Florida Senate - 2020                                     SB 356
       By Senator Hutson
       7-00627-20                                             2020356__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Keep Our Graduates Working Act;
    3         creating s. 1009.951, F.S.; providing a short title;
    4         providing a purpose; providing definitions;
    5         prohibiting a state authority from suspending or
    6         revoking a person’s professional license, certificate,
    7         registration, or permit solely on the basis of a
    8         delinquency or default in the payment of his or her
    9         student loan; amending s. 456.072, F.S.; conforming
   10         provisions to changes made by the act; repealing s.
   11         456.0721, F.S., relating to health care practitioners
   12         in default on student loan or scholarship obligations;
   13         amending ss. 456.074 and 1009.95, F.S.; conforming
   14         provisions to changes made by the act; providing an
   15         effective date.
   17  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   19         Section 1. Section 1009.951, Florida Statutes, is created
   20  to read:
   21         1009.951Keep Our Graduates Working Act.—
   22         (1)SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Keep Our
   23  Graduates Working Act of 2020.”
   24         (2)PURPOSE.—The purpose of this act is to ensure that
   25  Floridians who graduate from an accredited college or university
   26  can maintain their occupational licenses, as defined in
   27  subsection (3), and remain in the workforce while they struggle
   28  to pay off their student loan debt, thereby helping them avoid
   29  falling into poverty, which might necessitate seeking public
   30  assistance.
   31         (3)DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   32         (a)“Default” means the failure to repay a student loan
   33  according to the terms agreed to in the promissory note.
   34         (b)“Delinquency” means the failure to make a student loan
   35  payment when it is due.
   36         (c)“License” means any professional license, certificate,
   37  registration, or permit granted by the applicable state
   38  authority.
   39         (d)“State authority” means any department, board, or
   40  agency with the authority to grant a license to any person in
   41  this state.
   42         (e)“Student loan” means a federal-guaranteed or state
   43  guaranteed loan for the purposes of postsecondary education.
   44         (4)STUDENT LOAN DEFAULT; DELINQUENCY.—A state authority
   45  may not suspend or revoke a license that it has issued to a
   46  person who is in default on or delinquent in the payment of his
   47  or her student loans solely on the basis of such default or
   48  delinquency.
   49         Section 2. Paragraph (k) of subsection (1) of section
   50  456.072, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   51         456.072 Grounds for discipline; penalties; enforcement.—
   52         (1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which
   53  the disciplinary actions specified in subsection (2) may be
   54  taken:
   55         (k) Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation
   56  placed upon a licensee. For purposes of this section, failing to
   57  repay a student loan issued or guaranteed by the state or the
   58  Federal Government in accordance with the terms of the loan is
   59  not or failing to comply with service scholarship obligations
   60  shall be considered a failure to perform a statutory or legal
   61  obligation, and the minimum disciplinary action imposed shall be
   62  a suspension of the license until new payment terms are agreed
   63  upon or the scholarship obligation is resumed, followed by
   64  probation for the duration of the student loan or remaining
   65  scholarship obligation period, and a fine equal to 10 percent of
   66  the defaulted loan amount. Fines collected shall be deposited
   67  into the Medical Quality Assurance Trust Fund.
   68         Section 3. Section 456.0721, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
   69         Section 4. Subsection (4) of section 456.074, Florida
   70  Statutes, is amended to read:
   71         456.074 Certain health care practitioners; immediate
   72  suspension of license.—
   73         (4)Upon receipt of information that a Florida-licensed
   74  health care practitioner has defaulted on a student loan issued
   75  or guaranteed by the state or the Federal Government, the
   76  department shall notify the licensee by certified mail that he
   77  or she shall be subject to immediate suspension of license
   78  unless, within 45 days after the date of mailing, the licensee
   79  provides proof that new payment terms have been agreed upon by
   80  all parties to the loan. The department shall issue an emergency
   81  order suspending the license of any licensee who, after 45 days
   82  following the date of mailing from the department, has failed to
   83  provide such proof. Production of such proof shall not prohibit
   84  the department from proceeding with disciplinary action against
   85  the licensee pursuant to s. 456.073.
   86         Section 5. Subsection (1) of s. 1009.95, Florida Statutes,
   87  is amended to read:
   88         1009.95 Delinquent accounts.—
   89         (1) The Department of Education is directed to exert every
   90  lawful and reasonable effort to collect all delinquent unpaid
   91  and uncanceled scholarship loan notes, student loan notes, and
   92  defaulted guaranteed loan notes; however, in all such efforts,
   93  the department shall comply with s. 1009.951.
   94         Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.