Florida Senate - 2015              PROPOSED COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE
       Bill No. SB 7076
       Proposed Committee Substitute by the Committee on Fiscal Policy
       (Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government)
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to military and veteran support;
    3         amending s. 288.980, F.S.; revising the definition of
    4         the term “activities”; removing the requirement that
    5         an applicant to the Defense Infrastructure Grant
    6         Program provide matching funds of a certain amount;
    7         amending s. 292.10, F.S.; revising the categories of
    8         veterans eligible to receive assistance from local
    9         governing bodies; amending s. 455.213, F.S.; requiring
   10         the Department of Business and Professional Regulation
   11         to waive initial professional licensing fees for a
   12         veteran who has received a general discharge under
   13         honorable conditions; requiring the Department of
   14         Veterans’ Affairs to create, in consultation with the
   15         Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, a
   16         section in the Florida Veterans’ Benefits Guide on
   17         agricultural farming opportunities for veterans;
   18         prescribing requirements; requiring the Department of
   19         Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Department
   20         of Military Affairs to create a pilot program for
   21         commercial driver license testing for qualified
   22         members of the Florida National Guard by a specified
   23         date; requiring that such testing be conducted at
   24         certain locations; providing for funding; providing an
   25         effective date.
   27  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   29         Section 1. Subsections (3) and (4) of section 288.980,
   30  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   31         288.980 Military base retention; legislative intent; grants
   32  program.—
   33         (3)(a) The department is authorized to award grants on a
   34  competitive basis from any funds available to it to support
   35  activities related to the Florida Defense Reinvestment Grant
   36  Program and the Florida Defense Infrastructure Grant Program.
   37         (b) As used in this section, the term “activities” as used
   38  in this section means studies, presentations, analyses, plans,
   39  and modeling. For the purposes of the Florida Defense
   40  Reinvestment Grant Program, the term also includes, but is not
   41  limited to, economic development grants provided to businesses
   42  in defense-dependent communities. For the purposes of the
   43  Florida Defense Infrastructure Grant Program, the term
   44  “activities” also includes, but is not limited to, construction,
   45  land purchases, and easements. Staff salaries are not considered
   46  an “activity” for which grant funds may be awarded. Travel costs
   47  and costs incidental thereto incurred by a grant recipient shall
   48  be considered an “activity” for which grant funds may be
   49  awarded.
   50         (c) The department shall require that an applicant:
   51         1. Represent a local government with a military
   52  installation or military installations that could be adversely
   53  affected by federal actions.
   54         2. Agree to match at least 30 percent of any grant awarded.
   55         3. Prepare a coordinated program or plan of action
   56  delineating how the eligible project will be administered and
   57  accomplished.
   58         3.4. Provide documentation describing the potential for
   59  changes to the mission of a military installation located in the
   60  applicant’s community and the potential impacts such changes
   61  will have on the applicant’s community.
   62         (d) In making grant awards the department shall consider,
   63  at a minimum, the following factors:
   64         1. The relative value of the particular military
   65  installation in terms of its importance to the local and state
   66  economy relative to other military installations.
   67         2. The potential job displacement within the local
   68  community should the mission of the military installation be
   69  changed.
   70         3. The potential impact on industries and technologies
   71  which service the military installation.
   72         (4) The Florida Defense Reinvestment Grant Program is
   73  established to respond to the need for this state to work in
   74  conjunction with defense-dependent communities in developing and
   75  implementing strategies and approaches that will help
   76  communities support the missions of military installations, and
   77  in developing and implementing alternative economic
   78  diversification strategies to transition from a defense economy
   79  to a nondefense economy. Eligible applicants include defense
   80  dependent counties and cities, and local economic development
   81  councils located within such communities. The program shall be
   82  administered by the department and grant awards may be provided
   83  to support community-based activities that:
   84         (a) Protect existing military installations;
   85         (b) Diversify or grow the economy of a defense-dependent
   86  community; or
   87         (c) Develop plans for the reuse of closed or realigned
   88  military installations, including any plans necessary for
   89  infrastructure improvements needed to facilitate reuse and
   90  related marketing activities.
   92  Applications for grants under this subsection must include a
   93  coordinated program of work or plan of action delineating how
   94  the eligible project will be administered and accomplished,
   95  which must include a plan for ensuring close cooperation between
   96  civilian and military authorities in the conduct of the funded
   97  activities and a plan for public involvement. An applicant must
   98  agree to match at least 30 percent of any grant awarded.
   99         Section 2. Section 292.10, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  100  read:
  101         292.10 Local governing bodies authorized to assist war
  102  veterans; powers.—The board of county commissioners of each
  103  county and the governing body of each city in the state are
  104  authorized hereby granted full and complete power and authority
  105  to aid and assist wherever practical and feasible the veterans,
  106  male and female, who have served in the Armed Forces of the
  107  United States in any war, and received an honorable discharge,
  108  or received a general discharge under honorable conditions from
  109  any branch of the military service of the United States, and
  110  their dependents, in presenting claims for and securing such
  111  compensation, hospitalization, education, loans, career
  112  training, and other benefits or privileges to which said
  113  veterans, or any of them, are or may become entitled under any
  114  federal or state law or regulation by reason of their service in
  115  the Armed Forces of the United States.
  116         Section 3. Subsection (12) of section 455.213, Florida
  117  Statutes, is amended to read:
  118         455.213 General licensing provisions.—
  119         (12) The department shall waive the initial licensing fee,
  120  the initial application fee, and the initial unlicensed activity
  121  fee for a military veteran or his or her spouse at the time of
  122  discharge, if he or she applies to the department for a license,
  123  in a format prescribed by the department, within 60 months after
  124  the veteran is discharged from any branch of the United States
  125  Armed Forces. To qualify for this waiver, the veteran must have
  126  been honorably discharged or received a general discharge under
  127  honorable conditions.
  128         Section 4. Agricultural farming opportunities for
  129  veterans.—
  130         (1) The Department of Veterans’ Affairs, through the
  131  direct-support organization established under s. 292.055,
  132  Florida Statutes, and in consultation with the Department of
  133  Agriculture and Consumer Services, shall include a section in
  134  the Florida Veterans’ Benefits Guide on agricultural farming
  135  opportunities in this state for veterans of the Armed Forces of
  136  the United States. The section must, at a minimum, include
  137  information on:
  138         (a) Federal, state, and local agricultural farming
  139  programs, incentives, assistance, and grants that are available
  140  to veterans.
  141         (b) Federal and state agricultural farming outreach and
  142  advocacy programs that are available to veterans.
  143         (2) The Department of Veterans’ Affairs shall:
  144         (a) Make the guides available to all military installations
  145  in this state.
  146         (b) Provide a concise description of the contents of the
  147  section and a link to the section on its website.
  148         Section 5. No later than June 30, 2016, the Department of
  149  Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Department of Military
  150  Affairs shall jointly create a pilot program to provide
  151  opportunities for commercial driver license testing to qualified
  152  members of the Florida National Guard through the commercial
  153  driver license skills test waiver available under s. 322.12,
  154  Florida Statutes. Testing held pursuant to the pilot program
  155  must be conducted at a Florida National Guard armory, an Armed
  156  Forces Reserve Center, or the Camp Blanding Joint Training
  157  Center. The pilot program must be administered using existing
  158  funds appropriated to each department.
  159         Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.