Florida Senate - 2020                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 530
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       The Committee on Commerce and Tourism (Gruters) recommended the
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted
    6  Rebate Program.—
    7         (1) CREATION AND PURPOSES OF PROGRAM.—The Film, Television,
    8  and Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program is created within the
    9  Department of Economic Opportunity under the supervision of the
   10  Commissioner of Film and Entertainment.
   11         (a)The purpose of the program is to boost this state’s
   12  economic prosperity by:
   13         1.Creating high-paying jobs;
   14         2.Broadening the film, television, and digital media
   15  industry’s impact on the state by giving a modest bonus for
   16  projects that take place in underutilized areas;
   17         3.Enhancing tourism by choosing projects that encourage
   18  tourists to visit this state; and
   19         4.Encouraging more family-friendly productions to be
   20  produced in this state.
   21         (b)This purpose shall be accomplished by providing a
   22  limited rebate to projects that provide the highest return on
   23  investment and economic benefit to the state, as determined
   24  after a project has made its expenditures in the state.
   25         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this act, unless the context
   26  otherwise requires, the term:
   27         (a) “Certified project” means a qualified project that has
   28  been scored by the council, has been determined by the
   29  commissioner to meet or exceed the desired economic impact and
   30  other criteria of the program, and has rebate funds allocated to
   31  it based on the project’s estimated qualified expenditures.
   32         (b) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Film and
   33  Entertainment as described in s. 288.1251(1)(b), Florida
   34  Statutes.
   35         (c)“Council” means the Florida Film and Entertainment
   36  Advisory Council.
   37         (d) “Department” means the Department of Economic
   38  Opportunity.
   39         (e) “Digital media project” means a commercial video game,
   40  including an educational video game, which includes at least 30
   41  minutes of game play time. The term does not include a project
   42  that may be considered obscene, as defined in s. 847.001,
   43  Florida Statutes.
   44         (f) “Family friendly” means having cross-generational
   45  appeal; being appropriate in theme, content, and language for a
   46  broad family audience; embodying a responsible resolution of
   47  issues; not containing any act of drunkenness, illicit drug use,
   48  sex, nudity, gratuitous violence, or vulgar or profane language;
   49  and not portraying smoking any substance in a positive light.
   50         (g) “Film project” means a theatrical, direct-to-video,
   51  television, cable, Internet, streaming service, or animated
   52  narrative motion picture at least 75 minutes in length. The term
   53  does not include a project deemed by the office to have content
   54  that is obscene, as defined in s. 847.001, Florida Statutes.
   55         (h) “Florida resident” means a person who has a valid
   56  Florida driver license or Florida identification card issued
   57  under s. 322.051, Florida Statutes, and has signed an affidavit
   58  confirming residency.
   59         (i) “Office” means the Office of Film and Entertainment
   60  within the department.
   61         (j) “Principal photography” means, for a film project or
   62  television project, the filming of major or significant
   63  components of the project which involve lead actors, or, for a
   64  digital media project, the period of time during which the work
   65  of the majority of the crew is dedicated solely to the project.
   66         (k) “Production start date” means:
   67         1. For film and television projects, the start date of
   68  principal photography, as listed in the project’s application.
   69         2. For digital media projects, the start date of final
   70  storyboards or a later date as specified in the project’s
   71  application.
   72         (l)1. “Qualified expenditures” means expenditures made in
   73  this state and paid to residents of this state or to businesses
   74  registered in this state and made solely for preproduction,
   75  production, or postproduction of the qualified project,
   76  including the following:
   77         a. Rented or leased goods or services provided by a vendor
   78  or supplier in this state which is registered with the
   79  Department of State or the Department of Revenue; which has a
   80  physical address in this state other than a post office box; and
   81  which employs one or more Florida residents on a full-time
   82  basis. The term does not include rebilled goods or services
   83  provided by an in-state company from out-of-state vendors or
   84  suppliers. When services provided by the vendor or supplier
   85  include personal services or labor, only personal services or
   86  labor provided by Florida residents qualifies.
