Florida Senate - 2019                              CS for SB 526
       By the Committee on Commerce and Tourism; and Senator Gruters
       577-02468-19                                           2019526c1
    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 and
   15         Florida-resident cast and crew; requiring the
   16         commissioner to set application windows for the grant;
   17         providing requirements for the department relating to
   18         earmarking and setting aside grant funds; providing
   19         procedures and requirements for applicants applying
   20         for the grant; requiring the commissioner to take
   21         specified action within a reasonable period of time;
   22         specifying that an applicant is may submit only one
   23         application per application window; creating the Grant
   24         Advisory Board within the Office of Film and
   25         Entertainment of the department; providing membership
   26         requirements for the board; requiring the commissioner
   27         to select an alternate board member when certain
   28         conflicts of interest are present; providing meeting
   29         requirements for the board; requiring the board to
   30         determine a score for each qualified project using
   31         specified criteria; requiring the board to make a
   32         recommendation for certification or rejection of a
   33         qualified project within a specified timeframe;
   34         requiring the commissioner to determine the priority
   35         order and scoring system of the specified criteria
   36         with assistance from the board and certain other
   37         persons; requiring the board to use certain criteria;
   38         requiring the commissioner to take certain actions
   39         relating to the certification or rejection of
   40         qualified projects in a timely manner; requiring the
   41         department to earmark and set aside funding necessary
   42         to fund the total maximum that may be awarded to the
   43         certified projects, if funds are available; requiring
   44         the commissioner to develop a verification process to
   45         verify the actual certified expenditures of a
   46         certified project after the project’s work in this
   47         state is complete; providing requirements for the
   48         verification process; requiring that the grant be
   49         issued within a reasonable period of time upon
   50         approval of the final grant amount by the department;
   51         requiring the department to deduct a specified
   52         percentage of the grant and to credit the amount to
   53         the department to offset certain expenses; requiring
   54         that certain marketing be included with a project;
   55         requiring certified projects to allow certain persons
   56         to visit the production site upon request of the
   57         commissioner and after providing the commissioner with
   58         reasonable notice; specifying that a visit to the
   59         production site is not required; requiring the
   60         department to disqualify a project under certain
   61         circumstances; providing for liability and imposing
   62         civil penalties for an applicant that submits
   63         fraudulent information; providing for rulemaking;
   64         requiring the commissioner to provide an annual report
   65         to the Governor and the Legislature on a specified
   66         date; providing for the expiration of the program;
   67         providing an effective date.
   69  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   71         Section 1. Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted
   72  Grant Program.—
   73         (1) CREATION AND PURPOSES OF PROGRAM.—The Film, Television,
   74  and Digital Media Targeted Grant Program is created within the
   75  Department of Economic Opportunity under the supervision of the
   76  Commissioner of Film and Entertainment. The purposes of the
   77  program are to boost this state’s economic prosperity; expand
   78  the impact of the film, television, and digital media industries
   79  on the economy of this state; and encourage more family-friendly
   80  productions in this state.
   81         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this act, unless the context
   82  otherwise requires, the term:
   83         (a)Board” means the Grant Advisory Board.
   84         (b) “Certified project” means a qualified project that has
   85  been evaluated by the board, determined by the commissioner to
   86  meet or exceed the desired economic impact and other criteria of
   87  the program, and has grant funds allocated to it based on the
   88  project’s estimated qualified expenditures.
   89         (c) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Film and
   90  Entertainment as described in s. 288.1251(1)(b), Florida
   91  Statutes.
   92         (d) “Department” means the Department of Economic
   93  Opportunity.
   94         (e) “Digital media project” means a commercial video game,
   95  including an educational video game, which includes at least 30
   96  minutes of game play time. The term does not include a project
   97  that may be considered obscene, as defined in s. 847.001,
   98  Florida Statutes.
   99         (f) “Family friendly” means having cross-generational
  100  appeal; being appropriate in theme, content, and language for a
  101  broad family audience; embodying a responsible resolution of
  102  issues; and not containing any act of smoking, illicit drug use,
  103  sex, nudity, gratuitous violence, or vulgar or profane language.
  104         (g) “Film project” means a theatrical, direct-to-video,
  105  television, cable, Internet, streaming service, or animated
  106  narrative motion picture at least 75 minutes in length. The term
  107  does not include a project deemed by the office to have content
  108  that is obscene, as defined in s. 847.001, Florida Statutes.
  109         (h) “Florida resident” means a person who has a valid
  110  Florida driver license or Florida identification card issued
  111  under s. 322.051, Florida Statutes, and has signed an affidavit
  112  confirming residency.
