Florida Senate - 2014 SB 146 By Senator Ring 29-00062-14 2014146__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to student loans; creating s. 43.45, 3 F.S.; providing definitions; providing for a financial 4 assistance program administered by the Justice 5 Administrative Commission and the Office of the 6 Attorney General 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 provisions for program administration; requiring the 11 administering body to make a payment of a certain 12 amount based on the length of employment as an 13 eligible career attorney; providing for funding; 14 requiring the Justice Administrative Commission and 15 the Office of the Attorney General to develop 16 procedures to administer the program; providing an 17 effective date. 18 19 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 20 21 Section 1. Section 43.45, Florida Statutes, is created to 22 read: 23 43.45 Student loan assistance program; administration.— 24 (1) As used in this section, the term: 25 (a) “Administering body” means the: 26 1. Justice Administrative Commission if the eligible career 27 attorney is employed as an assistant state attorney or assistant 28 public defender. 29 2. Office of the Attorney General if the eligible career 30 attorney is employed as an assistant attorney general or 31 assistant statewide prosecutor. 32 (b) “Eligible attorney” means an assistant state attorney, 33 assistant public defender, assistant attorney general, or 34 assistant statewide prosecutor. 35 (c) “Eligible career attorney” means an eligible attorney 36 who has completed at least 3 years but not more than 12 years of 37 continuous service as an eligible attorney, regardless of 38 whether the eligible attorney had a break in employment of less 39 than 2 weeks while transferring to another employer of eligible 40 attorneys. 41 (d) “Eligible student loan” means a loan that is not in 42 default and that was issued pursuant to the Higher Education Act 43 of 1965, 20 U.S.C. ss. 1001 et seq., as amended, to an eligible 44 career attorney to fund his or her law school education. 45 (e) “Employment anniversary” means the anniversary of the 46 date that an eligible career attorney commenced employment as an 47 eligible attorney. 48 (f) “Maximum available amount” means a number that shall be 49 determined if the amount of the appropriation from the General 50 Revenue Fund to the administering body is less than the amount 51 necessary to fund total payments owed by the administering body. 52 The maximum available amount is calculated by dividing the 53 amount of the appropriation to the administering body by the 54 amount necessary to fund total payments that the administering 55 body owes under paragraph (3)(b) and multiplying the result by 56 the appropriate payment amount in subparagraph (3)(b)1. or 2. 57 (2) The administering body shall implement a student loan 58 assistance program for eligible career attorneys. The purpose of 59 the program is to provide financial assistance to eligible 60 career attorneys for the repayment of eligible student loans. 61 (3) The student loan assistance program is administered in 62 the following manner: 63 (a) Within 30 days after the employment anniversary of an 64 eligible career attorney, the eligible career attorney must 65 submit to his or her employer a certification affidavit on a 66 form authorized by the administering body, which certifies that 67 the eligible career attorney, as of his or her last employment 68 anniversary, is an eligible career attorney with one or more 69 eligible student loans. If the employer signs the certification 70 affidavit, the employer shall submit the affidavit to the 71 administering body within 60 days after the most recent 72 employment anniversary of the eligible career attorney. 73 (b) Upon receipt of a certification affidavit, the 74 administering body shall make a payment of: 75 1. Three thousand dollars or the maximum available amount, 76 whichever is less, if the eligible career attorney has at least 77 3 years, but not more than 6 years, of continuous service. 78 2. Five thousand dollars or the maximum available amount, 79 whichever is less, if the eligible career attorney has more than 80 6 years, but not more than 12 years, of continuous service. 81 (c) A payment under paragraph (b) shall be made by the 82 administering body: 83 1. To the lender of the eligible student loan. 84 2. Between July 1 and July 31 of the next fiscal year 85 following receipt of the certification affidavit by the 86 administering body. 87 3. For the benefit of the eligible career attorney named in 88 the certification affidavit and for the purpose of satisfying 89 his or her eligible student loan obligation. 90 4. For the eligible student loan that has the highest 91 current interest rate if the eligible career attorney holds more 92 than one eligible student loan. 93 (d) Payments under paragraph (b) cease upon totaling 94 $44,000 per eligible career attorney or upon full satisfaction 95 of the eligible student loan, whichever occurs first. 96 (4) The student loan assistance program may be funded 97 annually contingent upon a specific appropriation in the General 98 Appropriations Act for student loan repayment assistance to 99 eligible assistant state attorneys, assistant public defenders, 100 assistant attorneys general, and assistant statewide 101 prosecutors. 102 (5) The Justice Administrative Commission and the Office of 103 the Attorney General shall develop procedures to administer this 104 section. 105 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.