Florida Senate - 2019                                     SB 526
       By Senator Gruters
       23-00493-19                                            2019526__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the entertainment industry;
    3         creating the Film, Television, and Digital Media
    4         Targeted Grant Program within the Department of
    5         Economic Opportunity under the supervision of the
    6         Commissioner of Film and Entertainment; providing
    7         purposes for the program; defining terms; requiring
    8         that film, television, and digital media projects
    9         being produced in this state meet specified criteria
   10         for grant eligibility; authorizing applicants to
   11         receive grants up to a specified amount, including
   12         bonuses; requiring an applicant that receives funding
   13         to make a good faith effort to use existing providers
   14         of infrastructure or equipment in this state;
   15         establishing application windows for the grant;
   16         providing requirements for the department relating to
   17         earmarking and setting aside grant funds; providing
   18         procedures and requirements for applicants applying
   19         for the grant; requiring the commissioner to take
   20         specified action within a specified timeframe;
   21         specifying that an applicant is only authorized to
   22         submit one application per fiscal year unless the
   23         applicant is producing certain television programs;
   24         creating the Grant Advisory Board within the Office of
   25         Film and Entertainment of the department; providing
   26         membership requirements for the board; providing
   27         meeting requirements for the board; requiring the
   28         board to determine a score for each applicant’s
   29         project using specified criteria; requiring the board
   30         to make a recommendation for certification or
   31         rejection of applications within a specified
   32         timeframe; requiring the commissioner to determine the
   33         priority order and scoring system of the specified
   34         criteria with assistance from the board; requiring the
   35         board to use certain criteria; requiring the
   36         commissioner to take certain actions relating to the
   37         certification or denial of applications within a
   38         specified timeframe; requiring the department to
   39         earmark and set aside funding necessary to fund the
   40         total maximum that may be awarded to the qualified
   41         projects; requiring the commissioner to develop a
   42         verification process to verify the actual qualified
   43         expenditures of a qualified project after the
   44         project’s work in this state is complete; providing
   45         requirements for the verification process; requiring
   46         that the grant be issued within a specified timeframe
   47         upon approval of the final grant amount by the
   48         department; requiring the department to deduct a
   49         specified percentage of the grant and to credit the
   50         amount to the department to offset certain expenses;
   51         requiring that certain marketing be included with a
   52         project; requiring qualified projects to allow certain
   53         persons to visit the production site upon request of
   54         the commissioner and after providing the commissioner
   55         with certain notice; specifying that a visit to the
   56         production site is not required; requiring the
   57         department to disqualify a project under certain
   58         circumstances; providing for liability and imposing
   59         civil penalties for an applicant that submits
   60         fraudulent information; providing for rulemaking;
   61         requiring the commissioner to provide an annual report
   62         to the Governor and the Legislature on a specified
   63         date; providing for the expiration of the program;
   64         providing an effective date.
   66  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   68         Section 1. Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted
   69  Grant Program.—
   70         (1) CREATION AND PURPOSES OF PROGRAM.—The Film, Television,
   71  and Digital Media Targeted Grant Program is created within the
   72  Department of Economic Opportunity under the supervision of the
   73  Commissioner of Film and Entertainment. The purposes of the
   74  program are to boost this state’s economic prosperity; expand
   75  the impact of the film, television, and digital media industries
   76  on the economy of this state; and encourage more family-friendly
   77  productions in this state.
   78         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this act, unless the context
   79  otherwise requires, the term:
   80         (a)Board” means the Grant Advisory Board.
   81         (b) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Film and
   82  Entertainment as described in s. 288.1251(1)(b), Florida
   83  Statutes.
   84         (c) “Department” means the Department of Economic
   85  Opportunity.
   86         (d) “Digital media project” means a commercial video game
   87  that includes at least 30 minutes of game play time. The term
   88  does not include a project that may be considered obscene, as
   89  defined in s. 847.001, Florida Statutes.
   90         (e) “Family friendly” means having cross-generational
   91  appeal; being appropriate in theme, content, and language for a
   92  broad family audience; embodying a responsible resolution of
   93  issues; and not containing any act of smoking, illicit drug use,
   94  sex, nudity, gratuitous violence, or vulgar or profane language.
   95         (f) “Film project” means a theatrical, direct-to-video,
   96  television, or animated narrative motion picture at least 75
   97  minutes in length. The term does not include a project deemed by
   98  the office to have content that is obscene, as defined in s.
