Florida Senate - 2019                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 526
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  02/19/2019           .                                

       The Committee on Commerce and Tourism (Gruters) recommended the
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete lines 81 - 476
    4  and insert:
    5         (b) “Certified project” means a qualified project that has
    6  been evaluated by the board, determined by the commissioner to
    7  meet or exceed the desired economic impact and other criteria of
    8  the program, and has grant funds allocated to it based on the
    9  project’s estimated qualified expenditures.
   10         (c) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Film and
   11  Entertainment as described in s. 288.1251(1)(b), Florida
   12  Statutes.
   13         (d) “Department” means the Department of Economic
   14  Opportunity.
   15         (e) “Digital media project” means a commercial video game,
   16  including an educational video game, which includes at least 30
   17  minutes of game play time. The term does not include a project
   18  that may be considered obscene, as defined in s. 847.001,
   19  Florida Statutes.
   20         (f) “Family friendly” means having cross-generational
   21  appeal; being appropriate in theme, content, and language for a
   22  broad family audience; embodying a responsible resolution of
   23  issues; and not containing any act of smoking, illicit drug use,
   24  sex, nudity, gratuitous violence, or vulgar or profane language.
   25         (g) “Film project” means a theatrical, direct-to-video,
   26  television, cable, Internet, streaming service, or animated
   27  narrative motion picture at least 75 minutes in length. The term
   28  does not include a project deemed by the office to have content
   29  that is obscene, as defined in s. 847.001, Florida Statutes.
   30         (h) “Florida resident” means a person who has a valid
   31  Florida driver license or Florida identification card issued
   32  under s. 322.051, Florida Statutes, and has signed an affidavit
   33  confirming residency.
   34         (i) “Office” means the Office of Film and Entertainment
   35  within the department.
   36         (j) “Principal photography” means, for a film project or
   37  television project, the filming of major or significant
   38  components of the project which involve lead actors, or, for a
   39  digital media project, the period of time during which the work
   40  of the majority of the crew is dedicated solely to the project.
   41         (k) “Production start date” means:
   42         1. For film and television projects, the start date of
   43  principal photography, as listed in the project’s application.
   44         2. For digital media projects, the start date of
   45  storyboards or a later date as specified in the project’s
   46  application.
   47         (l)1. “Qualified expenditures” means expenditures made
   48  solely for preproduction, production, or postproduction of a
   49  qualified project which are incurred in this state for any of
   50  the following:
   51         a. Rented or leased goods or services provided by a vendor
   52  or supplier in this state which is registered with the
   53  Department of State or the Department of Revenue; which has a
   54  physical address in this state, not including a post office box;
   55  and which employs one or more Florida residents on a full-time
   56  basis. The term does not include rebilled goods or services
   57  provided by an in-state company from out-of-state vendors or
   58  suppliers. When services provided by the vendor or supplier
   59  include personal services or labor, only personal services or
   60  labor provided by Florida residents qualifies.
   61         b. Payments to Florida residents in the form of salary or
   62  wages up to a maximum of $200,000 per resident, including
   63  amounts paid through payroll service companies, and benefits
   64  such as pension, health, and welfare payments for technical and
   65  production crews, directors, producers, and performers. For
   66  purposes of this sub-subparagraph, payments do not include wages
   67  for executives, legal staff, or other corporate staff who are
   68  not employed to work solely on the project.
   69         2. “Qualified expenditures” includes expenditures for
   70  renting cars, trucks, and trailers if such car, truck, or
   71  trailer is registered with the Department of Highway Safety and
   72  Motor Vehicles.
   73         3. “Qualified expenditures” does not include expenditures
   74  not expressly identified in subparagraphs 1. or 2., expenditures
   75  made before qualification for the program, expenditures made via
   76  Internet transactions, or any costs associated with development,
   77  marketing, or distribution.
   79  For the purposes of a digital media project, the term includes
   80  only those qualified expenditures made within 9 months after the
   81  project’s first qualified expenditure.
   82         (m) “Qualified project” means a film project, television
   83  project, or digital media project for which a complete
   84  application for the program has been submitted to the
   85  commissioner and accepted for consideration by the board. The
   86  term does not include a weather or market program; a sporting
   87  event or a sporting event broadcast; a gala; an awards show; a
   88  production that solicits funds; a home shopping program; a
   89  political program; a documentary; a gambling-related project or
   90  production; a concert production; a news or current events show;
   91  a sports or sports recap show; a pornographic production; or any
   92  production deemed obscene under chapter 847, Florida Statutes.
