Florida Senate - 2020                                     SB 740
       By Senator Diaz
       36-00900A-20                                           2020740__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to real estate; creating s. 475.502,
    3         F.S.; providing a short title; creating the Florida
    4         Real Estate Management Corporation; providing for
    5         purpose, duties, requirements, and administration of
    6         the corporation; requiring a written contract with the
    7         Department of Business and Professional Regulation;
    8         providing contract requirements; prohibiting the
    9         management corporation from exercising certain
   10         authority assigned to the board of directors;
   11         providing that the board, rather than the department,
   12         receive complaints and investigate and deter the
   13         unlicensed practice of real estate; authorizing the
   14         use of specified funds of the Florida Real Estate
   15         Commission for such activities; providing requirements
   16         for investigations by the department; providing an
   17         effective date.
   19  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   21         Section 1. Section 475.502, Florida Statutes, is created to
   22  read:
   23         475.502Florida Real Estate Management Corporation.—
   24         (1)This section may be cited as the “Florida Real Estate
   25  Management Corporation Act.”
   26         (2)The purpose of this section is to create a public
   27  private partnership by establishing a single nonprofit
   28  corporation to provide investigative services to the commission.
   29  Any additional nonprofit corporations may not be created to
   30  provide these services.
   31         (3)The Florida Real Estate Management Corporation is
   32  created to provide investigative services to the commission in
   33  accordance with chapter 455 and this chapter. The management
   34  corporation may hire staff as necessary to carry out its
   35  functions. Such staff are not public employees for the purposes
   36  of chapter 110 or chapter 112, except that the board and staff
   37  are subject to s. 112.061. Section 768.28 applies to the
   38  management corporation, which is deemed to be a corporation
   39  primarily acting as an instrumentality of the state, but which
   40  is not an agency as defined in s. 20.03(11). The management
   41  corporation shall:
   42         (a)Be a Florida corporation not for profit incorporated
   43  under chapter 617.
   44         (b)Provide investigative services to the commission in
   45  accordance with chapter 455, this chapter, and the contract
   46  required by this section.
   47         (c)Receive, hold, and administer property and make only
   48  prudent expenditures directly related to the responsibilities of
   49  the commission in accordance with the contract required by this
   50  section.
   51         (d)Be approved by the commission and the department to
   52  operate for the benefit of the commission and in the best
   53  interest of the state.
   54         (e)Operate under a fiscal year that begins on July 1 of
   55  each year and ends on June 30 of the following year.
   56         (f)Have a seven-member board of directors, five of whom
   57  are to be appointed by the commission and must be registrants
   58  regulated by the commission and two of whom are to be appointed
   59  by the secretary and must be laypersons not regulated by the
   60  commission. Each member shall be appointed to a 4-year term. A
   61  member may not serve more than two consecutive terms. Failure to
   62  attend three consecutive meetings shall be deemed a resignation
   63  from the board, and the vacancy shall be filled by a new
   64  appointment.
   65         (g)Select its officers in accordance with its bylaws. The
   66  members of the board who were appointed by the commission may be
   67  removed by the commission.
   68         (h)Select its president in accordance with its bylaws, who
   69  shall also serve as executive director of the board, subject to
   70  approval of the commission.
   71         (i)Use a portion of the interest derived from its account
   72  to offset the costs associated with the use of credit cards for
   73  payment of fees by applicants or licensees.
   74         (j)Operate under a written contract with the department
   75  which is approved by the commission. The contract must provide
   76  for, but is not limited to:
   77         1.Submission by the management corporation of an annual
   78  budget that complies with commission rules which is approved by
   79  the commission and the department.
   80         2.Annual certification by the commission and the
   81  department that the management corporation is complying with the
   82  terms of the contract in a manner consistent with the goals and
   83  purposes of the commission and in the best interest of the
   84  state. Such certification must be reported in the commission’s
   85  minutes. The contract must also provide for methods and
   86  mechanisms to resolve any situation in which the certification
   87  process determines noncompliance.
