Florida Senate - 2015 SB 1246 By Senator Detert 28-00994B-15 20151246__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to individuals with disabilities; 3 requiring the Department of Economic Opportunity, in 4 consultation with other organizations, to create the 5 Florida Unique Abilities Partner program; defining the 6 term “individuals who have a disability”; establishing 7 criteria for a business entity to be designated as a 8 Florida Unique Abilities Partner; requiring a business 9 entity to certify that it continues to meet the 10 established criteria for designation each year; 11 requiring the department to remove the designation if 12 a business entity does not submit yearly certification 13 of continued eligibility; authorizing a business 14 entity to discontinue its use of the designation; 15 requiring the department, in consultation with the 16 disability community, to develop a logo for business 17 entities designated as Florida Unique Abilities 18 Program Partners; requiring the department to adopt 19 guidelines and requirements for use of the logo; 20 authorizing the department to allow a designated 21 business entity to display a logo; prohibiting the use 22 of a logo if a business entity does not have a current 23 designation; requiring the department to maintain a 24 website with specified information; requiring the 25 Agency for Persons with Disabilities and the Florida 26 Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation to provide a 27 link on their websites to the department’s website for 28 the Florida Unique Abilities Partner program; 29 requiring the department to partner with the Florida 30 Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation to create a 31 marketing campaign with specified goals; requiring the 32 department to identify employment opportunities posted 33 by employers that receive the Florida Unique Abilities 34 Partner designation on the workforce information 35 system; requiring the department to provide a 36 specified report to the Legislature by a specified 37 date; requiring the department to adopt rules; 38 providing an effective date. 39 40 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 41 42 Section 1. (1) The Department of Economic Opportunity shall 43 establish the Florida Unique Abilities Partner program to 44 designate a business entity as a Florida Unique Abilities 45 Partner if the business entity demonstrates commitment, through 46 employment and support, to the independence of individuals who 47 have a disability. The department shall consult with the Agency 48 for Persons with Disabilities, the Division of Vocational 49 Rehabilitation of the Department of Education, the Division of 50 Blind Services of the Department of Education, and CareerSource 51 Florida in creating the program. As used in this section, the 52 term “individuals who have a disability” means persons who have 53 a physical or intellectual impairment that substantially limits 54 one or more major life activities; persons who have a history or 55 record of such an impairment; or persons who are perceived by 56 others as having such an impairment. 57 (2) A business entity may apply to the Department of 58 Economic Opportunity to be designated as a Florida Unique 59 Abilities Partner, based on the business entity’s achievements 60 in at least one of the following categories: 61 (a) Employment of individuals who have a disability. 62 (b) Contributions to local or national disability 63 organizations or the establishment of a program that contributes 64 to the independence of individuals who have a disability. 65 (3) The Department of Economic Opportunity shall adopt 66 procedures for the application and designation processes for the 67 Florida Unique Abilities Partner program. Designation as a 68 Florida Unique Abilities Partner does not establish or involve 69 licensure, does not affect the substantial interests of a party, 70 and does not constitute a final agency action. The Florida 71 Unique Abilities Partner program and designation are not subject 72 to chapter 120, Florida Statutes. 73 (4) In determining the eligibility for the designation of a 74 business entity as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner, the 75 Department of Economic Opportunity must consider, at a minimum, 76 the following criteria: 77 (a) A business entity must certify that it employs at least 78 one individual who has a disability. Such employees must be 79 residents of this state and must have been employed by the 80 business entity for at least 9 months before the business 81 entity’s application for the designation; or 82 (b) A business entity must certify that it has made 83 contributions to local and national disability organizations or 84 contributions in support of individuals who have a disability. 85 Contributions may be accomplished through financial or in-kind 86 contributions, including employee volunteer hours, or 87 accomplished through the establishment of a program that 88 contributes to the independence of individuals who have a 89 disability. Contributions must be documented by providing copies 90 of written receipts or letters of acknowledgment from recipients 91 or donees. A business entity with 100 or fewer employees must 92 make a financial or in-kind contribution of at least $1,000, and 93 a business entity with more than 100 employees must make a 94 financial or in-kind contribution of at least $5,000. 95 (5) The Department of Economic Opportunity may consider 96 recommendations from members of the disability community in 97 which the business entity is located as part of the business 98 entity’s application for designation as a Florida Unique 99 Abilities Partner. 100 (6) After an initial designation as a Florida Unique 101 Abilities Partner, a business entity must certify each year that 102 it continues to meet the criteria for the designation. If a 103 business entity does not submit yearly certification of 104 continued eligibility, the Department of Economic Opportunity 105 shall remove the designation. A business entity may elect to 106 discontinue its use of the designation at any time by notifying 107 the department of such decision. 108 (7) The Department of Economic Opportunity, in consultation 109 with members of the disability community, must develop a logo 110 that identifies a business entity that is designated as a 111 Florida Unique Abilities Partner. 112 (8) The Department of Economic Opportunity must adopt 113 guidelines and requirements for use of the logo, including how 114 the logo may be used in advertising. The department may allow a 115 business entity to display a Florida Unique Abilities Partner 116 logo upon designation. A business entity that has not been 117 designated as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner or has elected 118 to discontinue its designated status may not display the logo. 119 (9) The Department of Economic Opportunity must maintain a 120 website that provides the public with a list of business 121 entities that currently have the Florida Unique Abilities 122 Partner designation and that provides information regarding the 123 eligibilities for the designation. At least once a year, the 124 department must publish on its website the best ways for 125 business entities to facilitate the inclusion of individuals who 126 have a disability. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities and 127 the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation must provide 128 a link on their websites to the department’s website that makes 129 available the information on the Florida Unique Abilities 130 Partner program and designation. 131 (10) The Department of Economic Opportunity shall partner 132 with the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation to 133 create a marketing campaign that includes periodic public 134 service announcements on radio and television stations, that 135 promotes the awareness of the Florida Unique Abilities Partner 136 program, and that encourages public support for business 137 entities that currently have the Florida Unique Abilities 138 Partner designation. 139 (11) The Department of Economic Opportunity shall identify 140 employment opportunities posted by business entities that 141 currently have the Florida Unique Abilities Partner designation 142 on the workforce information system under s. 445.011, Florida 143 Statutes. 144 (12) By January 1, 2016, the Department of Economic 145 Opportunity must provide a report to the President of the Senate 146 and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the status of 147 the implementation of this section, including the adoption of 148 rules, development of the logo, and development of application 149 procedures. 150 (13) The Department of Economic Opportunity shall adopt 151 rules to administer this section. 152 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.