   93         (n) “Television project” means a television pilot program
   94  or a television series that:
   95         1. Is a scripted drama, comedy, or animation;
   96         2. Has a runtime of at least 30 minutes but not more than
   97  60 minutes; and
   98         3. If the television project is a television series, has a
   99  minimum of seven episodes.
  101  The term does not include a project deemed by the office to have
  102  content that is obscene, as defined in s. 847.001, Florida
  103  Statutes.
  104         (o) “Underutilized area” means any county in this state
  105  other than Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Orange County, or
  106  Seminole County.
  107         (3) GRANT ELIGIBILITY.—
  108         (a) To be eligible for a grant, an applicant must be
  109  producing a project that:
  110         1. Has projected qualified expenditures of:
  111         a. For a film project, at least $1.5 million;
  112         b. For a television series, at least $500,000 per episode;
  113         c. For a television pilot, at least $1 million; or
  114         d. For a digital media project, at least $1.5 million;
  115         2. Is projected to employ a crew, including cast and stand
  116  ins, but not including extras, also known as background
  117  performers, of which at least 60 percent will be Florida
  118  residents and at least one member will be a military veteran;
  119         3. Is projected to spend at least 70 percent of its total
  120  production days in this state; and
  121         4. Will not receive a certificate of exemption pursuant to
  122  s. 288.1258.
  123         (b) A project may receive a grant in the amount of up to 20
  124  percent of its verified qualified expenditures. A bonus may be
  125  earned in the amount of an additional 3 percentage points, if 75
  126  percent of the project’s production will take place in an
  127  underutilized county or if its content is deemed family
  128  friendly. A certified project may not receive more than one
  129  bonus, and the total that may be awarded under any grant may not
  130  exceed 23 percent of its verified qualified expenditures or $2
  131  million, whichever is less.
  132         (c) A certified project must make a good faith effort to
  133  use existing providers of infrastructure or equipment in this
  134  state, when available, including providers of camera gear, grip
  135  and lighting equipment, vehicles, and postproduction services,
  136  and to employ cast and crew who are Florida residents.
  137         (4)APPLICATION WINDOWS.—Applications must be accepted for
  138  the program during two application windows each fiscal year. The
  139  commissioner shall set a start date for both application
  140  windows. However, the first application window must end no later
  141  than 5 business days after July 1 and the second must end no
  142  later than 5 business days after January 1.
  143         (a) The department may not earmark or set aside more than
  144  60 percent of any appropriated or rolled-over grant funds for
  145  any given fiscal year for applications submitted during the
  146  first application window. Grant funds not earmarked and set
  147  aside for applicants applying during one application window roll
  148  over for use in the next application window.
  149         (b) If all grant funds are earmarked and set aside for
  150  certified projects, additional applications may not be accepted
  151  until more funds become available to the program.
  152         (5) APPLICATION PROCESS.—
  153         (a) A company that plans to produce a film, television, or
  154  digital project in this state may submit an application to the
  155  commissioner during one of the two application windows. A
  156  project must have a production start date that is within 6
  157  months after July 1 if applying in the first window or January 1
  158  if applying in the second window.
  159         (b) The application must include:
  160         1. Proof of funding;
  161         2. Project-related employment information, including
  162  employment numbers for Florida residents;
  163         3. A full line-item budget and a detailed qualified
  164  expenditures budget;
  165         4. A detailed distribution plan to assist with determining
  166  the potential economic impact of the project in this state;
  167         5. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures
  168  for wages paid to Florida residents;
  169         6. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures
  170  and non-qualified expenditures in this state;
  171         7. For a film project or television pilot, a final script,
  172  a production schedule, a Day out of Days report, and a list of
  173  the expected shooting locations;
  174         8. For a television series, scripts for two episodes, a Day
  175  out of Days report, and a list of the expected shooting
  176  locations;
  177         9. For a digital media project, a detailed game design
  178  document;
  179         10. An affirmation signed by the applicant that the
  180  information on the application is correct; and
  181         11. The applicant’s Florida tax identification number.
