(1) There is created the Department of Economic Opportunity.
(2) The head of the department is the executive director, who shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The executive director shall serve at the pleasure of and report to the Governor.
(3) The following divisions of the Department of Economic Opportunity are established:
(a) The Division of Strategic Business Development.
(b) The Division of Community Development.
(c) The Division of Workforce Services.
(d) The Division of Finance and Administration.
(e) The Division of Information Technology.
(4) The purpose of the department is to assist the Governor in working with the Legislature, state agencies, business leaders, and economic development professionals to formulate and implement coherent and consistent policies and strategies designed to promote economic opportunities for all Floridians. To accomplish such purposes, the department shall:
(a) Facilitate the direct involvement of the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor in economic development and workforce development projects designed to create, expand, and retain businesses in this state, to recruit business from around the world, and to facilitate other job-creating efforts.
(b) Recruit new businesses to this state and promote the expansion of existing businesses by expediting permitting and location decisions, worker placement and training, and incentive awards.
(c) Promote viable, sustainable communities by providing technical assistance and guidance on growth and development issues, grants, and other assistance to local communities.
(d) Ensure that the state’s goals and policies relating to economic development, workforce development, community planning and development, and affordable housing are fully integrated with appropriate implementation strategies.
(e) Manage the activities of public-private partnerships and state agencies in order to avoid duplication and promote coordinated and consistent implementation of programs in areas including, but not limited to, tourism; international trade and investment; business recruitment, creation, retention, and expansion; minority and small business development; rural community development; commercialization of products, services, or ideas developed in public universities or other public institutions; and the development and promotion of professional and amateur sporting events.
(f) Coordinate with state agencies on the processing of state development approvals or permits to minimize the duplication of information provided by the applicant and the time before approval or disapproval.
(5) The divisions within the department have specific responsibilities to achieve the duties, responsibilities, and goals of the department. Specifically: (a) The Division of Strategic Business Development shall:
1. Analyze and evaluate business prospects identified by the Governor, the executive director of the department, and Enterprise Florida, Inc.
2. Administer certain tax refund, tax credit, and grant programs created in law. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the department may expend interest earned from the investment of program funds deposited in the Grants and Donations Trust Fund to contract for the administration of those programs, or portions of the programs, assigned to the department by law, by the appropriations process, or by the Governor. Such expenditures shall be subject to review under chapter 216.
3. Develop measurement protocols for the state incentive programs and for the contracted entities which will be used to determine their performance and competitive value to the state. Performance measures, benchmarks, and sanctions must be developed in consultation with the legislative appropriations committees and the appropriate substantive committees, and are subject to the review and approval process provided in s. 216.177. The approved performance measures, standards, and sanctions shall be included and made a part of the strategic plan for contracts entered into for delivery of programs authorized by this section. 4. Develop a 5-year statewide strategic plan. The strategic plan must include, but need not be limited to:
a. Strategies for the promotion of business formation, expansion, recruitment, and retention through aggressive marketing, international development, and export assistance, which lead to more and better jobs and higher wages for all geographic regions, disadvantaged communities, and populations of the state, including rural areas, minority businesses, and urban core areas.
b. The development of realistic policies and programs to further the economic diversity of the state, its regions, and their associated industrial clusters.
c. Specific provisions for the stimulation of economic development and job creation in rural areas and midsize cities and counties of the state, including strategies for rural marketing and the development of infrastructure in rural areas.
d. Provisions for the promotion of the successful long-term economic development of the state with increased emphasis in market research and information.
e. Plans for the generation of foreign investment in the state which create jobs paying above-average wages and which result in reverse investment in the state, including programs that establish viable overseas markets, assist in meeting the financing requirements of export-ready firms, broaden opportunities for international joint venture relationships, use the resources of academic and other institutions, coordinate trade assistance and facilitation services, and facilitate availability of and access to education and training programs that assure requisite skills and competencies necessary to compete successfully in the global marketplace.
f. The identification of business sectors that are of current or future importance to the state’s economy and to the state’s global business image, and development of specific strategies to promote the development of such sectors.
g. Strategies for talent development necessary in the state to encourage economic development growth, taking into account factors such as the state’s talent supply chain, education and training opportunities, and available workforce.
