Florida Senate - 2020 CS for SB 530 By the Committee on Commerce and Tourism; and Senators Gruters, Flores, Farmer, Stewart, Rouson, Cruz, Berman, Harrell, Gibson, Bracy, Pizzo, Hooper, and Torres 577-02022-20 2020530c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the entertainment industry; 3 creating the Film, Television, and Digital Media 4 Targeted Rebate Program within the Department of 5 Economic Opportunity under the supervision of the 6 Commissioner of Film and Entertainment; providing 7 purposes for the program; defining terms; requiring 8 that film, television, and digital media projects 9 being produced in this state meet specified criteria 10 for rebate eligibility; authorizing applicants to 11 receive rebates up to a specified amount, including 12 bonuses; requiring an applicant that receives funding 13 to make a good faith effort to use existing providers 14 of infrastructure or equipment in this state and to 15 employ residents of this state; requiring the 16 commissioner to set application windows for the 17 rebate; providing requirements for the department 18 relating to earmarking and setting aside rebate funds; 19 providing procedures and requirements for applicants 20 applying for the rebate; requiring the commissioner to 21 take specified action within a reasonable period of 22 time; requiring the Florida Film and Entertainment 23 Advisory Council to determine a score for each 24 qualified project using specified criteria; requiring 25 the commissioner to determine the priority order and 26 scoring system of the specified criteria with 27 assistance from the council and certain other persons; 28 requiring the council to use certain criteria; 29 requiring the commissioner to take certain actions 30 relating to the certification or rejection of 31 qualified projects in a timely manner; requiring the 32 department to earmark and set aside funding necessary 33 to fund the total maximum that may be awarded to the 34 certified projects, if funds are available; requiring 35 the commissioner to develop a process to verify the 36 actual qualified expenditures and rebate bonus 37 eligibility of a certified project after the project’s 38 work in this state is complete; providing requirements 39 for the verification process; requiring that the 40 rebate be issued within a reasonable period of time 41 upon approval of the final rebate amount by the 42 department; requiring that certain marketing be 43 included with a project; requiring certified projects 44 to allow certain persons to visit the production site 45 upon request of the commissioner and after providing 46 the commissioner with reasonable notice; specifying 47 that the commissioner or his or her affiliate is not 48 required to visit the production site; requiring the 49 department to disqualify a project under certain 50 circumstances; providing for liability and imposing 51 civil penalties for an applicant that submits 52 fraudulent information; providing for rulemaking; 53 requiring the commissioner to provide an annual report 54 to the Governor and the Legislature on a specified 55 date; providing that certain appropriated funds are 56 not subject to reversion; providing for the expiration 57 of the program; providing an effective date. 58 59 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 60 61 Section 1. Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted 62 Rebate Program.— 63 (1) CREATION AND PURPOSES OF PROGRAM.—The Film, Television, 64 and Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program is created within the 65 Department of Economic Opportunity under the supervision of the 66 Commissioner of Film and Entertainment. 67 (a) The purpose of the program is to boost this state’s 68 economic prosperity by: 69 1. Creating high-paying jobs; 70 2. Broadening the film, television, and digital media 71 industry’s impact on the state by giving a modest bonus for 72 projects that take place in underutilized areas; 73 3. Enhancing tourism by choosing projects that encourage 74 tourists to visit this state; and 75 4. Encouraging more family-friendly productions to be 76 produced in this state. 77 (b) This purpose shall be accomplished by providing a 78 limited rebate to projects that provide the highest return on 79 investment and economic benefit to the state, as determined 80 after a project has made its expenditures in the state. 81 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this act, unless the context 82 otherwise requires, the term: 83 (a) “Certified project” means a qualified project that has 84 been scored by the council, has been determined by the 85 commissioner to meet or exceed the desired economic impact and 86 other criteria of the program, and has rebate funds allocated to 87 it based on the project’s estimated qualified expenditures. 88 (b) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Film and 89 Entertainment as described in s. 288.1251(1)(b), Florida 90 Statutes. 91 (c) “Council” means the Florida Film and Entertainment 92 Advisory Council. 93 (d) “Department” means the Department of Economic 94 Opportunity. 95 (e) “Digital media project” means a commercial video game, 96 including an educational video game, which includes at least 30 97 minutes of game play time. The term does not include a project 98 that may be considered obscene, as defined in s. 847.001, 99 Florida Statutes. 