   99  847.001, Florida Statutes.
  100         (g) “Florida resident” means a person who has a valid
  101  Florida driver license or Florida identification card issued
  102  under s. 322.051, Florida Statutes, and has signed an affidavit
  103  confirming residency.
  104         (h) “Office” means the Office of Film and Entertainment
  105  within the department.
  106         (i) “Principal photography” means, for a film project or
  107  television project, the filming of major or significant
  108  components of the project which involve lead actors, or, for a
  109  digital media project, the period of time during which the work
  110  of the majority of the crew is dedicated solely to the project.
  111         (j) “Production expenditures” means the costs of tangible
  112  and intangible property used and services performed primarily
  113  and customarily during the preproduction, production, and
  114  postproduction of a project.
  115         1. The term includes, but is not limited to:
  116         a. Wages, salaries, or other compensation, including
  117  amounts paid through payroll service companies, for technical
  118  and production crews, directors, producers, and performers.
  119         b. Rental expenditures for sound stages, backlots,
  120  production, editing, digital effects, sound recording, sets, and
  121  set construction.
  122         c. Rental expenditures for equipment, including, but not
  123  limited to, cameras and grip or lighting equipment.
  124         d. Expenditures for production meals, craft services,
  125  rental cars, and hotels or other rental accommodations.
  126         2. The term does not include any costs associated with
  127  airfare, development, marketing, or distribution.
  128         (k) “Production start date” means:
  129         1. For film and television projects, the start date of
  130  principal photography, as listed in the project’s application.
  131         2. For digital media projects, the start date of
  132  storyboards or a later date as specified in the project’s
  133  application.
  134         (l)1. “Qualified expenditures” means production
  135  expenditures incurred for the following:
  136         a. Rented or leased goods or services provided by a vendor
  137  or supplier in this state which is registered with the
  138  Department of State or the Department of Revenue; which has a
  139  physical address, not including a post office box; and which
  140  employs one or more Florida residents on a full-time basis. The
  141  term does not include rebilled goods or services provided by an
  142  in-state company from out-of-state vendors or suppliers. When
  143  services provided by the vendor or supplier include personal
  144  services or labor, only personal services or labor provided by
  145  Florida residents qualifies.
  146         b. Payments to Florida residents in the form of salary or
  147  wages up to a maximum of $200,000 per resident. For purposes of
  148  this sub-subparagraph, payments do not include wages for
  149  executives, legal staff, workers, or other paid employees who
  150  are employed by the project or its parent or affiliate
  151  corporation.
  152         2. “Qualified expenditures” includes expenditures for
  153  renting cars, trucks, and trailers if such car, truck, or
  154  trailer is registered with the Department of Highway Safety and
  155  Motor Vehicles.
  156         3. “Qualified expenditures” does not include expenditures
  157  not expressly identified in subparagraphs 1. or 2., expenditures
  158  made before qualification for the program, or expenditures
  159  related to Internet transactions.
  161  For the purposes of a television project or a film project, the
  162  term includes only those qualified expenditures made within 2
  163  fiscal years after the project’s first qualified expenditure.
  164  For the purposes of a digital media project, the term includes
  165  only those qualified expenditures made within 9 months after the
  166  project’s first qualified expenditure.
  167         (m) “Qualified project” means a film project, television
  168  project, or digital media project for which a complete
  169  application for the program has been submitted to and certified
  170  by the commissioner. The term does not include a weather or
  171  market program; a sporting event or a sporting event broadcast;
  172  a gala; an awards show; a production that solicits funds; a home
  173  shopping program; a political program; a documentary; a
  174  gambling-related project or production; a concert production; a
  175  news or current events show; a sports or sports recap show; a
  176  pornographic production; or any production deemed obscene under
  177  chapter 847, Florida Statutes.
  178         (n) “Television project” means a television pilot program
  179  or series that:
  180         1. Is a scripted drama, comedy, or animation;
  181         2. Has a runtime of at least 30 minutes but not more than
  182  60 minutes; and
  183         3. Has a minimum of seven episodes.