5. Update the strategic plan every 5 years.
6. Involve Enterprise Florida, Inc.; Workforce Florida, Inc.; local governments; the general public; local and regional economic development organizations; other local, state, and federal economic, international, and workforce development entities; the business community; and educational institutions to assist with the strategic plan.
(b) The Division of Community Development shall:
1. Assist local governments and their communities in finding creative planning solutions to help them foster vibrant, healthy communities, while protecting the functions of important state resources and facilities.
2. Administer state and federal grant programs as provided by law to provide community development and project planning activities to maintain viable communities, revitalize existing communities, and expand economic development and employment opportunities, including:
a. The Community Services Block Grant Program.
b. The Community Development Block Grant Program in chapter 290.
c. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program in chapter 409.
d. The Weatherization Assistance Program in chapter 409.
e. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
f. The local comprehensive planning process and the development of regional impact process.
g. The Front Porch Florida Initiative through the Office of Urban Opportunity, which is created within the division. The purpose of the office is to administer the Front Porch Florida initiative, a comprehensive, community-based urban core redevelopment program that enables urban core residents to craft solutions to the unique challenges of each designated community.
3. Assist in developing the 5-year statewide strategic plan required by this section.
(c) The Division of Workforce Services shall:
1. Prepare and submit a unified budget request for workforce in accordance with chapter 216 for, and in conjunction with, Workforce Florida, Inc., and its board.
2. Ensure that the state appropriately administers federal and state workforce funding by administering plans and policies of Workforce Florida, Inc., under contract with Workforce Florida, Inc. The operating budget and midyear amendments thereto must be part of such contract.
a. All program and fiscal instructions to regional workforce boards shall emanate from the Department of Economic Opportunity pursuant to plans and policies of Workforce Florida, Inc., which shall be responsible for all policy directions to the regional workforce boards.
b. Unless otherwise provided by agreement with Workforce Florida, Inc., administrative and personnel policies of the Department of Economic Opportunity shall apply.
3. Implement the state’s reemployment assistance program. The Department of Economic Opportunity shall ensure that the state appropriately administers the reemployment assistance program pursuant to state and federal law.
4. Assist in developing the 5-year statewide strategic plan required by this section.
(6)(a) The Department of Economic Opportunity is the administrative agency designated for receipt of federal workforce development grants and other federal funds. The department shall administer the duties and responsibilities assigned by the Governor under each federal grant assigned to the department. The department shall expend each revenue source as provided by federal and state law and as provided in plans developed by and agreements with Workforce Florida, Inc. The department may serve as the contract administrator for contracts entered into by Workforce Florida, Inc., pursuant to s. 445.004(5), as directed by Workforce Florida, Inc.
(b) The Department of Economic Opportunity shall serve as the designated agency for purposes of each federal workforce development grant assigned to it for administration. The department shall carry out the duties assigned to it by the Governor, under the terms and conditions of each grant. The department shall have the level of authority and autonomy necessary to be the designated recipient of each federal grant assigned to it, and shall disburse such grants pursuant to the plans and policies of Workforce Florida, Inc. The executive director may, upon delegation from the Governor and pursuant to agreement with Workforce Florida, Inc., sign contracts, grants, and other instruments as necessary to execute functions assigned to the department. Notwithstanding other provisions of law, the department shall administer other programs funded by federal or state appropriations, as determined by the Legislature in the General Appropriations Act or by law.
(7) The department may provide or contract for training for employees of administrative entities and case managers of any contracted providers to ensure they have the necessary competencies and skills to provide adequate administrative oversight and delivery of the full array of client services.