   87         b. Payments to Florida residents in the form of salary or
   88  wages up to a maximum of $200,000 per resident, including
   89  amounts paid per diem to a worker who is a Florida resident and
   90  amounts paid through payroll service companies, and benefits
   91  such as pension, health, and welfare payments for technical and
   92  production crews, directors, producers, and performers. For
   93  purposes of this sub-subparagraph, payments do not include wages
   94  for executives, legal staff, or other corporate staff who are
   95  not employed to work solely on the project.
   96         c.Rented or leased cars, trucks, and trailers if the
   97  vehicles or trailers are registered with the Florida Department
   98  of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
   99         d.Purchases of catered meals and on-set craft service
  100  supplies.
  101         e.Rented hotel rooms or other accommodations for cast or
  102  crew.
  103         2. The term does not include expenditures not expressly
  104  identified in subparagraph 1., expenditures made before
  105  qualification for the program, expenditures made via Internet
  106  transactions, expenditures for airfare, or any costs associated
  107  with development, marketing, or distribution.
  108         3.For the purposes of a digital media project, the term
  109  includes only those qualified expenditures made within 9 months
  110  after the project’s first qualified expenditure.
  111         (m) “Qualified project” means a film project, television
  112  project, or digital media project that meets the application
  113  requirements and for which a complete application for the
  114  program has been submitted to the commissioner and accepted for
  115  consideration by the office. The term does not include a weather
  116  or market program; a sporting event or a sporting event
  117  broadcast; a gala; an awards show; a production that solicits
  118  funds; a home shopping program; a political program; a gambling
  119  related project or production; a concert production; a news or
  120  current events show; a sports or sports recap show; a
  121  pornographic production; or any production deemed obscene under
  122  chapter 847, Florida Statutes.
  123         (n) “Television project” means a television pilot program
  124  or a television series that:
  125         1. Is a scripted drama, comedy, animation, or reality show;
  126         2. Has a runtime of at least 30 minutes but not more than
  127  60 minutes; and
  128         3. If the television project is a television series, has a
  129  minimum of 7 episodes; or, if the television project is a
  130  reality program or series, at least 10 episodes.
  132  The term does not include a project deemed by the office to have
  133  content that is obscene, as defined in s. 847.001, Florida
  134  Statutes.
  135         (o) “Underutilized area” means any county in this state
  136  other than Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Orange County, or
  137  Seminole County.
  138         (3) REBATE ELIGIBILITY.—
  139         (a) To be eligible for a rebate, an applicant must be
  140  registered to do business in this state and must be producing a
  141  project that:
  142         1. Has projected qualified expenditures of:
  143         a. For a film project, at least $1.5 million;
  144         b. For a television project, at least $500,000 per episode;
  145  or
  146         c. For a digital media project, at least $1.5 million;
  147         2. Is projected to employ a crew, including cast and stand
  148  ins, but not including extras, also known as background
  149  performers, of which at least 60 percent will be residents of
  150  this state and at least one member will be a military veteran;
  151         3. Is projected to spend at least 70 percent of its total
  152  production days in this state; and
  153         4. Will not receive a sales tax certificate of exemption
  154  pursuant to s. 288.1258, Florida Statutes, for the project.
  155         (b) A project may receive a rebate in the amount of up to
  156  20 percent of its verified qualified expenditures. A bonus may
  157  be earned in the amount of an additional 3 percentage points if
  158  75 percent of the project’s production in this state will take
  159  place in an underutilized area or if its content is deemed
  160  family friendly. A certified project may not receive more than
  161  one bonus, and the total that may be awarded under any rebate
  162  may not exceed 23 percent of its verified qualified expenditures
  163  or $2 million, whichever is less.
  164         (c) A certified project must make a good faith effort to
  165  use existing providers of infrastructure or equipment in this
  166  state, when available, including providers of camera gear, grip
  167  and lighting equipment, vehicles, and postproduction services,
  168  and to employ cast and crew who are residents of this state.
  169         (4)APPLICATION WINDOWS.—Applications must be accepted for
  170  the program during two application windows each fiscal year. The
  171  commissioner shall set a start date for both application
  172  windows. However, the first application window may begin before
  173  the start of the fiscal year and must end no later than 5
  174  business days after July 1, and the second must end no later
  175  than 5 business days after December 1.