  185  The term does not include a project deemed by the office to have
  186  content that is obscene, as defined in s. 847.001, Florida
  187  Statutes.
  188         (o) “Underutilized area” means any county in this state
  189  other than Broward County, Dade County, Orange County, or
  190  Seminole County.
  191         (3) GRANT ELIGIBILITY.—
  192         (a) To be eligible for a grant, an applicant must be
  193  producing a project that:
  194         1. Has projected qualified expenditures of:
  195         a. For a film project, at least $1.5 million;
  196         b. For a television series, at least $500,000 per episode;
  197         c. For a television pilot, at least $1 million; or
  198         d. For a digital media project, at least $1.5 million;
  199         2. Is projected to employ a crew, including cast and stand
  200  ins, but not including extras, of which at least 60 percent will
  201  be Florida residents;
  202         3. Is projected to spend at least 60 percent of its total
  203  budget in this state; and
  204         4. Will not use the state sales tax exemption.
  205         (b) A project may receive a grant in the amount of up to 12
  206  percent of its verified qualified expenditures. A bonus may be
  207  earned in the amount of an additional 3 percentage points, if 75
  208  percent of the project’s production will take place in an
  209  underutilized county or if its content is deemed family
  210  friendly. A project may not receive more than one bonus, and the
  211  total that may be awarded under any grant may not exceed 15
  212  percent of its verified qualified expenditures or $2 million,
  213  whichever is less.
  214         (c) Each applicant that receives funding must make a good
  215  faith effort to use existing providers of infrastructure or
  216  equipment in this state, when available, including providers of
  217  camera gear, grip and lighting equipment, vehicles, and
  218  postproduction services.
  219         (4)APPLICATION WINDOWS.—Applications must be accepted in
  220  each fiscal year in which funding is available for the program
  221  during two application windows. The first application window is
  222  the first 5 business days of each July, and the second
  223  application window is the first 5 business days of each January.
  224         (a) The department may not earmark or set aside more than
  225  60 percent of any appropriated or rolled-over grant funds for
  226  any given fiscal year for applications submitted during the
  227  first application window. Grant funds not earmarked and set
  228  aside for the first application window roll over for use in the
  229  second application window.
  230         (b) If all grant funds are earmarked and set aside for
  231  qualified projects, additional applications may not be accepted
  232  until more funds become available to the program.
  233         (5) APPLICATION PROCESS.—
  234         (a) A company that plans to produce a film, television, or
  235  digital project in this state may submit an application to the
  236  commissioner during one of the two application windows. A
  237  project must have a production start date that is within 6
  238  months after the first day of the application window in which
  239  the company submits the application.
  240         (b) The application must include:
  241         1. Project-related employment information, including
  242  employment numbers for Florida residents;
  243         2. A detailed budget of planned qualified expenditures;
  244         3. A detailed distribution plan to assist with determining
  245  the potential economic impact of the project in this state;
  246         4. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures
  247  for wages paid to Florida residents;
  248         5. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures in
  249  this state other than wages;
  250         6. For a film project or television project, a final
  251  script, a production schedule, a Day out of Days report, and a
  252  list of the expected shooting locations;
  253         7. For a television project, scripts for two episodes;
  254         8. For a digital media project, a detailed game design
  255  document; and
  256         9. An affirmation signed by the applicant that the
  257  information on the application is correct.
  258         (c)Within 15 business days after the last business day of
  259  each application window, the commissioner shall:
  260         1. Review all applications submitted during the application
  261  window and determine the eligibility of each applicant;
  262         2. Determine each applicant’s expected qualified
  263  expenditures;
  264         3. Determine the maximum grant amount that each applicant
  265  may be eligible for;
  266         4. Determine whether the applicant’s project is deemed
  267  family friendly;
  268         5. Determine whether each applicant or the parent company
  269  of the applicant is a corporation registered in this state;
  270         6. Contact each applicant with any questions, as necessary;
  271         7. Gather any additional information needed to address the
  272  criteria specified under subsection (7); and
  273         8. Assemble a package containing the details of each
  274  applicant’s project and deliver it to each board member.
  275         (d) An applicant may submit only one application per fiscal
  276  year. However, an applicant producing a television series may
  277  apply for subsequent seasons of that television series within
  278  the same fiscal year.
  280         (a) The Grant Advisory Board is created within the office.
  281  The board shall comply with the requirements of s. 20.052,
  282  Florida Statutes, except as otherwise provided in this section.
  283         (b) The board shall consist of seven members appointed by
  284  the commissioner. Of these seven members:
  285         1. Three shall be members of the Florida Film and
  286  Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the
  287  Governor;
  288         2. Two shall be members of the Florida Film and
  289  Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the
  290  President of the Senate; and
  291         3. Two shall be members of the Florida Film and
  292  Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the Speaker
  293  of the House of Representatives.