(8) The Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission, authorized by s. 443.012, is not subject to control, supervision, or direction by the department in the performance of its powers and duties but shall receive any and all support and assistance from the department which is required for the performance of its duties. (9) The executive director shall:
(a) Manage all activities and responsibilities of the department.
(b) Serve as the manager for the state with respect to contracts with Enterprise Florida, Inc., the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, and all applicable direct-support organizations. To accomplish the provisions of this section and applicable provisions of chapter 288, and notwithstanding the provisions of part I of chapter 287, the director shall enter into specific contracts with Enterprise Florida, Inc., the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, and other appropriate direct-support organizations. Such contracts may be for multiyear terms and shall include specific performance measures for each year. For purposes of this section, the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation is not an appropriate direct-support organization.
(10) The department, with assistance from Enterprise Florida, Inc., shall, by November 1 of each year, submit an annual report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the condition of the business climate and economic development in the state.
(a) The report must include the identification of problems and a prioritized list of recommendations.
(b) The report must incorporate annual reports of other programs, including: 1. The displaced homemaker program established under s. 446.50. 2. Information provided by the Department of Revenue under s. 290.014. 3. Information provided by enterprise zone development agencies under s. 290.0056 and an analysis of the activities and accomplishments of each enterprise zone. 4. The Economic Gardening Business Loan Pilot Program established under s. 288.1081 and the Economic Gardening Technical Assistance Pilot Program established under s. 288.1082. 5. A detailed report of the performance of the Black Business Loan Program and a cumulative summary of quarterly report data required under s. 288.714. 6. The Rural Economic Development Initiative established under s. 288.0656.
(11) The department shall establish annual performance standards for Enterprise Florida, Inc., Workforce Florida, Inc., the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, and Space Florida and report annually on how these performance measures are being met in the annual report required under subsection (10).
(12) The department shall have an official seal by which its records, orders, and proceedings are authenticated. The seal shall be judicially noticed.
(13) The department shall administer the role of state government under part I of chapter 421, relating to public housing; chapter 422, relating to housing cooperation law; and chapter 423, tax exemption of housing authorities. The department is the agency of state government responsible for the state’s role in housing and urban development.
1Note.—Section 498, ch. 2011-142, provides that:
“(1) For purposes of this section, the term “Disproportionally Affected County” means Bay County, Escambia County, Franklin County, Gulf County, Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Walton County, or Wakulla County.
“(2) There is appropriated for the 2011-2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014 fiscal years the sum of $10 million each year in recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Economic Opportunity. The Department of Economic Opportunity shall use these funds to execute a contract for $10 million annually, for a term not to exceed three years, with the Office of Economic Development and Engagement within the University of West Florida for the charitable purpose of developing and implementing an innovative economic development program for promoting research and development, commercialization of research, economic diversification, and job creation in a Disproportionally Affected County.
“(3) The contract between the Department of Economic Opportunity and the Office of Economic Development and Engagement within the University of West Florida shall, at a minimum, require the Office of Economic Development and Engagement to report quarterly to the Department of Economic Opportunity and to collaborate with educational entities, economic development organizations, local governments, and relevant state agencies to create a program framework and strategy, including specific criteria governing the expenditure of funds. The criteria for the expenditure of funds shall, at a minimum, require a funding preference for any Disproportionally Affected County and any municipality within a Disproportionally Affected County which provides for expedited permitting in order to promote research and development, commercialization of research, economic diversification, and job creation within their respective jurisdictions. The criteria for the expenditure of funds shall, at a minimum, also require a funding preference for any Disproportionally Affected County and any municipality within a Disproportionally Affected County which combines its permitting processes and expedites permitting in order to promote research and development, commercialization of research, economic diversification, and job creation within their respective jurisdictions.
“(4) The funds appropriated in this section shall be placed in reserve by the Executive Office of the Governor, and may be released as authorized by law or the Legislative Budget Commission.”