Florida Senate - 2013                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 222
                                Barcode 448460                          
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                   Comm: TP            .                                
                  03/29/2013           .                                

       Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and
       Economic Development (Latvala) recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Effective January 1, 2014, paragraph (a) of
    6  subsection (4) of section 443.151, Florida Statutes, is amended
    7  to read:
    8         (4) APPEALS.—
    9         (a) Appeals referees.—The Department of Economic
   10  Opportunity shall appoint one or more impartial salaried appeals
   11  referees in accordance with s. 443.171(3) to hear and decide
   12  appealed claims. An appeals referee must be an attorney in good
   13  standing with the Florida Bar, or must be successfully admitted
   14  to the Florida Bar within 8 months of his or her date of
   15  employment with the department. A person may not participate on
   16  behalf of the department as an appeals referee in any case in
   17  which she or he is an interested party. The department may
   18  designate alternates to serve in the absence or disqualification
   19  of any appeals referee on a temporary basis. These alternates
   20  must have the same qualifications required of appeals referees.
   21  The department shall provide the commission and the appeals
   22  referees with proper facilities and assistance for the execution
   23  of their functions.
   24         Section 2. A person who is an employee of the Department of
   25  Economic Opportunity as of the effective date of this act who
   26  acts as an appeals referee and who has received the degree of
   27  Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor from a law school accredited by
   28  the American Bar Association, but is not licensed with the
   29  Florida Bar, must become successfully admitted to the Florida
   30  Bar by September 30, 2014.
   31         Section 3. Paragraphs (a) and (e) of subsection (30) of
   32  section 443.036, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   33         443.036 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
   34         (30) “Misconduct,” irrespective of whether the misconduct
   35  occurs at the workplace or during working hours, includes, but
   36  is not limited to, the following, which may not be construed in
   37  pari materia with each other:
   38         (a) Conduct demonstrating conscious disregard of an
   39  employer’s interests and found to be a deliberate violation or
   40  disregard of the reasonable standards of behavior which the
   41  employer expects of his or her employee. Such conduct may
   42  include, but is not limited to, willful damage to an employer’s
   43  property that results in damage of more than $50; or theft of
   44  employer property or property of a customer or invitee of the
   45  employer.
   46         (e)1. A violation of an employer’s rule, unless the
   47  claimant can demonstrate that:
   48         a.1. He or she did not know, and could not reasonably know,
   49  of the rule’s requirements;
   50         b.2. The rule is not lawful or not reasonably related to
   51  the job environment and performance; or
   52         c.3. The rule is not fairly or consistently enforced.
   53         2. Such conduct may include, but is not limited to,
   54  committing criminal assault or battery on another employee, or
   55  on a customer or invitee of the employer; or committing abuse or
   56  neglect of a patient, resident, disabled person, elderly person,
   57  or child in her or his professional care.
   58         Section 4. Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section
   59  443.091, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   60         443.091 Benefit eligibility conditions.—
   61         (1) An unemployed individual is eligible to receive
   62  benefits for any week only if the Department of Economic
   63  Opportunity finds that:
   64         (d) She or he is able to work and is available for work. In
   65  order to assess eligibility for a claimed week of unemployment,
   66  the department shall develop criteria to determine a claimant’s
   67  ability to work and availability for work. A claimant must be
   68  actively seeking work in order to be considered available for
   69  work. This means engaging in systematic and sustained efforts to
   70  find work, including contacting at least five prospective
   71  employers for each week of unemployment claimed. The department
   72  may require the claimant to provide proof of such efforts to the
   73  one-stop career center as part of reemployment services. A
   74  claimant’s proof of efforts may not include the same prospective
   75  employer at the same location for the duration of benefits,
   76  unless the employer has indicated since the time of the initial
   77  contact that the employer is hiring. The department shall
   78  conduct random reviews of work search information provided by
   79  claimants. As an alternative to contacting at least five
   80  prospective employers for any week of unemployment claimed, a
   81  claimant may, for that same week, report in person to a one-stop
   82  career center to meet with a representative of the center and
   83  access reemployment services of the center. The center shall
   84  keep a record of the services or information provided to the
   85  claimant and shall provide the records to the department upon
   86  request by the department. However:
   87         1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this paragraph or
   88  paragraphs (b) and (e), an otherwise eligible individual may not
   89  be denied benefits for any week because she or he is in training
   90  with the approval of the department, or by reason of s.
