Florida Senate - 2013 CS for CS for SB 390 By the Committees on Criminal Justice; and Military Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security; and Senator Dean 591-01688-13 2013390c2 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to misrepresentations concerning 3 solicitations for military or veterans; defining 4 terms; prohibiting a business entity from holding 5 itself out as a veterans’ organization under certain 6 circumstances; authorizing an affected veterans’ 7 organization to bring a civil action in a court of 8 competent jurisdiction against the offending business 9 entity; authorizing the court to impose a civil 10 penalty of up to $500 and payment of court costs and 11 reasonable attorney fees; providing for criminal 12 penalties; amending s. 817.312, F.S.; prohibiting 13 misrepresentation as a service member or veteran and 14 wearing military or veterans’ uniform, medal, or 15 insignia; providing an effective date. 16 17 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 18 19 Section 1. (1) As used in this section, the term: 20 (a) “Business entity” means any corporation, partnership, 21 limited partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, 22 franchise, association, individual, or trust, whether 23 fictitiously named or not, doing business in this state. 24 (b) “Veteran” has the same meaning as in s. 1.01, Florida 25 Statutes. 26 (c) “Veterans’ organization” means an organization which 27 exists primarily to benefit veterans or their families. 28 (2) Any veterans’ organization whose membership is limited 29 to veterans and their families that has reason to believe that a 30 business entity that holds itself out as a veterans’ 31 organization does not in fact operate primarily for the 32 financial benefit and moral support of veterans or their 33 families may bring a civil action in a court of competent 34 jurisdiction for an injunction prohibiting the offending 35 business from continuing its business practices while holding 36 itself out as a veterans’ organization. The court may also 37 impose a civil penalty of up to $500 against the defendant and 38 award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the plaintiff. 39 (3) In a civil action brought under subsection (2), the 40 defendant has the burden of proof to show by clear and 41 convincing evidence that it does in fact operate primarily for 42 the financial benefit and moral support of veterans or their 43 families. 44 (4) A business entity that knowingly and intentionally 45 represents itself as a veterans’ organization but that does not 46 in fact operate primarily for the financial benefit and moral 47 support of veterans or their families commits a misdemeanor of 48 the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 49 775.083, Florida Statutes. 50 (5) This section does not affect the availability of any 51 other civil or criminal action or the imposition of any other 52 civil remedy or criminal penalty that is authorized by another 53 statute. 54 Section 2. Subsection (1) of section 817.312, Florida 55 Statutes, is amended to read: 56 817.312 Unlawful use of uniforms, medals, or insignia.— 57 (1) A person may not misrepresent himself or herself as a 58 member or veteran of the United States Air Force, United States 59 Army, United States Coast Guard, United States Marine Corps, 60 United States Navy, or National Guard or
andwear the uniform of 61 or any medal or insignia authorized for use by members or 62 veterans of the United States Air Force, United States Army, 63 United States Coast Guard, United States Marine Corps, United 64 States Navy, or the National Guard which he or she is not 65 authorized to wear while soliciting for charitable contributions 66 or for the purpose of material gain. This section does not 67 prohibit persons in the theatrical profession from wearing such 68 uniforms, medals, or insignia while actually engaged in such 69 profession. 70 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.