Florida Senate - 2017                                     SB 152
       By Senator Garcia
       36-00167-17                                            2017152__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to small business financial
    3         assistance; creating s. 295.231, F.S.; creating the
    4         Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program
    5         within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs; directing
    6         Florida Is For Veterans, Inc., to administer the
    7         program; defining terms; authorizing the corporation
    8         to accept and administer moneys appropriated for such
    9         grants; specifying grant amounts; limiting the amount
   10         that a small business may receive under the program;
   11         requiring a small business to apply to and enter into
   12         an agreement with the corporation to receive grants;
   13         prescribing minimum criteria for such agreements;
   14         requiring the corporation to notify the appropriate
   15         regional small business development center of a small
   16         business’ participation; providing for termination of
   17         the program; authorizing the department to adopt
   18         rules; providing an appropriation; providing effective
   19         dates.
   21  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   23         Section 1. Section 295.231, Florida Statutes, is created to
   24  read:
   25         295.231 Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program.
   26  The Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program is created
   27  within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to be administered by
   28  Florida Is For Veterans, Inc. The purpose of the program is to
   29  stimulate investment in the state’s economy by providing grants
   30  to small businesses that hire and employ honorably discharged
   31  veterans or disabled veterans with service-connected
   32  disabilities.
   33         (1) As used in this section, the term:
   34         (a) “Corporation” means Florida Is For Veterans, Inc.
   35         (b) “Small business” means an independently owned and
   36  operated, for-profit, privately held business that employs 200
   37  or fewer persons; generates $2 million or less in annual
   38  revenue; and has maintained its principal place of business in
   39  this state for at least the previous 4 calendar years.
   40         (2) The corporation may accept and administer moneys
   41  appropriated to the department, for transfer to the corporation,
   42  to provide grants to encourage small businesses in this state to
   43  hire and employ veterans.
   44         (3) A small business that initially hires a veteran on or
   45  after October 1, 2017 as an employee may receive a one-time
   46  grant of:
   47         (a) Three thousand dollars per newly hired veteran, as
   48  defined in s. 1.01(14).
   49         (b) Five thousand dollars for each newly hired disabled
   50  veteran, as that term is described in s. 295.07(1)(a)1.
   51         (4) The total of grants awarded to a participating small
   52  business under subsection (3) may not exceed $25,000 per fiscal
   53  year.
   54         (5) A small business must apply to and enter into an
   55  agreement with the corporation in order to participate in the
   56  program. The agreement must require that the small business:
   57         (a) Employ a qualifying veteran for at least 1 year before
   58  becoming eligible for a grant awarded under subsection (3).
   59         (b) Report information regarding the employment status of
   60  each qualifying veteran, if requested to do so by the
   61  corporation.
   62         (c) Pay each qualifying veteran an amount equal to at least
   63  80 percent of the annual median income for veterans in this
   64  state, based on the most recent federal census or the most
   65  recent American Community Survey 5-year estimates published by
   66  the United States Census Bureau.
   67         (d) Use any awarded grant moneys to facilitate the small
   68  business’ creation of additional jobs for and employment of
   69  veterans; however, grant moneys may be used only for
   70  manufacturing, equipment, and facility expenses or other
   71  operating costs or fixed capital outlay projects.
   72         (e) Not receive an additional grant for rehiring a veteran
   73  previously claimed as an employee by the same small business for
   74  purposes of obtaining funds under the program.
   75         (f) Is eligible to receive a grant award only for a veteran
   76  initially hired on or after October 1, 2017.
   77         (6) The corporation shall notify the regional small
   78  business development center that serves the county in which a
   79  participating small business is located of the small business’
   80  participation in the grant program in order to facilitate
   81  improved access to the resources of the Florida Small Business
   82  Development Center Network.
   83         (7) The grant program terminates on the date that all funds
   84  appropriated for the program are expended or on October 1, 2027,
   85  whichever occurs first.
   86         (8) The Department of Veterans’ Affairs may adopt rules to
   87  implement and administer this section, including, but not
   88  limited to, rules specifying requirements for the application
   89  and approval process and the documentation necessary to claim
   90  grant moneys awarded under this section.
   91         Section 2. Effective July 1, 2017, for the 2017-2018 fiscal
   92  year, the sum of $10 million in nonrecurring funds from the
   93  General Revenue Fund is appropriated to the Department of
   94  Veterans’ Affairs for transfer to Florida Is For Veterans, Inc.,
   95  to implement and administer the Veterans Employment Small
   96  Business Grant Program. The corporation may award grant moneys
   97  up to a maximum of $900,000 per fiscal year. The corporation may
   98  spend up to $100,000 per fiscal year of funds transferred by the
   99  department for staffing and administrative costs associated with
  100  implementation and administration of the program. If any
  101  appropriated funds remain upon termination of the program,
  102  Florida Is For Veterans, Inc., shall transfer those funds to the
  103  Department of Veterans’ Affairs to revert to the General Revenue
  104  Fund.
  105         Section 3. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
  106  act and except for this section, which shall take effect July 1,
  107  2017, this act shall take effect October 1, 2017.