   88         3.Funding of the management corporation through
   89  appropriations allocated to the commission and the Professional
   90  Regulation Trust Fund.
   91         4.The reversion to the commission, or the state if the
   92  commission ceases to exist, of moneys, records, data, and
   93  property held in trust by the management corporation for the
   94  benefit of the commission, if the management corporation is no
   95  longer approved to operate for the commission or the commission
   96  ceases to exist. All records and data in a computerized database
   97  shall be returned to the department in a form that is compatible
   98  with the computerized database of the department.
   99         5.The securing and maintaining by the management
  100  corporation, during the term of the contract and for all acts
  101  performed during the term of the contract, of all liability
  102  insurance coverage in an amount to be approved by the commission
  103  to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the management
  104  corporation and its officers, members, and staff; the department
  105  and its employees; and the state against all claims arising from
  106  state and federal laws. Such insurance coverage must be with
  107  insurers qualified and doing business in the state. The
  108  management corporation must provide proof of insurance to the
  109  department. The department and its employees and the state are
  110  exempt from and are not liable for any sum of money which
  111  represents a deductible, which sums shall be the sole
  112  responsibility of the management corporation. Violation of this
  113  subparagraph shall be grounds for terminating the contract.
  114         6.Payment by the management corporation, out of its
  115  allocated budget, to the department of all costs of
  116  representation by the commission counsel, including salary and
  117  benefits, travel, and any other compensation traditionally paid
  118  by the department to other board counsel.
  119         7.Payment by the management corporation, out of its
  120  allocated budget, to the department of all costs incurred by the
  121  management corporation or the commission for the Division of
  122  Administrative Hearings of the Department of Management Services
  123  and any other cost for utilization of these state services.
  124         8.Payment by the management corporation, out of its
  125  allocated budget, to the department of reasonable costs
  126  associated with the contract monitor.
  127         (k)Provide for an annual financial audit of its financial
  128  accounts and records by an independent certified public
  129  accountant. The annual financial audit report shall include a
  130  management letter as defined in s. 11.45(1) and a detailed
  131  supplemental schedule of expenditures for each expenditure
  132  category. The annual financial audit report must be submitted to
  133  the board, the department, and the Auditor General for review.
  134         (l)Provide for persons not employed by the management
  135  corporation who are charged with the responsibility of receiving
  136  and depositing fee and fine revenues to have a faithful
  137  performance bond in such an amount and according to such terms
  138  as shall be determined in the contract.
  139         (m)Submit to the secretary, the commission, and the
  140  Legislature, on or before October 1 of each year, a report on
  141  the status of the management corporation which includes, but is
  142  not limited to, information concerning the property and funds
  143  that have been transferred to the management corporation. The
  144  report must include the number of complaints received,
  145  determined to be legally sufficient, dismissed, or determined to
  146  have probable cause; the number of complaints issued and the
  147  status of such complaints; and the number and nature of
  148  disciplinary actions taken by the board.
  149         (n)Develop and submit to the department performance
  150  standards and measurable outcomes for the board to adopt by rule
  151  in order to facilitate efficient and cost-effective regulation.
  152         (4)The management corporation may not exercise any
  153  authority specifically assigned to the board under chapter 455
  154  or this chapter, including determining probable cause to pursue
  155  disciplinary action against a licensee, taking final action on
  156  license applications or in disciplinary cases, or adopting
  157  administrative rules under chapter 120.
  158         (5)Notwithstanding ss. 455.228 and 455.2281, the duties
  159  and authority of the department to receive complaints and to
  160  investigate and deter the unlicensed practice of real estate are
  161  delegated to the board. The board may use funds of the
  162  commission in the unlicensed activity account established under
  163  s. 455.2281 to perform the duties relating to unlicensed
  164  activity.
  165         (6)The department shall retain the independent authority
  166  to open or investigate any cases or complaints as necessary to
  167  protect the public health, safety, or welfare. In addition, the
  168  department shall retain sole authority to issue emergency
  169  suspension, restriction, or limitation of a license orders
  170  pursuant to s. 120.60.
  171         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.