Florida Senate - 2017                                     SB 566
       By Senator Campbell
       38-00367-17                                            2017566__
    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 government
    6         service; providing eligibility requirements;
    7         specifying the loans that may be covered by the
    8         repayment program; requiring the Department of
    9         Education to make payments to eligible attorneys;
   10         providing for program administration; providing that
   11         payments made under the program are not taxable
   12         income; providing for the proration of payments if
   13         insufficient funds are appropriated to make full
   14         payment; authorizing rulemaking; providing an
   15         effective date.
   17  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   19         Section 1. Section 1009.675, Florida Statutes, is created
   20  to read:
   21         1009.675 For the Greater Good Attorney Student Loan
   22  Repayment Program.—
   23         (1)The For the Greater Good Attorney Student Loan
   24  Repayment Program is established within the Department of
   25  Education. The primary function of the program is to increase
   26  employment and retention of attorneys in government service by
   27  making payments that offset student loans issued or guaranteed
   28  by a state or the Federal Government. The department shall
   29  administer the program.
   30         (2)To be eligible to participate in the program, an
   31  attorney must meet all of the following requirements:
   32         (a)Must be a member of The Florida Bar.
   33         (b)Must be employed full time as an assistant state
   34  attorney, assistant public defender, assistant attorney general,
   35  or assistant statewide prosecutor.
   36         (c)Must be employed in this state.
   37         (d)Must have completed not more than 10 years of
   38  government service, regardless of whether the attorney had a
   39  break in employment of less than 2 weeks while transferring from
   40  one governmental entity to another.
   41         (e)Must be earning less than $65,000 in salary, as
   42  reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
   43         (f)Must not have been the subject of any disciplinary
   44  action by The Florida Bar.
   45         (g) Must have an unsatisfied student loan that was issued
   46  or guaranteed by a state or the Federal Government.
   47         (h)Must not be eligible for any other state, local, or
   48  federal grant or private fund that assists in student loan
   49  repayment.
   50         (3)Only loans that are not in default and that were issued
   51  pursuant to the Higher Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. ss. 1001
   52  et seq., as amended, to fund an eligible attorney’s law school
   53  education may be covered under the program.
   54         (4)Annually, within 30 days after the employment
   55  anniversary of an eligible attorney, the attorney shall submit
   56  to his or her employer a certification affidavit on a form
   57  prescribed by the department which certifies that the attorney
   58  was an eligible attorney as of his or her last employment
   59  anniversary. The employer shall submit each signed affidavit to
   60  the department within 60 days after the most recent employment
   61  anniversary of the eligible attorney.
   62         (5)(a)Subject to the availability of funds and receipt of
   63  the certification affidavit required in subsection (4), the
   64  Department of Education shall make one of the following annual
   65  payments directly to the financial institution that services the
   66  loan:
   67         1.Three thousand dollars if the attorney has at least 4
   68  years, but not more than 7 years, of continuous government
   69  service.
   70         2.Five thousand dollars if the attorney has more than 7
   71  years, but not more than 10 years, of continuous government
   72  service.
   73         (b) If the eligible attorney holds more than one eligible
   74  loan, payment shall be made for the loan that has the highest
   75  current interest rate.
   76         (6)If the funds appropriated in any given fiscal year are
   77  insufficient to provide the maximum payment for eligible
   78  attorneys, the department shall prorate payments for all
   79  eligible attorneys by an equal percentage reduction.
   80         (7)The Department of Education may adopt rules necessary
   81  to administer the program.
   82         (8) The For the Greater Good Attorney Student Loan
   83  Repayment Program may be funded annually contingent upon a
   84  specific appropriation in the General Appropriations Act for the
   85  For the Greater Good Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program.
   86         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.