  113         (i) “Office” means the Office of Film and Entertainment
  114  within the department.
  115         (j) “Principal photography” means, for a film project or
  116  television project, the filming of major or significant
  117  components of the project which involve lead actors, or, for a
  118  digital media project, the period of time during which the work
  119  of the majority of the crew is dedicated solely to the project.
  120         (k) “Production start date” means:
  121         1. For film and television projects, the start date of
  122  principal photography, as listed in the project’s application.
  123         2. For digital media projects, the start date of
  124  storyboards or a later date as specified in the project’s
  125  application.
  126         (l)1. “Qualified expenditures” means expenditures made
  127  solely for preproduction, production, or postproduction of a
  128  qualified project which are incurred in this state for any of
  129  the following:
  130         a. Rented or leased goods or services provided by a vendor
  131  or supplier in this state which is registered with the
  132  Department of State or the Department of Revenue; which has a
  133  physical address in this state, not including a post office box;
  134  and which employs one or more Florida residents on a full-time
  135  basis. The term does not include rebilled goods or services
  136  provided by an in-state company from out-of-state vendors or
  137  suppliers. When services provided by the vendor or supplier
  138  include personal services or labor, only personal services or
  139  labor provided by Florida residents qualifies.
  140         b. Payments to Florida residents in the form of salary or
  141  wages up to a maximum of $200,000 per resident, including
  142  amounts paid through payroll service companies, and benefits
  143  such as pension, health, and welfare payments for technical and
  144  production crews, directors, producers, and performers. For
  145  purposes of this sub-subparagraph, payments do not include wages
  146  for executives, legal staff, or other corporate staff who are
  147  not employed to work solely on the project.
  148         2. “Qualified expenditures” includes expenditures for
  149  renting cars, trucks, and trailers if such car, truck, or
  150  trailer is registered with the Department of Highway Safety and
  151  Motor Vehicles.
  152         3. “Qualified expenditures” does not include expenditures
  153  not expressly identified in subparagraphs 1. or 2., expenditures
  154  made before qualification for the program, expenditures made via
  155  Internet transactions, or any costs associated with development,
  156  marketing, or distribution.
  158  For the purposes of a digital media project, the term includes
  159  only those qualified expenditures made within 9 months after the
  160  project’s first qualified expenditure.
  161         (m) “Qualified project” means a film project, television
  162  project, or digital media project for which a complete
  163  application for the program has been submitted to the
  164  commissioner and accepted for consideration by the board. The
  165  term does not include a weather or market program; a sporting
  166  event or a sporting event broadcast; a gala; an awards show; a
  167  production that solicits funds; a home shopping program; a
  168  political program; a documentary; a gambling-related project or
  169  production; a concert production; a news or current events show;
  170  a sports or sports recap show; a pornographic production; or any
  171  production deemed obscene under chapter 847, Florida Statutes.
  172         (n) “Television project” means a television pilot program
  173  or a television series that:
  174         1. Is a scripted drama, comedy, or animation;
  175         2. Has a runtime of at least 30 minutes but not more than
  176  60 minutes; and
  177         3. If the television project is a television series, has a
  178  minimum of seven episodes.
  180  The term does not include a project deemed by the office to have
  181  content that is obscene, as defined in s. 847.001, Florida
  182  Statutes.
  183         (o) “Underutilized area” means any county in this state
  184  other than Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Orange County, or
  185  Seminole County.
  186         (3) GRANT ELIGIBILITY.—
  187         (a) To be eligible for a grant, an applicant must be
  188  producing a project that:
  189         1. Has projected qualified expenditures of:
  190         a. For a film project, at least $1.5 million;
  191         b. For a television series, at least $500,000 per episode;
  192         c. For a television pilot, at least $1 million; or
  193         d. For a digital media project, at least $1.5 million;
  194         2. Is projected to employ a crew, including cast and stand
  195  ins, but not including extras, also known as background
  196  performers, of which at least 60 percent will be Florida
  197  residents and at least one member will be a military veteran;
  198         3. Is projected to spend at least 70 percent of its total
  199  production days in this state; and
  200         4. Will not receive a certificate of exemption pursuant to
  201  s. 288.1258.
  202         (b) A project may receive a grant in the amount of up to 20
  203  percent of its verified qualified expenditures. A bonus may be
  204  earned in the amount of an additional 3 percentage points, if 75
  205  percent of the project’s production will take place in an
  206  underutilized county or if its content is deemed family
  207  friendly. A certified project may not receive more than one
  208  bonus, and the total that may be awarded under any grant may not
  209  exceed 23 percent of its verified qualified expenditures or $2
  210  million, whichever is less.