  176         (a) The department may not earmark or set aside more than
  177  60 percent of any appropriated or rolled-over rebate funds for
  178  any given fiscal year for applications submitted during the
  179  first application window. Rebate funds not earmarked and set
  180  aside for applicants applying during one application window roll
  181  over for use in the next application window.
  182         (b) If all rebate funds are earmarked and set aside for
  183  certified projects, additional applications may not be accepted
  184  until more funds become available for the program.
  185         (5) APPLICATION PROCESS.—
  186         (a) A company that plans to produce a film, television, or
  187  digital project in this state may submit an application to the
  188  commissioner during one of the two application windows. Each
  189  fiscal year, a project must have a production start date that is
  190  within 6 months after July 1 if applying in the first window or
  191  within 6 months after January 1 if applying in the second
  192  window.
  193         (b)An applicant or its parent company may submit an
  194  application for no more than five projects in any single fiscal
  195  year. However, except in the case of a TV pilot and the
  196  television series the pilot is based on being certified within
  197  the same fiscal year, only one project per applicant may be
  198  certified within a fiscal year.
  199         (c) The application must include:
  200         1. Proof of funding;
  201         2. Project-related employment information, including
  202  employment numbers for residents of this state;
  203         3. A full line-item budget and a detailed qualified
  204  expenditures budget;
  205         4. A detailed distribution plan to assist with determining
  206  the potential economic impact of the project in this state;
  207         5. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures
  208  for wages paid to residents of this state;
  209         6. The applicant’s expected total qualified expenditures
  210  and nonqualified expenditures in this state;
  211         7. For a film project, the latest script, a production
  212  schedule, a Day Out of Days report, and a list of the expected
  213  shooting locations;
  214         8. For a digital media project, a detailed game design
  215  document, including a production schedule;
  216         9.For a television project that is a pilot, a final
  217  script, a production schedule, a Day Out of Days report, and a
  218  list of the expected shooting locations;
  219         10.For a television project that is a series, the latest
  220  scripts for at least two episodes and a production schedule, a
  221  Day Out of Days report, and a list of the expected shooting
  222  locations for the first episode;
  223         11. An affirmation signed by the applicant that the
  224  information on the application is correct;
  225         12. The applicant’s Florida tax identification number.
  226         (d)Within a reasonable period of time after the last
  227  business day of each application window, the commissioner shall:
  228         1. Review all applications submitted during the application
  229  window and determine the eligibility of each applicant;
  230         2. Determine each applicant’s expected qualified
  231  expenditures;
  232         3. Determine the maximum rebate amount that each eligible
  233  applicant may be awarded;
  234         4. Determine whether an eligible applicant’s project is
  235  deemed family friendly;
  236         5. Determine the percentage of the applicant’s production,
  237  if any, which is proposed to occur in an underutilized area;
  238         6. Determine whether each eligible applicant is a
  239  corporation registered in this state;
  240         7. Contact each applicant with any questions, as necessary;
  241         8. Gather any additional information needed to address the
  242  criteria specified under subsection (6);
  243         9. Assemble a package containing the details of each
  244  eligible applicant’s project and deliver it to each council
  245  member; and
  246         10. Give notice to the council of the date and time when
  247  the council must convene to assess each qualified project. The
  248  council may meet in person or by conference call.
  249         (e) The council shall determine a score for each qualified
  250  project using the criteria specified under subsection (6), with
  251  the highest scores going to projects determined to provide the
  252  best economic impact and return on investment to this state.
  254         (a)The priority order and scoring system of the criteria
  255  specified in paragraph (b) must be determined by the
  256  commissioner, with assistance from the council and other
  257  persons, as determined by the commissioner, before the first
  258  application window.
  259         (b)The council shall use, at a minimum, the following
  260  criteria in determining a qualified project’s score:
  261         1. The amount of the project’s overall qualified
  262  expenditures.
  263         2. The amount of the project’s Florida-resident wages.
  264         3. The number of full-time-equivalent jobs created by the
  265  project.
  266         4. Whether the project provides pension, health, and
  267  welfare benefits to its workforce in this state.
  268         5.The estimated direct and indirect tourism benefit of the
  269  project, based on the submitted distribution plan.