100 (f) “Family friendly” means having cross-generational 101 appeal; being appropriate in theme, content, and language for a 102 broad family audience; embodying a responsible resolution of 103 issues; not containing any act of drunkenness, illicit drug use, 104 sex, nudity, gratuitous violence, or vulgar or profane language; 105 and not portraying smoking any substance in a positive light. 106 (g) “Film project” means a theatrical, direct-to-video, 107 television, cable, Internet, streaming service, or animated 108 narrative motion picture at least 75 minutes in length. The term 109 does not include a project deemed by the office to have content 110 that is obscene, as defined in s. 847.001, Florida Statutes. 111 (h) “Florida resident” means a person who has a valid 112 Florida driver license or Florida identification card issued 113 under s. 322.051, Florida Statutes, and has signed an affidavit 114 confirming residency. 115 (i) “Office” means the Office of Film and Entertainment 116 within the department. 117 (j) “Principal photography” means, for a film project or 118 television project, the filming of major or significant 119 components of the project which involve lead actors, or, for a 120 digital media project, the period of time during which the work 121 of the majority of the crew is dedicated solely to the project. 122 (k) “Production start date” means: 123 1. For film and television projects, the start date of 124 principal photography, as listed in the project’s application. 125 2. For digital media projects, the start date of final 126 storyboards or a later date as specified in the project’s 127 application. 128 (l)1. “Qualified expenditures” means expenditures made in 129 this state and paid to residents of this state or to businesses 130 registered in this state and made solely for preproduction, 131 production, or postproduction of the qualified project, 132 including the following: 133 a. Rented or leased goods or services provided by a vendor 134 or supplier in this state which is registered with the 135 Department of State or the Department of Revenue; which has a 136 physical address in this state other than a post office box; and 137 which employs one or more Florida residents on a full-time 138 basis. The term does not include rebilled goods or services 139 provided by an in-state company from out-of-state vendors or 140 suppliers. When services provided by the vendor or supplier 141 include personal services or labor, only personal services or 142 labor provided by Florida residents qualifies. 143 b. Payments to Florida residents in the form of salary or 144 wages up to a maximum of $200,000 per resident, including 145 amounts paid per diem to a worker who is a Florida resident and 146 amounts paid through payroll service companies, and benefits 147 such as pension, health, and welfare payments for technical and 148 production crews, directors, producers, and performers. For 149 purposes of this sub-subparagraph, payments do not include wages 150 for executives, legal staff, or other corporate staff who are 151 not employed to work solely on the project. 152 c. Rented or leased cars, trucks, and trailers if the 153 vehicles or trailers are registered with the Florida Department 154 of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. 155 d. Purchases of catered meals and on-set craft service 156 supplies. 157 e. Rented hotel rooms or other accommodations for cast or 158 crew. 159 2. The term does not include expenditures not expressly 160 identified in subparagraph 1., expenditures made before 161 qualification for the program, expenditures made via Internet 162 transactions, expenditures for airfare, or any costs associated 163 with development, marketing, or distribution. 164 3. For the purposes of a digital media project, the term 165 includes only those qualified expenditures made within 9 months 166 after the project’s first qualified expenditure. 167 (m) “Qualified project” means a film project, television 168 project, or digital media project that meets the application 169 requirements and for which a complete application for the 170 program has been submitted to the commissioner and accepted for 171 consideration by the office. The term does not include a weather 172 or market program; a sporting event or a sporting event 173 broadcast; a gala; an awards show; a production that solicits 174 funds; a home shopping program; a political program; a gambling 175 related project or production; a concert production; a news or 176 current events show; a sports or sports recap show; a 177 pornographic production; or any production deemed obscene under 178 chapter 847, Florida Statutes. 179 (n) “Television project” means a television pilot program 180 or a television series that: 181 1. Is a scripted drama, comedy, animation, or reality show; 182 2. Has a runtime of at least 30 minutes but not more than 183 60 minutes; and 184 3. If the television project is a television series, has a 185 minimum of 7 episodes; or, if the television project is a 186 reality program or series, at least 10 episodes. 187 188 The term does not include a project deemed by the office to have 189 content that is obscene, as defined in s. 847.001, Florida 190 Statutes. 191 (o) “Underutilized area” means any county in this state 192 other than Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Orange County, or 193 Seminole County. 194 (3) REBATE ELIGIBILITY.