  211         (c) A certified project must make a good faith effort to
  212  use existing providers of infrastructure or equipment in this
  213  state, when available, including providers of camera gear, grip
  214  and lighting equipment, vehicles, and postproduction services,
  215  and to employ cast and crew who are Florida residents.
  216         (4)APPLICATION WINDOWS.—Applications must be accepted for
  217  the program during two application windows each fiscal year. The
  218  commissioner shall set a start date for both application
  219  windows. However, the first application window must end no later
  220  than 5 business days after July 1 and the second must end no
  221  later than 5 business days after January 1.
  222         (a) The department may not earmark or set aside more than
  223  60 percent of any appropriated or rolled-over grant funds for
  224  any given fiscal year for applications submitted during the
  225  first application window. Grant funds not earmarked and set
  226  aside for applicants applying during one application window roll
  227  over for use in the next application window.
  228         (b) If all grant funds are earmarked and set aside for
  229  certified projects, additional applications may not be accepted
  230  until more funds become available to the program.
  231         (5) APPLICATION PROCESS.—
  232         (a) A company that plans to produce a film, television, or
  233  digital project in this state may submit an application to the
  234  commissioner during one of the two application windows. A
  235  project must have a production start date that is within 6
  236  months after July 1 if applying in the first window or January 1
  237  if applying in the second window.
  238         (b) The application must include:
  239         1. Proof of funding;
  240         2. Project-related employment information, including
  241  employment numbers for Florida residents;
  242         3. A full line-item budget and a detailed qualified
  243  expenditures budget;
  244         4. A detailed distribution plan to assist with determining
  245  the potential economic impact of the project in this state;
  246         5. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures
  247  for wages paid to Florida residents;
  248         6. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures
  249  and non-qualified expenditures in this state;
  250         7. For a film project or television pilot, a final script,
  251  a production schedule, a Day out of Days report, and a list of
  252  the expected shooting locations;
  253         8. For a television series, scripts for two episodes, a Day
  254  out of Days report, and a list of the expected shooting
  255  locations;
  256         9. For a digital media project, a detailed game design
  257  document;
  258         10. An affirmation signed by the applicant that the
  259  information on the application is correct; and
  260         11. The applicant’s Florida tax identification number.
  261         (c)Within a reasonable period of time after the last
  262  business day of each application window, the commissioner shall:
  263         1. Review all applications submitted during the application
  264  window and determine the eligibility of each applicant;
  265         2. Determine each applicant’s expected qualified
  266  expenditures;
  267         3. Determine the maximum grant amount that each eligible
  268  applicant may be awarded;
  269         4. Determine whether an eligible applicant’s project is
  270  deemed family friendly;
  271         5. Determine the percentage of the applicant’s production,
  272  if any, which is proposed to occur in an underutilized county;
  273         6. Determine whether each eligible applicant is a
  274  corporation registered in this state;
  275         7. Contact each applicant with any questions, as necessary;
  276         8. Gather any additional information needed to address the
  277  criteria specified under subsection (7);
  278         9. Assemble a package containing the details of each
  279  eligible applicant’s project and deliver it to each board
  280  member; and
  281         10. Give notice to the board of the date and time for when
  282  the board must convene to assess each qualified project, as
  283  provided for in paragraph (6)(d).
  284         (d) An applicant may submit only one application per
  285  application window.
  287         (a) The Grant Advisory Board is created within the office.
  288  The board shall comply with the requirements of s. 20.052,
  289  Florida Statutes, except as otherwise provided in this section.
  290         (b) The board shall consist of seven members appointed by
  291  the commissioner. Of these seven members:
  292         1. Three shall be members of the Florida Film and
  293  Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the
  294  Governor;
  295         2. Two shall be members of the Florida Film and
  296  Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the
  297  President of the Senate; and
  298         3. Two shall be members of the Florida Film and
  299  Entertainment Advisory Council who were appointed by the Speaker
  300  of the House of Representatives.
  301         4. If a board member has a conflict of interest with a
  302  project under consideration, the commissioner must select an
  303  alternate member from the Florida Film and Entertainment
  304  Advisory Council.
  305         5. The commissioner shall attend and oversee all meetings.
  306         (c) The board shall meet at the call of the commissioner
  307  pursuant to subparagraph (5)(c)10. The board may hold subsequent
  308  meetings after the initial meeting for that application window.
