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. 19 20 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 21 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. 73 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.