Florida Senate - 2023                          SENATOR AMENDMENT
       Bill No. CS/CS/CS/HB 1209, 1st Eng.
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                Floor: 1/AD/2R         .            Floor: C            
             05/02/2023 06:29 PM       .      05/04/2023 03:24 PM       

       Senator Simon moved the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Paragraph (h) is added to subsection (1) of
    6  section 215.971, Florida Statutes, to read:
    7         215.971 Agreements funded with federal or state
    8  assistance.—
    9         (1) An agency agreement that provides state financial
   10  assistance to a recipient or subrecipient, as those terms are
   11  defined in s. 215.97, or that provides federal financial
   12  assistance to a subrecipient, as defined by applicable United
   13  States Office of Management and Budget circulars, must include
   14  all of the following:
   15         (h)If the agency agreement provides federal or state
   16  financial assistance to a county or municipality that is a rural
   17  community or rural area of opportunity as those terms are
   18  defined in s. 288.0656(2), a provision allowing the agency to
   19  provide for the payment of invoices to the county, municipality,
   20  or rural area of opportunity as that term is defined in s.
   21  288.0656(2), for verified and eligible performance that has been
   22  completed in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth
   23  in the agreement. This provision is included to alleviate the
   24  financial hardships that certain rural counties and
   25  municipalities encounter when administering agreements, and must
   26  be exercised by the agency when a county or municipality
   27  demonstrates financial hardship, to the extent that federal or
   28  state law, rule, or other regulation allows such payments. This
   29  paragraph may not be construed to alter or limit any other
   30  provisions of federal or state law, rule, or other regulation.
   31         Section 2. Paragraphs (b), (c), and (e) of subsection (2)
   32  and subsection (3) of section 288.0655, Florida Statutes, are
   33  amended to read:
   34         288.0655 Rural Infrastructure Fund.—
   35         (2)
   36         (b) To facilitate access of rural communities and rural
   37  areas of opportunity as defined by the Rural Economic
   38  Development Initiative to infrastructure funding programs of the
   39  Federal Government, such as those offered by the United States
   40  Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of
   41  Commerce, and state programs, including those offered by Rural
   42  Economic Development Initiative agencies, and to facilitate
   43  local government or private infrastructure funding efforts, the
   44  department may award grants for up to 75 50 percent of the total
   45  infrastructure project cost, or up to 100 percent of the total
   46  infrastructure project cost for a project located in a rural
   47  community as defined in s. 288.0656(2) which is also located in
   48  a fiscally constrained county as defined in s. 218.67(1) or a
   49  rural area of opportunity as defined in s. 288.0656(2). Eligible
   50  projects must be related to specific job-creation or job
   51  retention opportunities. Eligible uses of funds projects may
   52  also include improving any inadequate infrastructure that has
   53  resulted in regulatory action that prohibits economic or
   54  community growth and, reducing the costs to community users of
   55  proposed infrastructure improvements that exceed such costs in
   56  comparable communities, and improving access to and the
   57  availability of broadband Internet service. Eligible uses of
   58  funds shall include improvements to public infrastructure for
   59  industrial or commercial sites and, upgrades to or development
   60  of public tourism infrastructure, and improvements to broadband
   61  Internet service and access in unserved or underserved rural
   62  communities. Improvements to broadband Internet service and
   63  access must be conducted through a partnership or partnerships
   64  with one or more dealers, as defined in s. 202.11(2), and the
   65  partnership or partnerships must be established through a
   66  competitive selection process that is publicly noticed.
   67  Authorized infrastructure may include the following public or
   68  public-private partnership facilities: storm water systems;
   69  telecommunications facilities; broadband facilities; roads or
   70  other remedies to transportation impediments; nature-based
   71  tourism facilities; or other physical requirements necessary to
   72  facilitate tourism, trade, and economic development activities
   73  in the community. Authorized infrastructure may also include
   74  publicly or privately owned self-powered nature-based tourism
   75  facilities, publicly owned telecommunications facilities, and
   76  broadband facilities, and additions to the distribution
   77  facilities of the existing natural gas utility as defined in s.