— 195 (a) To be eligible for a rebate, an applicant must be 196 registered to do business in this state and must be producing a 197 project that: 198 1. Has projected qualified expenditures of: 199 a. For a film project, at least $1.5 million; 200 b. For a television project, at least $500,000 per episode; 201 or 202 c. For a digital media project, at least $1.5 million; 203 2. Is projected to employ a crew, including cast and stand 204 ins, but not including extras, also known as background 205 performers, of which at least 60 percent will be residents of 206 this state and at least one member will be a military veteran; 207 3. Is projected to spend at least 70 percent of its total 208 production days in this state; and 209 4. Will not receive a sales tax certificate of exemption 210 pursuant to s. 288.1258, Florida Statutes, for the project. 211 (b) A project may receive a rebate in the amount of up to 212 20 percent of its verified qualified expenditures. A bonus may 213 be earned in the amount of an additional 3 percentage points if 214 75 percent of the project’s production in this state will take 215 place in an underutilized area or if its content is deemed 216 family friendly. A certified project may not receive more than 217 one bonus, and the total that may be awarded under any rebate 218 may not exceed 23 percent of its verified qualified expenditures 219 or $2 million, whichever is less. 220 (c) A certified project must make a good faith effort to 221 use existing providers of infrastructure or equipment in this 222 state, when available, including providers of camera gear, grip 223 and lighting equipment, vehicles, and postproduction services, 224 and to employ cast and crew who are residents of this state. 225 (4) APPLICATION WINDOWS.—Applications must be accepted for 226 the program during two application windows each fiscal year. The 227 commissioner shall set a start date for both application 228 windows. However, the first application window may begin before 229 the start of the fiscal year and must end no later than 5 230 business days after July 1, and the second must end no later 231 than 5 business days after December 1. 232 (a) The department may not earmark or set aside more than 233 60 percent of any appropriated or rolled-over rebate funds for 234 any given fiscal year for applications submitted during the 235 first application window. Rebate funds not earmarked and set 236 aside for applicants applying during one application window roll 237 over for use in the next application window. 238 (b) If all rebate funds are earmarked and set aside for 239 certified projects, additional applications may not be accepted 240 until more funds become available for the program. 241 (5) APPLICATION PROCESS.— 242 (a) A company that plans to produce a film, television, or 243 digital project in this state may submit an application to the 244 commissioner during one of the two application windows. Each 245 fiscal year, a project must have a production start date that is 246 within 6 months after July 1 if applying in the first window or 247 within 6 months after January 1 if applying in the second 248 window. 249 (b) An applicant or its parent company may submit an 250 application for no more than five projects in any single fiscal 251 year. However, except in the case of a TV pilot and the 252 television series the pilot is based on being certified within 253 the same fiscal year, only one project per applicant may be 254 certified within a fiscal year. 255 (c) The application must include: 256 1. Proof of funding; 257 2. Project-related employment information, including 258 employment numbers for residents of this state; 259 3. A full line-item budget and a detailed qualified 260 expenditures budget; 261 4. A detailed distribution plan to assist with determining 262 the potential economic impact of the project in this state; 263 5. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures 264 for wages paid to residents of this state; 265 6. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures 266 and nonqualified expenditures in this state; 267 7. For a film project, the latest script, a production 268 schedule, a Day Out of Days report, and a list of the expected 269 shooting locations; 270 8. For a digital media project, a detailed game design 271 document, including a production schedule; 272 9. For a television project that is a pilot, a final 273 script, a production schedule, a Day Out of Days report, and a 274 list of the expected shooting locations; 275 10. For a television project that is a series, the latest 276 scripts for at least two episodes and a production schedule, a 277 Day Out of Days report, and a list of the expected shooting 278 locations for the first episode; 279 11. An affirmation signed by the applicant that the 280 information on the application is correct; 281 12. The applicant’s Florida tax identification number. 282 (d) Within a reasonable period of time after the last 283 business day of each application window, the commissioner shall: 284 1. Review all applications submitted during the application 285 window and determine the eligibility of each applicant; 286 2. Determine each applicant’s expected qualified 287 expenditures; 288 3. Determine the maximum rebate amount that each eligible 289 applicant may be awarded; 290 4. Determine whether an eligible applicant’s project is 291 deemed family friendly; 292 5. Determine the percentage of the applicant’s production, 293 if any, which is proposed to occur in an underutilized area; 294 6. Determine whether each eligible applicant is a 295 corporation registered in this state; 296 7. Contact each applicant with any questions, as necessary; 297 8. Gather any additional information needed to address the 298 criteria specified under subsection (6); 299 9. Assemble a package containing the details of each 300 eligible applicant’s project and deliver it to each council 301 member; and 302 10. Give notice to the council of the date and time when 303 the council must convene to assess each qualified project. The 304 council may meet in person or by conference call. 305 (e) The council shall determine a score for each qualified 306 project using the criteria specified under subsection (6), with 307 the highest scores going to projects determined to provide the 308 best economic impact and return on investment to this state. 