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.
   15  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.