Florida Senate - 2013                CS for CS for CS for SB 390
       By the Committees on Judiciary; Criminal Justice; and Military
       and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security; and Senator
       590-03317-13                                           2013390c3
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to veterans’ organizations; defining
    3         terms; prohibiting a business entity from advertising
    4         or holding itself out to the public as a veterans’
    5         organization or similar entity under certain
    6         circumstances; providing that an entity that violates
    7         the restrictions on advertizing violates the Florida
    8         Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act; authorizing
    9         certain veterans’ organizations to enforce the
   10         prohibition against false advertising; providing for
   11         criminal penalties; amending s. 817.312, F.S.;
   12         prohibiting misrepresentation as a service member or
   13         veteran and wearing military or veterans’ uniform,
   14         medal, or insignia; providing an effective date.
   16  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   18         Section 1. (1) As used in this section, the term:
   19         (a) “Business entity” means any corporation, partnership,
   20  limited partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise,
   21  franchise, association, individual, or trust, whether
   22  fictitiously named or not, doing business in this state.
   23         (b) “Veterans’ organization” means a business entity whose
   24  net earnings do not inure to the benefit of any private
   25  shareholder or individual and that exists substantially for one
   26  or more of the following purposes:
   27         1. Promoting the social welfare of the community.
   28         2. Assisting disabled and needy war veterans and members of
   29  the United States Armed Forces and their dependents, and the
   30  widows and orphans of deceased veterans.
   31         3. Providing entertainment, care and assistance to
   32  hospitalized veterans or members of the United States Armed
   33  Forces.
   34         4. Carrying on programs to perpetuate the memory of
   35  deceased veterans and members of the United States Armed Forces,
   36  and to comfort their survivors.
   37         5. Conducting programs for religious, charitable,
   38  scientific, literary, or educational purposes.
   39         6. Providing insurance benefits for their members or
   40  dependents of their members or both.
   41         7. Providing social and recreational activities for their
   42  members.
   43         8. The earnings of the organization are devoted to
   44  charitable, religious, scientific, literary, educational, or
   45  fraternal purposes.
   46         (2)A business entity may not advertise or hold itself out
   47  to the public as a veterans’ organization or similar entity
   48  unless the entity is a veterans’ organization.
   49         (3) A business entity that violates subsection (2) violates
   50  the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act under part
   51  II of chapter 501, Florida Statutes.
   52         (4) Consistent with part II of chapter 501, Florida
   53  Statutes, a veterans’ organization whose membership is limited
   54  to past or present members of the United States Armed Forces,
   55  individuals who are cadets or are spouses, widows, widowers,
   56  ancestors or lineal descendants of past or present members of
   57  the United States Armed Forces or of cadets may bring an action
   58  to obtain a declaratory judgment that a business entity is
   59  violating this section and to enjoin the entity who has
   60  violated, is violating, or is otherwise likely to violate this
   61  section.
   62         (5)A business entity that knowingly and intentionally
   63  represents itself as a veterans’ organization or similar
   64  organization but that does not comply with subsection (2)
   65  commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as
   66  provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, Florida Statutes.
   67         Section 2. Subsection (1) of section 817.312, Florida
   68  Statutes, is amended to read:
   69         817.312 Unlawful use of uniforms, medals, or insignia.—
   70         (1) A person may not misrepresent himself or herself as a
   71  member or veteran of the United States Air Force, United States
   72  Army, United States Coast Guard, United States Marine Corps,
   73  United States Navy, or National Guard or and wear the uniform of
   74  or any medal or insignia authorized for use by members or
   75  veterans of the United States Air Force, United States Army,
   76  United States Coast Guard, United States Marine Corps, United
   77  States Navy, or the National Guard which he or she is not
   78  authorized to wear while soliciting for charitable contributions
   79  or for the purpose of material gain. This section does not
   80  prohibit persons in the theatrical profession from wearing such
   81  uniforms, medals, or insignia while actually engaged in such
   82  profession.
   83         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.