  182         (c)Within a reasonable period of time after the last
  183  business day of each application window, the commissioner shall:
  184         1. Review all applications submitted during the application
  185  window and determine the eligibility of each applicant;
  186         2. Determine each applicant’s expected qualified
  187  expenditures;
  188         3. Determine the maximum grant amount that each eligible
  189  applicant may be awarded;
  190         4. Determine whether an eligible applicant’s project is
  191  deemed family friendly;
  192         5. Determine the percentage of the applicant’s production,
  193  if any, which is proposed to occur in an underutilized county;
  194         6. Determine whether each eligible applicant is a
  195  corporation registered in this state;
  196         7. Contact each applicant with any questions, as necessary;
  197         8. Gather any additional information needed to address the
  198  criteria specified under subsection (7);
  199         9. Assemble a package containing the details of each
  200  eligible applicant’s project and deliver it to each board
  201  member; and
  202         10. Give notice to the board of the date and time for when
  203  the board must convene to assess each qualified project, as
  204  provided for in paragraph (6)(d).
  205         (d) An applicant may submit only one application per
  206  application window.
  208         (a) The Grant Advisory Board is created within the office.
  209  The board shall comply with the requirements of s. 20.052,
  210  Florida Statutes, except as otherwise provided in this section.
  211         (b) The board shall consist of seven members appointed by
  212  the commissioner. Of these seven members:
  213         1. Three shall be members of the Florida Film and
  214  Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the
  215  Governor;
  216         2. Two shall be members of the Florida Film and
  217  Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the
  218  President of the Senate; and
  219         3. Two shall be members of the Florida Film and
  220  Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the Speaker
  221  of the House of Representatives.
  222         4. If a board member has a conflict of interest with a
  223  project under consideration, the commissioner must select an
  224  alternate member from the Florida Film and Entertainment
  225  Advisory Council.
  226         5. The commissioner shall attend and oversee all meetings.
  227         (c) The board shall meet at the call of the commissioner
  228  pursuant to subparagraph (5)(c)10. The board may hold subsequent
  229  meetings after the initial meeting for that application window.
  230  The board may meet in person or by conference call.
  231         (d)1. The board shall determine a score for each qualified
  232  project using the criteria specified under subsection (7), with
  233  the highest scores going to projects determined to provide the
  234  best economic impact and return on investment to the state.
  235         2. The board shall make a recommendation for certification
  236  or rejection of each qualified project to the commissioner
  237  within 10 days after the board’s first meeting for that
  238  application window.
  240         (a)The priority order and scoring system of the criteria
  241  specified in paragraph (b) must be determined by the
  242  commissioner, with assistance from the board and other persons,
  243  as determined by the commissioner, in advance of the first
  244  application window.
  245         (b)The board shall use at least the following criteria in
  246  determining a qualified project’s score:
  247         1. The amount of the project’s overall qualified
  248  expenditures.
  249         2. The amount of the project’s Florida-resident wages.
  250         3. The number of full-time-equivalent jobs created by the
  251  project.
  252         4. Whether the project provides pension, health, and
  253  welfare benefits to its workforce in this state.
  254         5.The estimated direct and indirect tourism benefit of the
  255  project, based on submitted distribution plans.
  256         6. The duration of Florida-resident employment for the
  257  project.
  258         7.What percentage of the project, if any, is being made in
  259  an underutilized county.
  260         8. Whether the project is family friendly.
  261         9. Whether the project has a Florida-resident writer,
  262  producer, or star.
  263         10. Whether a Florida film, television, or digital media
  264  school will assist with the production of the project.
  265         11. Whether the project leadership team has a successful
  266  track record.
  267         12. The number of Florida-resident veterans hired by the
  268  project.
  269         13. The number of Florida film school graduates the project
  270  will hire as cast or crew.
  271         (8) NOTIFICATION OF DECISION.—
  272         (a) After the board makes its recommendations to the
  273  commissioner, the commissioner shall, in a timely manner:
  274         1.Make a final determination on certifying or rejecting
  275  each qualified project, giving consideration to the board’s
  276  recommendations and scoring.
  277         2.Provide a list of certified projects to the department
  278  which includes the associated maximum grant amounts that the
  279  respective applicants may receive.
  280         3. Notify each certified project of the specified
  281  percentage of qualified expenditures for which it is eligible
  282  and the maximum grant amount that it may receive.
  283         4. Provide a notice of rejection to each rejected
  284  applicant; however, the failure to notify an applicant of its
  285  rejection does not deem the applicant’s project a certified
  286  project.
