Florida Senate - 2016 CS for SB 142 By the Committee on Judiciary; and Senators Ring and Joyner 590-01778-16 2016142c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to student loans; creating s. 3 1009.675, F.S.; creating the For the Greater Good 4 Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program to increase 5 employment and retention of attorneys in the public 6 sector; providing eligibility requirements; specifying 7 the loans that will be covered by the repayment 8 program; requiring the Department of Education to make 9 payments to eligible attorneys; providing procedures 10 to administer the program; providing that a payment is 11 not taxable income; providing procedures if 12 appropriated funds are insufficient; authorizing 13 rulemaking; providing an effective date. 14 15 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 16 17 Section 1. Section 1009.675, Florida Statutes, is created 18 to read: 19 1009.675 For the Greater Good Attorney Student Loan 20 Repayment Program.— 21 (1) There is established within the Department of Education 22 the For the Greater Good Attorney Student Loan Repayment 23 Program. The primary function of the program is to increase 24 employment and retention of attorneys in the public sector by 25 making payments that offset student loans issued or guaranteed 26 by a state or the Federal Government. The department shall 27 administer the program. 28 (2) To be eligible to participate in this program, an 29 attorney: 30 (a) Must be a member of The Florida Bar; 31 (b) Must be employed full time by a local, state, or 32 federal government; 33 (c) Must be employed in this state; 34 (d) Must have completed not more than 10 years of 35 government service, regardless of whether the attorney had a 36 break in employment of less than 2 weeks while transferring to 37 another governmental entity; 38 (e) Must be earning less than $65,000 in salary as reported 39 to the Internal Revenue Service; 40 (f) Must not have received any disciplinary action from The 41 Florida Bar; 42 (g) Must have an unsatisfied student loan that was issued 43 or guaranteed by a state or the Federal Government; and 44 (h) Is not eligible for any other state, local, or federal 45 grant or private fund that assists in student loan repayment. 46 (3) Only loans that are not in default and that were issued 47 pursuant to the Higher Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. ss. 1001 48 et seq., as amended, to fund an eligible attorney’s law school 49 education shall be covered. 50 (4) From the funds available, the Department of Education 51 shall make an annual payment as follows: 52 (a) Three thousand dollars if the attorney has at least 4 53 years, but not more than 7 years, of continuous government 54 service. 55 (b) Five thousand dollars if the attorney has more than 7 56 years, but not more than 10 years, of continuous government 57 service. 58 (5) Each payment is contingent upon an annual receipt of a 59 certification affidavit. Within 30 days after the employment 60 anniversary of an eligible attorney, in order to receive a 61 payment under the program, such attorney must submit to his or 62 her employer a certification affidavit on a form authorized by 63 the department which certifies that the attorney was an eligible 64 attorney as of his or her last employment anniversary. If the 65 employer signs the affidavit, the employer shall submit the 66 affidavit to the department within 60 days after the most recent 67 employment anniversary of the eligible attorney, and each year 68 thereafter. 69 (6) Payments are not deemed taxable income. Each payment 70 shall be made directly to the financial institution that 71 services the loan and, if the eligible attorney holds more than 72 one eligible loan, for the loan that has the highest current 73 interest rate. 74 (7) If funds appropriated are insufficient to provide 75 maximum payment for eligible attorneys, the department shall 76 prorate payments for all eligible attorneys by an equal 77 percentage reduction for the year for which funds appropriated 78 are insufficient. 79 (8) The Department of Education may adopt rules necessary 80 to administer this program. 81 (9) The Greater Good Attorney Student Loan Repayment 82 Program may be funded annually contingent upon a specific 83 appropriation in the General Appropriations Act for the Greater 84 Good Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program. 85 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.