Florida Senate - 2016                                     SB 142
       By Senator Ring
       29-00063-16                                            2016142__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to student loans; creating s. 43.45,
    3         F.S.; defining terms; requiring the Justice
    4         Administrative Commission and the Office of the
    5         Attorney General to implement a student loan
    6         assistance program to assist a career assistant state
    7         attorney, assistant public defender, assistant
    8         attorney general, or assistant statewide prosecutor in
    9         the repayment of eligible student loans; establishing
   10         requirements for the administration of the program;
   11         requiring the administering body to make payments
   12         based on the length of employment of the eligible
   13         career attorney and the availability of funds;
   14         providing for the cessation of payments in certain
   15         circumstances; providing funding; requiring the
   16         Justice Administrative Commission and the Office of
   17         the Attorney General to develop procedures to
   18         administer the program; providing an effective date.
   20  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   22         Section 1. Section 43.45, Florida Statutes, is created to
   23  read:
   24         43.45 Student loan assistance program; administration.—
   25         (1) As used in this section, the term:
   26         (a) “Administering body” means:
   27         1. If the eligible career attorney is employed as an
   28  assistant state attorney or assistant public defender, the
   29  Justice Administrative Commission.
   30         2. If the eligible career attorney is employed as an
   31  assistant attorney general or assistant statewide prosecutor,
   32  the Office of the Attorney General.
   33         (b) “Eligible attorney” means an assistant state attorney,
   34  assistant public defender, assistant attorney general, or
   35  assistant statewide prosecutor.
   36         (c) “Eligible career attorney” means an eligible attorney
   37  who has completed at least 3 years, but not more than 12 years,
   38  of continuous service as an eligible attorney, regardless of
   39  whether the eligible attorney had a break in employment of less
   40  than 2 weeks while transferring to another employer of eligible
   41  attorneys.
   42         (d) “Eligible student loan” means a loan that is not in
   43  default and that was issued pursuant to the Higher Education Act
   44  of 1965, 20 U.S.C. ss. 1001 et seq., as amended, to a person who
   45  is now an eligible career attorney to fund his or her law school
   46  education.
   47         (e) “Employment anniversary” means the anniversary of the
   48  date that an eligible career attorney commenced employment as an
   49  eligible attorney.
   50         (2) The administering body shall implement a student loan
   51  assistance program for eligible career attorneys. The purpose of
   52  the program is to provide financial assistance to eligible
   53  career attorneys for the repayment of eligible student loans.
   54         (3) The student loan assistance program is administered in
   55  the following manner:
   56         (a) Within 30 days after the employment anniversary of an
   57  eligible career attorney, such attorney must submit to his or
   58  her employer a certification affidavit on a form authorized by
   59  the administering body which certifies that the eligible career
   60  attorney had one or more eligible student loans as of his or her
   61  last employment anniversary. If the employer signs the
   62  certification affidavit, the employer shall submit the affidavit
   63  to the administering body within 60 days after the most recent
   64  employment anniversary of the eligible career attorney.
   65         (b) Upon receipt of a certification affidavit, the
   66  administering body shall make a maximum payment of:
   67         1. If the eligible career attorney has at least 3 years,
   68  but not more than 6 years, of continuous service as an eligible
   69  career attorney, $3,000.
   70         2. If the eligible career attorney has more than 6 years,
   71  but not more than 12 years, of continuous service as an eligible
   72  career attorney, $5,000.
   74  If appropriated funds are insufficient to provide the maximum
   75  payment for each eligible career attorney, the administering
   76  body shall prorate payments by an equal percentage reduction.
   77         (c) A payment under paragraph (b) shall be made by the
   78  administering body:
   79         1. To the lender of the eligible student loan;
   80         2. Between July 1 and July 31 of the next fiscal year
   81  following receipt of the certification affidavit by the
   82  administering body;
   83         3. For the benefit of the eligible career attorney named in
   84  the certification affidavit and for the purpose of satisfying
   85  his or her eligible student loan obligation; and
   86         4. For the eligible student loan that has the highest
   87  current interest rate if the eligible career attorney holds more
   88  than one eligible student loan.
   89         (d) Payments under paragraph (b) cease upon totaling
   90  $44,000 per eligible career attorney or upon full satisfaction
   91  of the eligible student loan, whichever occurs first.
   92         (4) The student loan assistance program may be funded
   93  annually contingent upon a specific appropriation in the General
   94  Appropriations Act for the student loan assistance program.
   95         (5) The Justice Administrative Commission and the Office of
   96  the Attorney General shall develop procedures to administer this
   97  section.
   98         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.