Florida Senate - 2015                                    SB 7076
       By the Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and
       Domestic Security
       583-03205-15                                          20157076__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to military and veteran support;
    3         amending s. 288.980, F.S.; removing the requirement
    4         that an applicant to the Defense Infrastructure Grant
    5         Program provide matching funds of a certain amount;
    6         amending s. 292.10, F.S.; revising the categories of
    7         veterans eligible to receive assistance from local
    8         governing bodies; amending s. 455.213, F.S.; requiring
    9         the Department of Business and Professional Regulation
   10         to waive initial professional licensing fees for a
   11         veteran who has received a general discharge under
   12         honorable conditions; requiring the Department of
   13         Veterans’ Affairs to create, in consultation with the
   14         Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, a
   15         section in the Florida Veterans’ Benefits Guide on
   16         agricultural farming opportunities for veterans;
   17         prescribing requirements; requiring the Department of
   18         Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Department
   19         of Military Affairs to create a pilot program for
   20         commercial driver license testing for qualified
   21         members of the Florida National Guard by a specified
   22         date; requiring that such testing be conducted at
   23         certain locations; providing for funding; providing an
   24         effective date.
   26  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   28         Section 1. Paragraph (c) of subsection (3) and subsection
   29  (4) of section 288.980, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   30         288.980 Military base retention; legislative intent; grants
   31  program.—
   32         (3)
   33         (c) The department shall require that an applicant:
   34         1. Represent a local government with a military
   35  installation or military installations that could be adversely
   36  affected by federal actions.
   37         2. Agree to match at least 30 percent of any grant awarded.
   38         2.3. Prepare a coordinated program or plan of action
   39  delineating how the eligible project will be administered and
   40  accomplished.
   41         3.4. Provide documentation describing the potential for
   42  changes to the mission of a military installation located in the
   43  applicant’s community and the potential impacts such changes
   44  will have on the applicant’s community.
   45         (4) The Florida Defense Reinvestment Grant Program is
   46  established to respond to the need for this state to work in
   47  conjunction with defense-dependent communities in developing and
   48  implementing strategies and approaches that will help
   49  communities support the missions of military installations, and
   50  in developing and implementing alternative economic
   51  diversification strategies to transition from a defense economy
   52  to a nondefense economy. Eligible applicants include defense
   53  dependent counties and cities, and local economic development
   54  councils located within such communities. The program shall be
   55  administered by the department and grant awards may be provided
   56  to support community-based activities that:
   57         (a) Protect existing military installations;
   58         (b) Diversify the economy of a defense-dependent community;
   59  or
   60         (c) Develop plans for the reuse of closed or realigned
   61  military installations, including any plans necessary for
   62  infrastructure improvements needed to facilitate reuse and
   63  related marketing activities.
   65  Applications for grants under this subsection must include a
   66  coordinated program of work or plan of action delineating how
   67  the eligible project will be administered and accomplished,
   68  which must include a plan for ensuring close cooperation between
   69  civilian and military authorities in the conduct of the funded
   70  activities and a plan for public involvement. An applicant must
   71  agree to match at least 30 percent of any grant awarded.
   72         Section 2. Section 292.10, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   73  read:
   74         292.10 Local governing bodies authorized to assist war
   75  veterans; powers.—The board of county commissioners of each
   76  county and the governing body of each city in the state are
   77  authorized hereby granted full and complete power and authority
   78  to aid and assist wherever practical and feasible the veterans,
   79  male and female, who have served in the Armed Forces of the
   80  United States in any war, and received an honorable discharge,
   81  or received a general discharge under honorable conditions from
   82  any branch of the military service of the United States, and
   83  their dependents, in presenting claims for and securing such
   84  compensation, hospitalization, education, loans, career
   85  training, and other benefits or privileges to which said
   86  veterans, or any of them, are or may become entitled under any
   87  federal or state law or regulation by reason of their service in
   88  the Armed Forces of the United States.
   89         Section 3. Subsection (12) of section 455.213, Florida
   90  Statutes, is amended to read:
   91         455.213 General licensing provisions.—
   92         (12) The department shall waive the initial licensing fee,
   93  the initial application fee, and the initial unlicensed activity
   94  fee for a military veteran or his or her spouse at the time of
   95  discharge, if he or she applies to the department for a license,
   96  in a format prescribed by the department, within 60 months after
   97  the veteran is discharged from any branch of the United States
   98  Armed Forces. To qualify for this waiver, the veteran must have
   99  been honorably discharged or received a general discharge under
  100  honorable conditions.
  101         Section 4. Agricultural farming opportunities for
  102  veterans.—
  103         (1) The Department of Veterans’ Affairs, through the
  104  direct-support organization established under s. 292.055,
  105  Florida Statutes, and in consultation with the Department of
  106  Agriculture and Consumer Services, shall include a section in
  107  the Florida Veterans’ Benefits Guide on agricultural farming
  108  opportunities in this state for veterans of the Armed Forces of
  109  the United States. The section must, at a minimum, include
  110  information on:
  111         (a) Federal, state, and local agricultural farming
  112  programs, incentives, assistance, and grants that are available
  113  to veterans.
  114         (b) Federal and state agricultural farming outreach and
  115  advocacy programs that are available to veterans.
  116         (2) The Department of Veterans’ Affairs shall:
  117         (a) Make the guides available to all military installations
  118  in this state.
  119         (b) Provide a concise description of the contents of the
  120  section and a link to the section on its website.
  121         Section 5. No later than June 30, 2016, the Department of
  122  Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Department of Military
  123  Affairs shall jointly create a pilot program to provide
  124  opportunities for commercial driver license testing to qualified
  125  members of the Florida National Guard through the commercial
  126  driver license skills test waiver available under s. 322.12,
  127  Florida Statutes. Testing held pursuant to the pilot program
  128  must be conducted at a Florida National Guard armory, an Armed
  129  Forces Reserve Center, or the Camp Blanding Joint Training
  130  Center. The pilot program must be administered using existing
  131  funds appropriated to each department.
  132         Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.