  287         (b) Based on the final determination of the commissioner,
  288  the department shall earmark and set aside the amount necessary
  289  to fund the total maximum that may be awarded for the certified
  290  projects, if funds are available.
  291         (9)(a) VERIFICATION PROCESS.—The commissioner shall develop
  292  a process to verify the actual qualified expenditures of a
  293  certified project after the project’s work in this state is
  294  complete. The process must require all of the following:
  295         1.Submission to the commissioner of at least all of the
  296  following information, electronically or in hard copy, or both,
  297  by each certified project:
  298         a. Data substantiating each qualified expenditure, which
  299  has been audited by an independent certified public accountant
  300  licensed in this state, as required by subparagraph 4.;
  301         b. Copies of documents verifying residency of persons
  302  represented as being Florida residents;
  303         c. The final script;
  304         d. The most recent production board and shooting schedule;
  305         e. The most recent credit list showing where the credits
  306  required under subsection (10) will appear;
  307         f.A cast list and a final crew list with contact
  308  information; and
  309         g. For the veteran employed by the project, a copy of his
  310  or her DD Form 214, as issued by the United States Department of
  311  Defense, or another acceptable form of identification as
  312  specified by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
  313         2.Signing, and submission to the commissioner, by the
  314  certified project of an affidavit or written declaration signed
  315  under the penalty of perjury as specified in s. 92.525, Florida
  316  Statutes, stating that all salaries, wages, and other
  317  compensation submitted as qualified expenditures are in
  318  compliance with this section.
  319         3. The information and affidavit required by subparagraphs
  320  1. and 2. must be received by the commissioner within 120 days
  321  after the certified project has made its last qualified
  322  expenditure, but no later than 1 year after its production start
  323  date. Pursuant to the rules adopted by the department, the
  324  commissioner may, upon a showing of good cause, grant a one-time
  325  extension of this deadline.
  326         4. The conduct of a compliance audit, at the certified
  327  project’s expense, by an independent certified public accountant
  328  who is a resident of this state to substantiate the qualified
  329  expenditures, and submission of a report of the findings of the
  330  audit, including substantiating data, to the commissioner within
  331  a reasonable period of time after the initial receipt of records
  332  from the certified project.
  333         (b) The commissioner shall review the report and data
  334  submitted by the certified public accountant within a reasonable
  335  period of time after receipt of the report and data and report
  336  to the department the final verified amount of actual qualified
  337  expenditures made by the certified project and the amount of the
  338  grant due to the such project.
  339         (c) Upon approval by the department of the final grant
  340  amount, which may not exceed the maximum specified in the notice
  341  provided under subparagraph (8)(a)3., the grant must be issued
  342  within a reasonable period of time.
  343         (d) The department shall deduct one-half of 1 percent of
  344  the total grant amount before issuing the grant to the certified
  345  project, and such amount must be credited to the department to
  346  offset the cost of the compliance review.
  347         (e) At the end of the fiscal year, grant funds that are not
  348  allocated to a certified project, and grant funds allocated but
  349  not awarded to a certified project, roll over to the next fiscal
  350  year.
  352         (a) The commissioner shall ensure, as a condition of
  353  receiving a grant under this section, that a certified project
  354  include marketing promoting this state as a tourist destination
  355  or film and entertainment production destination. At a minimum,
  356  the marketing must include placement in the end credits of a
  357  “Filmed in Florida” or “Produced in Florida” logo with size and
  358  placement commensurate to other logos included in the end
  359  credits or, if no logos are used, the statement “Filmed in
  360  Florida” or “Produced in Florida” or a similar statement
  361  approved by the commissioner and the logo of the local film
  362  office, if applicable. A digital media project must also supply
  363  a 5-second or longer animated logo with Produced in Florida” or
  364  other text, including the logo of the local digital media
  365  office, if applicable, as preapproved by the commissioner, in a
  366  manner easily seen by a consumer of the digital media project.
  367  The commissioner shall provide the logos for the purposes
  368  specified in this paragraph, not including the logo for a local
  369  office, which must be provided by the applicable office.
  370         (b) A certified project must allow the commissioner, or an
  371  affiliate, and a minimum of two guests to visit the production
  372  site upon the request of the commissioner. Upon such request,
  373  the certified project must give the commissioner reasonable
  374  notice of a visit date and time that is acceptable to the
  375  production. The commissioner or an affiliate is not required to
  376  make a visit to the set.
