
   57  history of environmental stewardship, with 40 Nicklaus-designed
   58  golf courses certified by Audubon International, and Nicklaus
   59  Design’s Old Greenwood Golf Course in Truckee, California,
   60  winning the Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Award, and
   61         WHEREAS, Jack Nicklaus was the recipient of the prestigious
   62  John James Audubon Special Recognition Award for his
   63  environmentally friendly golf course designs, and
   64         WHEREAS, it is the intent of the Legislature to preserve,
   65  protect, and enhance tourism as a vital part of the state
   66  economy, and
   67         WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that the creation of
   68  environmentally sensitive public golf facilities within state
   69  parks will create jobs, support local tourism-based businesses,
   70  increase state and local revenues, and elevate the state’s
   71  reputation as a premier golf destination capable of hosting
   72  major golf championships, and
   73         WHEREAS, the creation of public golf facilities designed by
   74  Jack Nicklaus is in the public interest and will promote tourism
   75  development, increasing the use of existing state parks by
   76  residents of this state and tourists, NOW, THEREFORE,
   78  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   80         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Jack Nicklaus Golf
   81  Trail of Florida Act.”
   82         Section 2. Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail.—
   83         (1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—It is the intent of the Legislature
   84  to stimulate the growth of tourism and the state economy by
   85  enhancing the state’s reputation as a premier golfing
   86  destination and encouraging the location of public golf
   87  facilities within Florida’s existing state parks through an
   88  efficient, effective, and responsive regulatory process free
   89  from unnecessarily burdensome requirements. The Legislature
   90  finds that the creation of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail will
   91  serve as a tourism-development project that will increase the
   92  use of the existing state parks by residents of this state and
   93  tourists.
   94         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   95         (a) “Department” means the Department of Environmental
   96  Protection.
   97         (b) “Division” means the Division of Recreation and Parks
   98  of the department.
   99         (3) THE JACK NICKLAUS GOLF TRAIL.—
  100         (a) The division shall supervise the design and
  101  construction of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail of Florida. The
  102  Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail of Florida is created to consist of at
  103  least five public golf facilities, each located within one of
  104  the five state park regions specified in s. 258.001, Florida
  105  Statutes.
  106         (b) Each public golf facility shall be located, to the
  107  extent possible, in a state park of at least 3,000 acres in size
  108  which is near interstate highways and major metropolitan areas.
  109  The division shall coordinate with Jack Nicklaus and the company
  110  selected pursuant to subsection (4) to identify state park
  111  locations that meet these criteria.
  112         (c) Each public golf facility must include, at a minimum,
  113  an 18-hole public golf course, a practice area, a clubhouse
  114  having limited food service and parking, and a golf course
  115  maintenance building. The public golf facility must be built in
  116  an environmentally sensitive manner and be open to the general
  117  public. The facility may include a hotel.
  118         (d) The division may approve additional public golf
  119  facilities consistent with the requirements of this section upon
  120  completion of the initial five public golf facilities authorized
  121  in paragraphs (a) and (b). The additional facilities shall be
  122  developed and operated in accordance with this section.
  124         (a) The division shall, subject to a competitive
  125  procurement process, select a golf course development company to
  126  enter into a contract for the development of the public golf
  127  facilities and a long-term lease for the operation of the
  128  facilities. In selecting the company, the division must consider
  129  whether the company meets all of the following minimum
  130  qualifications:
  131         1. It is an entity authorized to conduct business in this
  132  state.
  133         2. It demonstrates that operation of the Jack Nicklaus Golf
  134  Trail will generate revenues sufficient to pay the revenue bonds
  135  authorized by this section.
  136         3. It demonstrates through an independent analysis or study
  137  that the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail will promote tourism and
  138  increase the use of state parks by residents and tourists.
  139         4. It demonstrates at least 20 years of experience in the
  140  successful development and operation of public and private golf
  141  facilities that have received accolades and awards from
  142  reputable national organizations.
  143         5. It demonstrates experience in successful development of
  144  golf facilities within the state parks of at least one other
  145  state which have received accolades and awards from reputable
  146  national organizations.
  147         6. It includes, as part of its application, a certification
  148  that Jack Nicklaus has agreed to work with the company on the
  149  design and construction of the public golf facilities.
  150         (b) The public golf facilities created pursuant to this
  151  section must be designed by Jack Nicklaus. Upon selection of the
  152  company, the division shall enter into a contract for the
  153  development of the facilities and a long-term lease for their
  154  operation by the company.
  155         (c) The company selected pursuant to this section must
  156  adhere to standards approved by Jack Nicklaus to maintain the
  157  quality of the public golf facilities.
  158         (5) ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE LICENSE.—Notwithstanding any
  159  provision of law to the contrary, the company selected pursuant
  160  to subsection (4) is eligible for issuance of an alcoholic
  161  beverage license pursuant to s. 561.20(7), Florida Statutes.
  162         (6)SUPERSEDED LAWS AND REGULATIONS.—The state, by the
  163  enactment of this section, expressly preempts the regulation of
  164  any political subdivision, municipality, or agency concerning
  165  the development and operation of the public golf facilities
  166  authorized by this section.
  167         (7) REVENUE BONDS.—
  168         (a) The state may issue bonds pursuant to the State Bond
  169  Act, ss. 215.57-215.83, Florida Statutes, for the purpose of
  170  paying all or any part of the cost of any one or more approved
  171  public golf facilities within the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail. The
  172  principal of, and the interest on, such bonds must be payable
  173  solely from revenues pledged for their payment from operation of
  174  the public golf facilities.
  175         (b) The proceeds of the bonds of each issue may be used
  176  only for the payment of the cost of the public golf facilities
  177  for which such bonds shall have been issued, except as provided
  178  in the State Bond Act. The proceeds shall be disbursed and used
  179  as provided by this section and in such manner and under such
  180  restrictions, if any, as the Division of Bond Finance may
  181  provide in the resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds.
  182  All revenues and bond proceeds from the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail
  183  received by the department pursuant to this section may be used
  184  only for the cost of golf course construction projects and
  185  improvements and for the administration, operation, maintenance,
  186  and financing of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail. Revenues or bond
  187  proceeds from the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail may be spent only for
  188  the operation, maintenance, construction, or financing of a
  189  project that is part of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail.
  190         (c) The Division of Bond Finance may issue revenue bonds on
  191  behalf of the department to finance or refinance the cost of
  192  golf course projects within the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail of
  193  Florida pursuant to s. 11, Article VII of the State
  194  Constitution.
  195         Section 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.