   78  366.04(3)(c), the existing electric utility as defined in s.
   79  366.02, or the existing water or wastewater utility as defined
   80  in s. 367.021(12), or any other existing water or wastewater
   81  facility, which owns a gas or electric distribution system or a
   82  water or wastewater system in this state when where:
   83         1. A contribution-in-aid of construction is required to
   84  serve public or public-private partnership facilities under the
   85  tariffs of any natural gas, electric, water, or wastewater
   86  utility as defined herein; and
   87         2. Such utilities as defined herein are willing and able to
   88  provide such service.
   89         (c) To facilitate timely response and induce the location
   90  or expansion of specific job creating opportunities, The
   91  department may award grants of up to $300,000 for infrastructure
   92  feasibility studies, design and engineering activities, or other
   93  infrastructure planning and preparation activities. Authorized
   94  grants shall be up to $50,000 for an employment project with a
   95  business committed to create at least 100 jobs; up to $150,000
   96  for an employment project with a business committed to create at
   97  least 300 jobs; and up to $300,000 for a project in a rural area
   98  of opportunity. Grants awarded under this paragraph may be used
   99  in conjunction with grants awarded under paragraph (b), provided
  100  that the total amount of both grants does not exceed 30 percent
  101  of the total project cost. In evaluating applications under this
  102  paragraph, the department shall consider the extent to which the
  103  application seeks to minimize administrative and consultant
  104  expenses.
  105         (e) To enable local governments to access the resources
  106  available pursuant to s. 403.973(18), the department may award
  107  grants for surveys, feasibility studies, and other activities
  108  related to the identification and preclearance review of land
  109  which is suitable for preclearance review. Authorized grants
  110  under this paragraph may not exceed $75,000 each, except in the
  111  case of a project in a rural area of opportunity, in which case
  112  the grant may not exceed $300,000. Any funds awarded under this
  113  paragraph must be matched at a level of 50 percent with local
  114  funds, except that any funds awarded for a project in a rural
  115  area of opportunity do not require a match of must be matched at
  116  a level of 33 percent with local funds. If an application for
  117  funding is for a catalyst site, as defined in s. 288.0656, the
  118  requirement for local match may be waived pursuant to the
  119  process in s. 288.06561. In evaluating applications under this
  120  paragraph, the department shall consider the extent to which the
  121  application seeks to minimize administrative and consultant
  122  expenses.
  123         (3) The department, in consultation with Enterprise
  124  Florida, Inc., the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing
  125  Corporation, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the
  126  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, as
  127  appropriate, shall review and certify applications pursuant to
  128  s. 288.061. The review must shall include an evaluation of the
  129  economic benefit of the projects and their long-term viability.
  130  The department shall have final approval for any grant under
  131  this section.
  132         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2023.
  134  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  135  And the title is amended as follows:
  136         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  137  and insert:
  138                        A bill to be entitled                      
  139         An act relating to rural development; amending s.
  140         215.971, F.S.; requiring certain agency agreements to
  141         include a provision authorizing the agency to provide
  142         for the payment of specified invoices to certain
  143         counties or municipalities for certain verified and
  144         eligible performance; providing intent; providing
  145         construction; amending s. 288.0655, F.S.; revising the
  146         percentages of total infrastructure project cost which
  147         the Department of Economic Opportunity may award
  148         through grants from the Rural Infrastructure Fund;
  149         revising authorized uses of eligible funds; deleting a
  150         provision requiring that eligible projects be related
  151         to specified opportunities; deleting provisions
  152         allowing eligible funds to be used for broadband
  153         Internet service and access; authorizing the
  154         department to award grants up to a specified amount
  155         for specified planning and preparation activities;
  156         deleting a restriction on dual grant awards being used
  157         which would exceed a specified percentage threshold;
  158         revising a provision that requires that awarded funds
  159         for specified surveys or other activities be matched
  160         with a specified amount of local funds; providing an
  161         effective date.