  294         (c) The board shall meet within 15 business days after the
  295  commissioner provides application material to all of the members
  296  of the board as provided in subparagraph (5)(c)8. Subsequent
  297  meetings may be held within 10 business days after the initial
  298  meeting for that application window. The board may meet in
  299  person or by conference call.
  300         (d)1. The board shall determine a score for each
  301  applicant’s project using the criteria specified under
  302  subsection (7), with the highest scores going to projects
  303  determined to provide the best economic impact and return on
  304  investment to the state.
  305         2. The board shall make a recommendation for certification
  306  or rejection of each application to the commissioner within 10
  307  days after the board’s first meeting for that application
  308  window.
  310         (a)The priority order and scoring system of the criteria
  311  specified in paragraph (b) must be determined by the
  312  commissioner, with assistance from the board in advance of the
  313  first application window.
  314         (b)The board shall use at least the following criteria in
  315  determining a project’s score:
  316         1. The amount of the project’s overall qualified
  317  expenditures.
  318         2. The amount of the project’s Florida-resident wages.
  319         3. The number of full-time-equivalent jobs created by the
  320  project.
  321         4. Whether the project provides pension, health, and
  322  welfare benefits to its workforce in this state.
  323         5.The estimated direct and indirect tourism benefit of the
  324  project, based on submitted distribution plans.
  325         6. The duration of Florida-resident employment for the
  326  project.
  327         7.What percentage of the project, if any, is being made in
  328  an underutilized county.
  329         8. Whether the applicant is a corporation registered in
  330  this state.
  331         9. Whether the project is family friendly.
  332         10. Whether the project has a Florida-resident writer,
  333  producer, or star.
  334         11. Whether a Florida film, television, or digital media
  335  school will assist with the production of the project.
  336         12. Whether the project leadership team has a successful
  337  track record.
  338         13. The number of Florida-resident veterans hired by the
  339  project.
  340         14. The number of Florida film school graduates the project
  341  has hired as cast or crew.
  342         (8) NOTIFICATION OF DECISION.—
  343         (a) Within 5 business days after the board makes its
  344  recommendations to the commissioner, the commissioner shall:
  345         1.Provide a list of qualified projects to the department
  346  which includes the associated maximum grant amounts that the
  347  respective applicants may receive.
  348         2. Notify each applicant of the specified percentage of
  349  qualified expenditures for which the applicant is eligible and
  350  the maximum grant amount that the applicant may receive.
  351         3. Provide a notice of rejection to each rejected
  352  applicant; however, the failure to notify an applicant of its
  353  rejection does not deem the applicant’s project a qualified
  354  project.
  355         (b) The commissioner shall make the final determination,
  356  giving consideration to the board’s recommendations, as to
  357  whether an applicant is certified for a grant.
  358         (c) Based on the final determination of the commissioner,
  359  the department shall earmark and set aside the amount necessary
  360  to fund the total maximum that may be awarded for the qualified
  361  projects.
  362         (9)(a) VERIFICATION PROCESS.—The commissioner shall develop
  363  a process to verify the actual qualified expenditures of a
  364  qualified project after the project’s work in this state is
  365  complete. The process must require all of the following:
  366         1.Submission to the commissioner, electronically or as a
  367  hard copy, by each qualified project within 90 days after making
  368  its final qualified expenditure, but not later than 1 year after
  369  its production start date of:
  370         a. Data substantiating each qualified expenditure, which
  371  has been audited by an independent certified public accountant
  372  licensed in this state, as required by subparagraph 3.;
  373         b. Copies of documents verifying residency of persons
  374  represented as being Florida residents;
  375         c. The final script;
  376         d. The most recent production board and shooting schedule;
  377  and
  378         e. The most recent credit list showing where the credits
  379  required under subsection (10) will appear.
  380         2.Signing, and submission to the commissioner, by the
  381  qualified project of an affidavit or written declaration signed
  382  under the penalty of perjury as specified in s. 92.525, Florida
  383  Statutes, stating that all salaries, wages, and other
  384  compensation submitted as qualified expenditures are in
  385  compliance with this section.
  386         3. The conduct of a compliance audit, at the qualified
  387  project’s expense, by an independent certified public accountant
  388  to substantiate each qualified expenditure and submission of a
  389  report of the findings of the audit, including substantiating
  390  data, to the commissioner within 45 days after the initial
  391  receipt of records from the qualified project.
