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. 12 13 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 14 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.