Florida Senate - 2013                              CS for SB 390
       By the Committee on Military Affairs, Space, and Domestic
       Security; and Senator Dean
       583-01567-13                                           2013390c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to veterans’ organizations; defining
    3         terms; prohibiting a business entity from holding
    4         itself out as a veterans’ organization under certain
    5         circumstances; authorizing an affected veterans’
    6         organization to bring a civil action in a court of
    7         competent jurisdiction against the offending business
    8         entity; authorizing the court to impose a civil
    9         penalty of up to $500 and payment of court costs and
   10         reasonable attorney fees; providing for criminal
   11         penalties; providing an effective date.
   13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   15         Section 1. (1) As used in this section, the term:
   16         (a) “Business entity” means any corporation, partnership,
   17  limited partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise,
   18  franchise, association, self-employed individual, or trust,
   19  whether fictitiously named or not, doing business in this state.
   20         (b) “Veteran” has the same meaning as in s. 1.01, Florida
   21  Statutes.
   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) Any veterans’ organization that has reason to believe
   26  that a business entity that holds itself out as a veterans’
   27  organization does not in fact operate primarily for the
   28  financial benefit and moral support of veterans and their
   29  families may bring a civil action in a court of competent
   30  jurisdiction against the offending business entity to cease and
   31  desist its business practices while holding itself out as a
   32  veterans’ organization. Upon an adverse adjudication, the court
   33  also may impose a civil penalty of up to $500 and payment of
   34  court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the
   35  plaintiff. In such an action, the defendant has the burden of
   36  proof to show clear and convincing evidence that it does in fact
   37  operate primarily for the financial benefit and moral support of
   38  veterans and their families.
   39         (3) A business entity that knowingly and intentionally
   40  violates subsection (2) commits a misdemeanor of the first
   41  degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083,
   42  Florida Statutes.
   43         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.