Florida Senate - 2013                                     SB 390
       By Senator Dean
       5-00663-13                                             2013390__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to veterans’ organizations; defining
    3         the terms “business entity,” “veteran,” and “veterans’
    4         organization”; prohibiting a business entity from
    5         holding itself out as a veterans’ organization under
    6         certain circumstances; providing for criminal
    7         penalties; authorizing an affected party to bring a
    8         civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction
    9         against the offending business entity; authorizing the
   10         court to impose a civil penalty of up to $500 and
   11         payment of court costs and reasonable attorney fees;
   12         providing an effective date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. (1) As used in this section, the term:
   17         (a)“Business entity” means any corporation, partnership,
   18  limited partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise,
   19  franchise, association, self-employed individual, or trust,
   20  whether fictitiously named or not, doing business in this state.
   21         (b) “Veteran” has the same meaning as in s. 1.01.
   22         (c) “Veterans organization” means an organization whose
   23  membership is limited to veterans and their families and which
   24  exists primarily to benefit veterans.
   25         (2) A business entity may not hold itself out as a
   26  veterans organization without the business entity proving by
   27  clear and convincing evidence that it operates primarily for the
   28  financial benefit and moral support of veterans and their
   29  families.
   30         (3) A business entity that knowingly and intentionally
   31  violates subsection (2) commits a misdemeanor of the first
   32  degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
   33         (4)In addition to any other penalty or remedy provided by
   34  law, an affected veterans’ organization may bring a civil action
   35  in a court of competent jurisdiction against the offending
   36  business entity to cease and desist its business practices while
   37  holding itself out as a veterans’ organization. Upon an adverse
   38  adjudication, the court may impose a civil penalty of up to $500
   39  and payment of court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred
   40  by the plaintiff.
   41         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.