309 (6) CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING PROJECT SCORES.— 310 (a) The priority order and scoring system of the criteria 311 specified in paragraph (b) must be determined by the 312 commissioner, with assistance from the council and other 313 persons, as determined by the commissioner, before the first 314 application window. 315 (b) The council shall use, at a minimum, the following 316 criteria in determining a qualified project’s score: 317 1. The amount of the project’s overall qualified 318 expenditures. 319 2. The amount of the project’s Florida-resident wages. 320 3. The number of full-time-equivalent jobs created by the 321 project. 322 4. Whether the project provides pension, health, and 323 welfare benefits to its workforce in this state. 324 5. The estimated direct and indirect tourism benefit of the 325 project, based on the submitted distribution plan. 326 6. The duration of Florida-resident employment for the 327 project. 328 7. What percentage of the project, if any, is being made in 329 an underutilized area. 330 8. Whether the project is family friendly. 331 9. Whether the project has a Florida-resident writer, 332 producer, or star. 333 10. Whether a Florida film, television, or digital media 334 school will assist with the production of the project. 335 11. Whether the project leadership team has a successful 336 track record. 337 12. The number of Florida-resident veterans the project 338 will hire. 339 13. The number of Florida film school graduates the project 340 will hire as cast or crew. 341 (7) NOTIFICATION OF DECISION.— 342 (a) After the council determines a project’s score, the 343 commissioner shall, in a timely manner: 344 1. Make a final determination on certifying or rejecting 345 each qualified project, giving consideration to the council’s 346 scoring. 347 2. Provide a list of certified projects to the department 348 which includes the associated maximum rebate amounts that the 349 respective applicants may receive. 350 3. Notify each certified project of the specified 351 percentage of qualified expenditures for which it is eligible 352 and the maximum rebate amount that it may receive. 353 4. Provide a notice of rejection to each rejected 354 applicant; however, the failure to notify an applicant of its 355 rejection does not deem the applicant’s project a certified 356 project. 357 (b) Based on the final determination of the commissioner, 358 the department shall earmark and set aside the amount necessary 359 to fund the total maximum that may be awarded for the certified 360 projects, if funds are available. 361 (8)(a) VERIFICATION PROCESS.—The commissioner shall develop 362 a process to verify the actual qualified expenditures and rebate 363 bonus eligibility of a certified project after the project’s 364 work in this state is complete. The process must require all of 365 the following: 366 1. Submission to the commissioner of at least all of the 367 following information, electronically or in hard copy, or both, 368 by each certified project: 369 a. Data substantiating each qualified expenditure, which 370 has been audited by an independent certified public accountant 371 licensed in this state, as required under subparagraph 4.; 372 b. Copies of documents verifying residency of persons 373 represented as being residents of this state; 374 c. The final script; 375 d. The most recent production board and shooting schedule; 376 e. The most recent credit list showing where the credits 377 required under subsection (9) will appear; 378 f. A cast list and a final crew list with contact 379 information; 380 g. For any veterans employed by the project, a copy of at 381 least one of the veterans’ DD Form 214, as issued by the United 382 States Department of Defense, or another acceptable form of 383 identification as specified by the Department of Veterans’ 384 Affairs; and 385 h. Any other information determined necessary by the 386 commissioner. 387 2. Signing, and submission to the commissioner, by the lead 388 producer or studio executive in charge of the certified project, 389 of an affidavit or written declaration signed under the penalty 390 of perjury as specified in s. 92.525, Florida Statutes, stating 391 that all salaries, wages, and other compensation submitted as 392 qualified expenditures are in compliance with this section. 393 3. The information and affidavit required by subparagraphs 394 1. and 2. must be received by the commissioner within 120 days 395 after the certified project has made its last qualified 396 expenditure, but no later than 1 year after its production start 397 date. Pursuant to the rules adopted by the department, the 398 commissioner may, upon a showing of good cause, grant a one-time 399 extension of this deadline. 