   91  443.101(2) relating to failure to apply for, or refusal to
   92  accept, suitable work. Training may be approved by the
   93  department in accordance with criteria prescribed by rule. A
   94  claimant’s eligibility during approved training is contingent
   95  upon satisfying eligibility conditions prescribed by rule.
   96         2. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, an
   97  otherwise eligible individual who is in training approved under
   98  s. 236(a)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, may not be
   99  determined ineligible or disqualified for benefits due to
  100  enrollment in such training or because of leaving work that is
  101  not suitable employment to enter such training. As used in this
  102  subparagraph, the term “suitable employment” means work of a
  103  substantially equal or higher skill level than the worker’s past
  104  adversely affected employment, as defined for purposes of the
  105  Trade Act of 1974, as amended, the wages for which are at least
  106  80 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage as determined for
  107  purposes of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended.
  108         3. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an
  109  otherwise eligible individual may not be denied benefits for any
  110  week because she or he is before any state or federal court
  111  pursuant to a lawfully issued summons to appear for jury duty.
  112         4. Union members who customarily obtain employment through
  113  a union hiring hall may satisfy the work search requirements of
  114  this paragraph by reporting daily to their union hall.
  115         5. The work search requirements of this paragraph do not
  116  apply to persons who are unemployed as a result of a temporary
  117  layoff or who are claiming benefits under an approved short-time
  118  compensation plan as provided in s. 443.1116.
  119         6. In small counties as defined in s. 120.52(19), a
  120  claimant engaging in systematic and sustained efforts to find
  121  work must contact at least three prospective employers for each
  122  week of unemployment claimed.
  123         7. The work search requirements of this paragraph do not
  124  apply to persons required to participate in reemployment
  125  services under paragraph (e).
  126         Section 5. Subsection (13) is added to section 443.101,
  127  Florida Statutes, to read:
  128         443.101 Disqualification for benefits.—An individual shall
  129  be disqualified for benefits:
  130         (13) For any week with respect to which the department
  131  finds that his or her unemployment is due to a discharge from
  132  employment for failure without good cause to maintain a license,
  133  registration, or certification required by applicable law
  134  necessary for the employee to perform her or his assigned job
  135  duties. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “good cause”
  136  includes, but is not limited to, failure of the employer to
  137  submit information required for a license, registration, or
  138  certification; short-term physical injury which prevents the
  139  employee from completing or taking a required test; and
  140  inability to take or complete a required test that is outside
  141  the employee’s control.
  142         Section 6. Subsection (5) of section 443.131, Florida
  143  Statutes, is amended to read:
  144         443.131 Contributions.—
  146         (a) When the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund has
  147  received advances from the Federal Government under the
  148  provisions of 42 U.S.C. s. 1321, each contributing employer
  149  shall be assessed an additional rate solely for the purpose of
  150  paying interest due on such federal advances. The additional
  151  rate shall be assessed no later than February 1 in each calendar
  152  year in which an interest payment is due.
  153         (b) The Revenue Estimating Conference shall estimate the
  154  amount of such interest due on federal advances no later than
  155  December 1 of the calendar year preceding the calendar year in
  156  which an interest payment is due. The Revenue Estimating
  157  Conference shall, at a minimum, consider the following as the
  158  basis for the estimate:
  159         1. The amounts actually advanced to the trust fund.
  160         2. Amounts expected to be advanced to the trust fund based
  161  on current and projected unemployment patterns and employer
  162  contributions.
  163         3. The interest payment due date.
  164         4. The interest rate that will be applied by the Federal
  165  Government to any accrued outstanding balances.
  166         (c)(b)The tax collection service provider shall calculate
  167  the additional rate to be assessed against contributing
  168  employers. The additional rate assessed for a calendar year
  169  shall be determined by dividing the estimated amount of interest
  170  to be paid in that year by 95 percent of the taxable wages as
  171  described in s. 443.1217 paid by all employers for the year
  172  ending June 30 of the immediately preceding calendar year. The
  173  amount to be paid by each employer shall be the product obtained
  174  by multiplying such employer’s taxable wages as described in s.
  175  443.1217 for the year ending June 30 of the immediately
  176  preceding calendar year by the rate as determined by this
  177  subsection. If the amount of assessments on deposit from
  178  previous years, plus any earned interest, is at least 80 percent
  179  of the estimated amount of interest, then an assessment may not
  180  be made.