  377         (c) A certified project must provide at least five
  378  preapproved photos of the production to the commissioner and
  379  grant the commissioner free use of such photos in promoting this
  380  state as a film, television, or digital media production
  381  location or tourist destination.
  382         (11) DISQUALIFICATION.—The department shall disqualify a
  383  certified project if the project:
  384         (a) Does not begin principal photography in this state
  385  within the period beginning 30 days before and ending 90 days
  386  after the project’s listed production start date. Pursuant to
  387  department rule, the commissioner may, upon a showing of good
  388  cause, grant a one-time extension of this deadline;
  389         (b) Does not abide by the policies, procedures, deadlines,
  390  or requirements of the application verification process;
  391         (c) Does not notify the commissioner of any change in the
  392  production start date before commencing production; or
  393         (d) Submits fraudulent information.
  394         (12) FRAUD.—An applicant that submits fraudulent
  395  information under this section is liable for reimbursement of
  396  the reasonable costs and fees associated with the review,
  397  processing, investigation, and prosecution of the fraudulent
  398  submission. An applicant that obtains a grant under this section
  399  through a claim that is fraudulent shall reimburse the program
  400  for the grant awarded and reasonable costs and fees associated
  401  with the review, processing, investigation, and prosecution of
  402  the fraudulent claim and shall pay a civil penalty in an amount
  403  equal to double the grant amount and any criminal penalty to
  404  which the applicant may be subject.
  405         (13) RULES; POLICIES; PROCEDURES.—The commissioner may
  406  adopt rules and shall develop policies and procedures to
  407  administer this section, including, but not limited to, rules
  408  specifying requirements for the application and approval process
  409  and the determination of qualified expenditures.
  410         (14) ANNUAL REPORT.—Each November 1, the commissioner shall
  411  provide an annual report on the program for the previous fiscal
  412  year to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the
  413  Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report must
  414  identify the return on investment associated with, and economic
  415  benefits to the state attributable to, the program.
  416         (15) EXPIRATION.—The Film, Television, and Digital Media
  417  Targeted Grant Program expires June 30, 2022, at which point all
  418  remaining appropriated funds not earmarked and set aside for
  419  certified projects must revert to the General Revenue Fund. All
  420  remaining appropriated funds must revert to the General Revenue
  421  Fund no later than October 31, 2023.
  423  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  424  And the title is amended as follows:
  425         Delete lines 14 - 55
  426  and insert:
  427         of infrastructure or equipment in this state and
  428         Florida-resident cast and crew; requiring the
  429         commissioner to set application windows for the grant;
  430         providing requirements for the department relating to
  431         earmarking and setting aside grant funds; providing
  432         procedures and requirements for applicants applying
  433         for the grant; requiring the commissioner to take
  434         specified action within a reasonable period of time;
  435         specifying that an applicant is may submit only one
  436         application per application window; creating the Grant
  437         Advisory Board within the Office of Film and
  438         Entertainment of the department; providing membership
  439         requirements for the board; requiring the commissioner
  440         to select an alternate board member when certain
  441         conflicts of interest are present; providing meeting
  442         requirements for the board; requiring the board to
  443         determine a score for each qualified project using
  444         specified criteria; requiring the board to make a
  445         recommendation for certification or rejection of a
  446         qualified project within a specified timeframe;
  447         requiring the commissioner to determine the priority
  448         order and scoring system of the specified criteria
  449         with assistance from the board and certain other
  450         persons; requiring the board to use certain criteria;
  451         requiring the commissioner to take certain actions
  452         relating to the certification or rejection of
  453         qualified projects in a timely manner; requiring the
  454         department to earmark and set aside funding necessary
  455         to fund the total maximum that may be awarded to the
  456         certified projects, if funds are available; requiring
  457         the commissioner to develop a verification process to
  458         verify the actual certified expenditures of a
  459         certified project after the project’s work in this
  460         state is complete; providing requirements for the
  461         verification process; requiring that the grant be
  462         issued within a reasonable period of time upon
  463         approval of the final grant amount by the department;
  464         requiring the department to deduct a specified
  465         percentage of the grant and to credit the amount to
  466         the department to offset certain expenses; requiring
  467         that certain marketing be included with a project;
  468         requiring certified projects to allow certain persons
  469         to visit the production site upon request of the
  470         commissioner and after providing the commissioner with
  471         reasonable notice; specifying that a visit to the