  392         (b) The commissioner shall review the report and data
  393  submitted by the certified public accountant within 45 days
  394  after receipt of the report and data and report to the
  395  department the final verified amount of actual qualified
  396  expenditures made by the qualified project and the amount of the
  397  grant due to the qualified project.
  398         (c) Upon approval by the department of the final grant
  399  amount, which may not exceed the maximum specified in the notice
  400  provided under subparagraph (8)(a)2., the grant must be issued
  401  within 30 days.
  402         (d) The department shall deduct one-half of 1 percent of
  403  the total grant amount before issuing the grant to the qualified
  404  project, and such amount must be credited to the department to
  405  offset the cost of the compliance review.
  407         (a) The commissioner shall ensure, as a condition of
  408  receiving a grant under this section, that a qualifying project
  409  include marketing promoting this state as a tourist destination
  410  or film and entertainment production destination. At a minimum,
  411  the marketing must include placement in the end credits of a
  412  “Filmed in Florida” or “Produced in Florida” logo with size and
  413  placement commensurate to other logos included in the end
  414  credits or, if no logos are used, the statement “Filmed in
  415  Florida” or “Produced in Florida” or a similar statement
  416  approved by the commissioner and the logo of the local film
  417  office, if applicable. A digital media project must also supply
  418  a 5-second or longer animated logo with Produced in Florida” or
  419  other text, including the logo of the local digital media
  420  office, if applicable, as preapproved by the commissioner, in a
  421  manner easily seen by a consumer of the digital media project.
  422  The commissioner shall provide the logos for the purposes
  423  specified in this paragraph, not including the logo for a local
  424  digital media office, which must be provided by the applicable
  425  office.
  426         (b) A qualified project must allow the commissioner, or an
  427  affiliate, and up to five guests to visit the production site
  428  upon the request of the commissioner. Upon such request, the
  429  qualified project must give the commissioner at least 10
  430  business days’ notice of a visit date and time that is
  431  acceptable to the production. The commissioner or an affiliate
  432  is not required to make a visit to the set.
  433         (c) A qualified project must provide at least five
  434  preapproved photos of the production to the commissioner and
  435  grant the commissioner use of such photos in promoting this
  436  state as a film, television, or digital media production
  437  location or tourist destination.
  438         (11) DISQUALIFICATION.—The department shall disqualify a
  439  project if the project:
  440         (a) Does not begin principal photography in this state
  441  within 6 weeks of the project’s production start date;
  442         (b) Does not abide by the policies, procedures, deadlines,
  443  or requirements of the verification process;
  444         (c)Does not start production within 6 weeks before or
  445  after the production start date;
  446         (d) Does not notify the commissioner of any change in the
  447  production start date before commencing production; or
  448         (e) Submits fraudulent information.
  449         (12) FRAUD.—An applicant that submits fraudulent
  450  information under this section is liable for reimbursement of
  451  the reasonable costs and fees associated with the review,
  452  processing, investigation, and prosecution of the fraudulent
  453  submission. An applicant that obtains a grant under this section
  454  through a claim that is fraudulent shall reimburse the program
  455  for the grant awarded and reasonable costs and fees associated
  456  with the review, processing, investigation, and prosecution of
  457  the fraudulent claim and shall pay a civil penalty in an amount
  458  equal to double the grant amount and any criminal penalty to
  459  which the applicant may be subject.
  460         (13) RULES; POLICIES; PROCEDURES.—The commissioner may
  461  adopt rules and shall develop policies and procedures to
  462  administer this section, including, but not limited to, rules
  463  specifying requirements for the application and approval process
  464  and the determination of qualified expenditures.
  465         (14) ANNUAL REPORT.—Each November 1, the commissioner shall
  466  provide an annual report on the program for the previous fiscal
  467  year to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the
  468  Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report must
  469  identify the return on investment associated with, and economic
  470  benefits to the state attributable to, the program.
  471         (15) EXPIRATION.—The Film, Television, and Digital Media
  472  Targeted Grant Program expires June 30, 2020, at which point all
  473  remaining appropriated funds not earmarked and set aside for
  474  qualified projects must revert to the General Revenue Fund. All
  475  remaining appropriated funds must revert to the General Revenue
  476  Fund no later than October 31, 2022.
  477         Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.