  309  The board may meet in person or by conference call.
  310         (d)1. The board shall determine a score for each qualified
  311  project using the criteria specified under subsection (7), with
  312  the highest scores going to projects determined to provide the
  313  best economic impact and return on investment to the state.
  314         2. The board shall make a recommendation for certification
  315  or rejection of each qualified project to the commissioner
  316  within 10 days after the board’s first meeting for that
  317  application window.
  319         (a)The priority order and scoring system of the criteria
  320  specified in paragraph (b) must be determined by the
  321  commissioner, with assistance from the board and other persons,
  322  as determined by the commissioner, in advance of the first
  323  application window.
  324         (b)The board shall use at least the following criteria in
  325  determining a qualified project’s score:
  326         1. The amount of the project’s overall qualified
  327  expenditures.
  328         2. The amount of the project’s Florida-resident wages.
  329         3. The number of full-time-equivalent jobs created by the
  330  project.
  331         4. Whether the project provides pension, health, and
  332  welfare benefits to its workforce in this state.
  333         5.The estimated direct and indirect tourism benefit of the
  334  project, based on submitted distribution plans.
  335         6. The duration of Florida-resident employment for the
  336  project.
  337         7.What percentage of the project, if any, is being made in
  338  an underutilized county.
  339         8. Whether the project is family friendly.
  340         9. Whether the project has a Florida-resident writer,
  341  producer, or star.
  342         10. Whether a Florida film, television, or digital media
  343  school will assist with the production of the project.
  344         11. Whether the project leadership team has a successful
  345  track record.
  346         12. The number of Florida-resident veterans hired by the
  347  project.
  348         13. The number of Florida film school graduates the project
  349  will hire as cast or crew.
  350         (8) NOTIFICATION OF DECISION.—
  351         (a) After the board makes its recommendations to the
  352  commissioner, the commissioner shall, in a timely manner:
  353         1.Make a final determination on certifying or rejecting
  354  each qualified project, giving consideration to the board’s
  355  recommendations and scoring.
  356         2.Provide a list of certified projects to the department
  357  which includes the associated maximum grant amounts that the
  358  respective applicants may receive.
  359         3. Notify each certified project of the specified
  360  percentage of qualified expenditures for which it is eligible
  361  and the maximum grant amount that it may receive.
  362         4. Provide a notice of rejection to each rejected
  363  applicant; however, the failure to notify an applicant of its
  364  rejection does not deem the applicant’s project a certified
  365  project.
  366         (b) Based on the final determination of the commissioner,
  367  the department shall earmark and set aside the amount necessary
  368  to fund the total maximum that may be awarded for the certified
  369  projects, if funds are available.
  370         (9)(a) VERIFICATION PROCESS.—The commissioner shall develop
  371  a process to verify the actual qualified expenditures of a
  372  certified project after the project’s work in this state is
  373  complete. The process must require all of the following:
  374         1.Submission to the commissioner of at least all of the
  375  following information, electronically or in hard copy, or both,
  376  by each certified project:
  377         a. Data substantiating each qualified expenditure, which
  378  has been audited by an independent certified public accountant
  379  licensed in this state, as required by subparagraph 4.;
  380         b. Copies of documents verifying residency of persons
  381  represented as being Florida residents;
  382         c. The final script;
  383         d. The most recent production board and shooting schedule;
  384         e. The most recent credit list showing where the credits
  385  required under subsection (10) will appear;
  386         f.A cast list and a final crew list with contact
  387  information; and
  388         g. For the veteran employed by the project, a copy of his
  389  or her DD Form 214, as issued by the United States Department of
  390  Defense, or another acceptable form of identification as
  391  specified by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
  392         2.Signing, and submission to the commissioner, by the
  393  certified project of an affidavit or written declaration signed
  394  under the penalty of perjury as specified in s. 92.525, Florida
  395  Statutes, stating that all salaries, wages, and other
  396  compensation submitted as qualified expenditures are in
  397  compliance with this section.
  398         3. The information and affidavit required by subparagraphs
  399  1. and 2. must be received by the commissioner within 120 days
  400  after the certified project has made its last qualified
  401  expenditure, but no later than 1 year after its production start
  402  date. Pursuant to the rules adopted by the department, the
  403  commissioner may, upon a showing of good cause, grant a one-time
  404  extension of this deadline.
  405         4. The conduct of a compliance audit, at the certified
  406  project’s expense, by an independent certified public accountant
  407  who is a resident of this state to substantiate the qualified
  408  expenditures, and submission of a report of the findings of the
  409  audit, including substantiating data, to the commissioner within
  410  a reasonable period of time after the initial receipt of records
  411  from the certified project.