400 4. The conducting of a compliance audit, at the certified 401 project’s expense, by an independent certified public accountant 402 who is a resident of this state to substantiate the qualified 403 expenditures, and submission of a report of the audit findings, 404 including substantiating data, to the commissioner within a 405 reasonable period of time after the initial receipt of records 406 from the certified project. 407 (b) The commissioner shall review the report and data 408 required under paragraph (a) within a reasonable period of time 409 after receipt of the report and data and shall report to the 410 department the final verified amount of actual qualified 411 expenditures the certified project made and the amount of the 412 rebate, including any bonus, due to the project. 413 (c) Upon approval by the department of the final rebate 414 amount, which may not exceed the maximum specified in the notice 415 provided under subparagraph (7)(a)3., the rebate must be issued 416 within a reasonable period of time. 417 (9) MARKETING AND TOURISM REQUIREMENT.— 418 (a) The commissioner shall ensure, as a condition of 419 receiving a rebate under this section, that a certified project 420 include marketing promoting this state as a tourist destination 421 or film and entertainment production destination. At a minimum, 422 the marketing must include placement in the end credits of a 423 “Filmed in Florida” or “Produced in Florida” logo with size and 424 placement commensurate to other logos included in the end 425 credits or, if no logos are used, the statement “Filmed in 426 Florida” or “Produced in Florida” or a similar statement 427 approved by the commissioner and the logo of the local film 428 office, if applicable. A digital media project must also supply 429 a 5-second or longer animated logo with “Produced in Florida” or 430 other text, including the logo of the local digital media 431 office, if applicable, as preapproved by the commissioner, in a 432 manner easily seen by a consumer of the digital media project. 433 The commissioner shall provide the logos for the purposes 434 specified in this paragraph, not including the logo for a local 435 office, which must be provided by the applicable office. 436 (b) A certified project must allow the commissioner, or an 437 affiliate, and a minimum of two guests to visit the production 438 site upon the request of the commissioner. Upon such request, 439 the certified project must give the commissioner reasonable 440 notice of a visit date and time that is acceptable to the 441 production. The commissioner or an affiliate is not required to 442 make a visit to the set. 443 (c) A certified project must provide at least five 444 preapproved photos of the production to the commissioner and 445 grant the commissioner free use of the photos in promoting this 446 state as a film, television, or digital media production 447 location or tourist destination. 448 (10) DISQUALIFICATION.—The department shall disqualify a 449 certified project and may not issue a rebate to the project if 450 the project: 451 (a) Does not begin principal photography in this state 452 within the period beginning 30 days before and ending 90 days 453 after the project’s listed production start date. Pursuant to 454 department rule, the commissioner may, upon a showing of good 455 cause, grant a one-time extension of this deadline; 456 (b) Does not abide by the policies, procedures, deadlines, 457 or requirements of the application verification process; 458 (c) Does not notify the commissioner of any change in the 459 production start date before commencing production; 460 (d) Submits fraudulent information; or 461 (e) Uses the state sales tax exemption established under s. 462 288.1258, Florida Statutes. 463 (11) FRAUD.—An applicant that submits fraudulent 464 information under this section is liable for reimbursement of 465 the reasonable costs and fees associated with the review, 466 processing, investigation, and prosecution of the fraudulent 467 submission. An applicant that obtains a rebate under this 468 section through a claim that is fraudulent shall reimburse the 469 program for the rebate awarded and reasonable costs and fees 470 associated with the review, processing, investigation, and 471 prosecution of the fraudulent claim and shall pay a civil 472 penalty in an amount equal to double the rebate amount and any 473 criminal penalty to which the applicant may be subject. 474 (12) RULES; POLICIES; PROCEDURES.—The department may adopt 475 rules and shall develop policies and procedures to administer 476 this section, including, but not limited to, rules specifying 477 requirements for the application and approval process and the 478 determination of qualified expenditures. 479 (13) ANNUAL REPORT.—Each November 1, the commissioner shall 480 provide an annual report on the program for the previous fiscal 481 year to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the 482 Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report must 483 identify the return on investment associated with, and economic 484 benefits to this state attributable to, the program. 485 (14) FUNDS NOT SUBJECT TO REVERSION.—Notwithstanding s. 486 216.301, Florida Statutes, funds appropriated for this purpose 487 shall not be subject to reversion. 488 (15) EXPIRATION.—The Film, Television, and Digital Media 489 Targeted Rebate Program expires June 30, 2023, at which point 490 all remaining appropriated funds not earmarked and set aside for 491 certified projects must revert to the General Revenue Fund. All 492 remaining appropriated funds must revert to the General Revenue 493 Fund no later than October 31, 2024. 494 Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.