Florida Senate - 2015 CS for SB 1246 By the Committee on Commerce and Tourism; and Senator Detert 577-02088-15 20151246c1 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 to provide a link 26 on its website to the department’s website for the 27 Florida Unique Abilities Partner program; requiring 28 the department to provide the Florida Tourism Industry 29 Marketing Corporation with certain information; 30 requiring the department to identify employment 31 opportunities posted by employers that receive the 32 Florida Unique Abilities Partner designation on the 33 workforce information system; requiring the department 34 to provide a specified report to the Legislature by a 35 specified date; requiring the department to adopt 36 rules; providing an effective date. 37 38 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 39 40 Section 1. (1) The Department of Economic Opportunity shall 41 establish the Florida Unique Abilities Partner program to 42 designate a business entity as a Florida Unique Abilities 43 Partner if the business entity demonstrates commitment, through 44 employment and support, to the independence of individuals who 45 have a disability. The department shall consult with the Agency 46 for Persons with Disabilities, the Division of Vocational 47 Rehabilitation of the Department of Education, the Division of 48 Blind Services of the Department of Education, and CareerSource 49 Florida in creating the program. As used in this section, the 50 term “individuals who have a disability” means persons who have 51 a physical or intellectual impairment that substantially limits 52 one or more major life activities; persons who have a history or 53 record of such an impairment; or persons who are perceived by 54 others as having such an impairment. 55 (2) A business entity may apply to the Department of 56 Economic Opportunity to be designated as a Florida Unique 57 Abilities Partner, based on the business entity’s achievements 58 in at least one of the following categories: 59 (a) Employment of individuals who have a disability. 60 (b) Contributions to local or national disability 61 organizations or the establishment of a program that contributes 62 to the independence of individuals who have a disability. 63 (3) As an alternative to application by a business entity, 64 the Department of Economic Opportunity must consider nominations 65 from members of the community in which the business entity is 66 located. The nomination must identify the business entity’s 67 achievements in one or both of the categories as provided in 68 subsection (2). 69 (4) The Department of Economic Opportunity shall adopt 70 procedures for the application and designation processes for the 71 Florida Unique Abilities Partner program. Designation as a 72 Florida Unique Abilities Partner does not establish or involve 73 licensure, does not affect the substantial interests of a party, 74 and does not constitute a final agency action. The Florida 75 Unique Abilities Partner program and designation are not subject 76 to chapter 120, Florida Statutes. 77 (5) In determining the eligibility for the designation of a 78 business entity as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner, the 79 Department of Economic Opportunity must consider, at a minimum, 80 the following criteria: 81 (a) For a designation based on an application by a 82 business: 83 1. A business entity must certify that it employs at least 84 one individual who has a disability. Such employees must be 85 residents of this state and must have been employed by the 86 business entity for at least 9 months before the business 87 entity’s application for the designation. The department may not 88 require the employer to provide personally identifiable 89 information about its employees; or 90 2. A business entity must certify that it has made 91 contributions to local and national disability organizations or 92 contributions in support of individuals who have a disability. 93 Contributions may be accomplished through financial or in-kind 94 contributions, including employee volunteer hours, or 95 accomplished through the establishment of a program that 96 contributes to the independence of individuals who have a 97 disability. Contributions must be documented by providing copies 98 of written receipts or letters of acknowledgment from recipients 99 or donees. A business entity with 100 or fewer employees must 100 make a financial or in-kind contribution of at least $1,000, and 101 a business entity with more than 100 employees must make a 102 financial or in-kind contribution of at least $5,000. 103 (b) For a designation based upon receipt of a nomination of 104 a business entity, the Department of Economic Opportunity shall 105 determine whether the nominee, based on the information provided 106 by the nominating person or entity, meets the requirements of 107 paragraph (a). If the designee appears to meet the requirements, 108 the Department of Economic Opportunity shall provide notice to 109 the nominee, including the qualification criteria asserted in 110 the nomination. The nominee shall be provided 30 days from the 111 receipt of the notice to decline the nomination. After 30 days, 112 if the nomination has not been declined, the business must be 113 awarded the designation. 114 (6) After an initial designation as a Florida Unique 115 Abilities Partner, a business entity must certify each year that 116 it continues to meet the criteria for the designation. If a 117 business entity does not submit yearly certification of 118 continued eligibility, the Department of Economic Opportunity 119 shall remove the designation. A business entity may elect to 120 discontinue its use of the designation at any time by notifying 121 the department of such decision. 122 (7) The Department of Economic Opportunity, in consultation 123 with members of the disability community, must develop a logo 124 that identifies a business entity that is designated as a 125 Florida Unique Abilities Partner. 126 (8) The Department of Economic Opportunity must adopt 127 guidelines and requirements for use of the logo, including how 128 the logo may be used in advertising. The department may allow a 129 business entity to display a Florida Unique Abilities Partner 130 logo upon designation. A business entity that has not been 131 designated as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner or has elected 132 to discontinue its designated status may not display the logo. 133 (9) The Department of Economic Opportunity must maintain a 134 website that provides the public with a list of business 135 entities, by county, which currently have the Florida Unique 136 Abilities Partner designation and which provides information 137 regarding the eligibilities for the designation. At least once a 138 year, the department must publish on its website the best ways 139 for business entities to facilitate the inclusion of individuals 140 who have a disability. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities 141 must provide a link on its website to the department’s website 142 that makes available the information on the Florida Unique 143 Abilities Partner program and designation. 144 (10) On a quarterly basis, the Department of Economic 145 Opportunity must provide the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing 146 Corporation with a current list of all businesses that are 147 designated as Florida Unique Abilities Partners. The Florida 148 Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation must consider the Florida 149 Unique Abilities Partner program in the development of marketing 150 campaigns, and specifically in any targeted marketing campaign 151 for individuals who have a disability or their families. 152 (11) The Department of Economic Opportunity shall identify 153 employment opportunities posted by business entities that 154 currently have the Florida Unique Abilities Partner designation 155 on the workforce information system under s. 445.011, Florida 156 Statutes. 157 (12) By January 1, 2016, the Department of Economic 158 Opportunity must provide a report to the President of the Senate 159 and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the status of 160 the implementation of this section, including the adoption of 161 rules, development of the logo, and development of application 162 procedures. 163 (13) The Department of Economic Opportunity shall adopt 164 rules to administer this section. 165 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.