  412         (b) The commissioner shall review the report and data
  413  submitted by the certified public accountant within a reasonable
  414  period of time after receipt of the report and data and report
  415  to the department the final verified amount of actual qualified
  416  expenditures made by the certified project and the amount of the
  417  grant due to the such project.
  418         (c) Upon approval by the department of the final grant
  419  amount, which may not exceed the maximum specified in the notice
  420  provided under subparagraph (8)(a)3., the grant must be issued
  421  within a reasonable period of time.
  422         (d) The department shall deduct one-half of 1 percent of
  423  the total grant amount before issuing the grant to the certified
  424  project, and such amount must be credited to the department to
  425  offset the cost of the compliance review.
  426         (e) At the end of the fiscal year, grant funds that are not
  427  allocated to a certified project, and grant funds allocated but
  428  not awarded to a certified project, roll over to the next fiscal
  429  year.
  431         (a) The commissioner shall ensure, as a condition of
  432  receiving a grant under this section, that a certified project
  433  include marketing promoting this state as a tourist destination
  434  or film and entertainment production destination. At a minimum,
  435  the marketing must include placement in the end credits of a
  436  “Filmed in Florida” or “Produced in Florida” logo with size and
  437  placement commensurate to other logos included in the end
  438  credits or, if no logos are used, the statement “Filmed in
  439  Florida” or “Produced in Florida” or a similar statement
  440  approved by the commissioner and the logo of the local film
  441  office, if applicable. A digital media project must also supply
  442  a 5-second or longer animated logo with Produced in Florida” or
  443  other text, including the logo of the local digital media
  444  office, if applicable, as preapproved by the commissioner, in a
  445  manner easily seen by a consumer of the digital media project.
  446  The commissioner shall provide the logos for the purposes
  447  specified in this paragraph, not including the logo for a local
  448  office, which must be provided by the applicable office.
  449         (b) A certified project must allow the commissioner, or an
  450  affiliate, and a minimum of two guests to visit the production
  451  site upon the request of the commissioner. Upon such request,
  452  the certified project must give the commissioner reasonable
  453  notice of a visit date and time that is acceptable to the
  454  production. The commissioner or an affiliate is not required to
  455  make a visit to the set.
  456         (c) A certified project must provide at least five
  457  preapproved photos of the production to the commissioner and
  458  grant the commissioner free use of such photos in promoting this
  459  state as a film, television, or digital media production
  460  location or tourist destination.
  461         (11) DISQUALIFICATION.—The department shall disqualify a
  462  certified project if the project:
  463         (a) Does not begin principal photography in this state
  464  within the period beginning 30 days before and ending 90 days
  465  after the project’s listed production start date. Pursuant to
  466  department rule, the commissioner may, upon a showing of good
  467  cause, grant a one-time extension of this deadline;
  468         (b) Does not abide by the policies, procedures, deadlines,
  469  or requirements of the application verification process;
  470         (c) Does not notify the commissioner of any change in the
  471  production start date before commencing production; or
  472         (d) Submits fraudulent information.
  473         (12) FRAUD.—An applicant that submits fraudulent
  474  information under this section is liable for reimbursement of
  475  the reasonable costs and fees associated with the review,
  476  processing, investigation, and prosecution of the fraudulent
  477  submission. An applicant that obtains a grant under this section
  478  through a claim that is fraudulent shall reimburse the program
  479  for the grant awarded and reasonable costs and fees associated
  480  with the review, processing, investigation, and prosecution of
  481  the fraudulent claim and shall pay a civil penalty in an amount
  482  equal to double the grant amount and any criminal penalty to
  483  which the applicant may be subject.
  484         (13) RULES; POLICIES; PROCEDURES.—The commissioner may
  485  adopt rules and shall develop policies and procedures to
  486  administer this section, including, but not limited to, rules
  487  specifying requirements for the application and approval process
  488  and the determination of qualified expenditures.
  489         (14) ANNUAL REPORT.—Each November 1, the commissioner shall
  490  provide an annual report on the program for the previous fiscal
  491  year to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the
  492  Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report must
  493  identify the return on investment associated with, and economic
  494  benefits to the state attributable to, the program.
  495         (15) EXPIRATION.—The Film, Television, and Digital Media
  496  Targeted Grant Program expires June 30, 2022, at which point all
  497  remaining appropriated funds not earmarked and set aside for
  498  certified projects must revert to the General Revenue Fund. All
  499  remaining appropriated funds must revert to the General Revenue
  500  Fund no later than October 31, 2023.
  501         Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.