  181         (d) The tax collection service provider shall make a
  182  separate collection of such assessment, which may be collected
  183  at the time of employer contributions and subject to the same
  184  penalties for failure to file a report, imposition of the
  185  standard rate pursuant to paragraph (3)(h), and interest if the
  186  assessment is not received on or before June 30. Section
  187  443.141(1)(d) and (e) does not apply to this separately
  188  collected assessment. The tax collection service provider shall
  189  maintain those funds in the tax collection service provider’s
  190  Audit and Warrant Clearing Trust Fund until the provider is
  191  directed by the Governor or the Governor’s designee to make the
  192  interest payment to the Federal Government. Assessments on
  193  deposit shall be available to pay the interest on advances
  194  received from the Federal Government under 42 U.S.C. s. 1321.
  195  Assessments on deposit may be invested and any interest earned
  196  shall be part of the balance available to pay the interest on
  197  advances received from the Federal Government under 42 U.S.C. s.
  198  1321.
  199         (e) Four months after In the calendar year that all
  200  advances from the Federal Government under 42 U.S.C. s. 1321 and
  201  associated interest are repaid, if there are assessment funds in
  202  excess of the amount required to meet the final interest
  203  payment, any such excess assessed funds in the Audit and Warrant
  204  Clearing Trust Fund, including associated interest, shall be
  205  transferred to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund credited
  206  to employer accounts in the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund
  207  in an amount equal to the employer’s contribution to the
  208  assessment for that year divided by the total amount of the
  209  assessment for that year, the result of which is multiplied by
  210  the amount of excess assessed funds. Any assessment amounts
  211  subsequently collected shall also be transferred to the
  212  Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.
  213         (f)However, If the state is permitted to defer interest
  214  payments due during a calendar year under 42 U.S.C. s. 1322,
  215  payment of the interest assessment shall not be due. If a
  216  deferral of interest expires or is subsequently disallowed by
  217  the Federal Government, either prospectively or retroactively,
  218  the interest assessment shall be immediately due and payable.
  219  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if interest
  220  due during a calendar year on federal advances is forgiven or
  221  postponed under federal law and is no longer due during that
  222  calendar year, no interest assessment shall be assessed against
  223  an employer for that calendar year, and any assessment already
  224  assessed and collected against an employer before the
  225  forgiveness or postponement of the interest for that calendar
  226  year shall be credited to such employer’s account in the
  227  Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund. However, such funds may be
  228  used only to pay benefits or refunds of erroneous contributions.
  229         (g) This subsection expires July 1, 2014.
  230         Section 7. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
  231  act and except for this section, which shall take effect upon
  232  this act becoming a law, this act shall take effect July 1,
  233  2013.
  235  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  236         And the title is amended as follows:
  237         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  238  and insert:
  239                        A bill to be entitled                      
  240         An act relating to reemployment assistance; amending
  241         s. 443.151, F.S.; requiring an appeals referee to be
  242         an attorney in good standing with the Florida Bar or
  243         successfully admitted within 8 months of hire;
  244         providing for a person who is an appeals referee as of
  245         the effective date of this act to become licensed by
  246         the Florida Bar by September 30, 2014; amending s.
  247         443.036, F.S.; providing examples of misconduct;
  248         amending s. 443.091, F.S.; limiting a claimant’s use
  249         of the same prospective employer to meet work search
  250         requirements; providing an exception; providing that
  251         work search requirements do not apply to individuals
  252         required to participate in reemployment services;
  253         amending s. 443.101, F.S.; providing for
  254         disqualification in any week with respect to which the
  255         department finds that his or her unemployment is due
  256         to failure without good cause to maintain a license,
  257         registration, or certification required by applicable
  258         law necessary for the employee to perform her or his
  259         assigned job duties; providing examples of “good
  260         cause”; amending s. 443.131, F.S.; requiring the tax
  261         collection service provider to calculate a certain
  262         additional rate; providing for when an assessment may
  263         not be made; requiring assessments to be available to
  264         pay interest on federal advances; requiring certain
  265         excess funds to be transferred to the Unemployment
  266         Compensation Trust Fund after a certain time period;
  267         deleting the provision referring to crediting employer
  268         accounts; providing an expiration date; providing
  269         effective dates.