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. 18 19 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 20 21 Section 1. Section 475.502, Florida Statutes, is created to 22 read: 23 475.502 Florida 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.