  270         6. The duration of Florida-resident employment for the
  271  project.
  272         7.What percentage of the project, if any, is being made in
  273  an underutilized area.
  274         8. Whether the project is family friendly.
  275         9. Whether the project has a Florida-resident writer,
  276  producer, or star.
  277         10. Whether a Florida film, television, or digital media
  278  school will assist with the production of the project.
  279         11. Whether the project leadership team has a successful
  280  track record.
  281         12. The number of Florida-resident veterans the project
  282  will hire.
  283         13. The number of Florida film school graduates the project
  284  will hire as cast or crew.
  285         (7) NOTIFICATION OF DECISION.—
  286         (a) After the council determines a project’s score, the
  287  commissioner shall, in a timely manner:
  288         1.Make a final determination on certifying or rejecting
  289  each qualified project, giving consideration to the council’s
  290  scoring.
  291         2.Provide a list of certified projects to the department
  292  which includes the associated maximum rebate amounts that the
  293  respective applicants may receive.
  294         3. Notify each certified project of the specified
  295  percentage of qualified expenditures for which it is eligible
  296  and the maximum rebate amount that it may receive.
  297         4. Provide a notice of rejection to each rejected
  298  applicant; however, the failure to notify an applicant of its
  299  rejection does not deem the applicant’s project a certified
  300  project.
  301         (b) Based on the final determination of the commissioner,
  302  the department shall earmark and set aside the amount necessary
  303  to fund the total maximum that may be awarded for the certified
  304  projects, if funds are available.
  305         (8)(a) VERIFICATION PROCESS.—The commissioner shall develop
  306  a process to verify the actual qualified expenditures and rebate
  307  bonus eligibility of a certified project after the project’s
  308  work in this state is complete. The process must require all of
  309  the following:
  310         1.Submission to the commissioner of at least all of the
  311  following information, electronically or in hard copy, or both,
  312  by each certified project:
  313         a. Data substantiating each qualified expenditure, which
  314  has been audited by an independent certified public accountant
  315  licensed in this state, as required under subparagraph 4.;
  316         b. Copies of documents verifying residency of persons
  317  represented as being residents of this state;
  318         c. The final script;
  319         d. The most recent production board and shooting schedule;
  320         e. The most recent credit list showing where the credits
  321  required under subsection (9) will appear;
  322         f.A cast list and a final crew list with contact
  323  information;
  324         g. For any veterans employed by the project, a copy of at
  325  least one of the veterans’ DD Form 214, as issued by the United
  326  States Department of Defense, or another acceptable form of
  327  identification as specified by the Department of Veterans’
  328  Affairs; and
  329         h.Any other information determined necessary by the
  330  commissioner.
  331         2.Signing, and submission to the commissioner, by the lead
  332  producer or studio executive in charge of the certified project,
  333  of an affidavit or written declaration signed under the penalty
  334  of perjury as specified in s. 92.525, Florida Statutes, stating
  335  that all salaries, wages, and other compensation submitted as
  336  qualified expenditures are in compliance with this section.
  337         3. The information and affidavit required by subparagraphs
  338  1. and 2. must be received by the commissioner within 120 days
  339  after the certified project has made its last qualified
  340  expenditure, but no later than 1 year after its production start
  341  date. Pursuant to the rules adopted by the department, the
  342  commissioner may, upon a showing of good cause, grant a one-time
  343  extension of this deadline.
  344         4. The conducting of a compliance audit, at the certified
  345  project’s expense, by an independent certified public accountant
  346  who is a resident of this state to substantiate the qualified
  347  expenditures, and submission of a report of the audit findings,
  348  including substantiating data, to the commissioner within a
  349  reasonable period of time after the initial receipt of records
  350  from the certified project.
  351         (b) The commissioner shall review the report and data
  352  required under paragraph (a) within a reasonable period of time
  353  after receipt of the report and data and shall report to the
  354  department the final verified amount of actual qualified
  355  expenditures the certified project made and the amount of the
  356  rebate, including any bonus, due to the project.
  357         (c) Upon approval by the department of the final rebate
  358  amount, which may not exceed the maximum specified in the notice
  359  provided under subparagraph (7)(a)3., the rebate must be issued
  360  within a reasonable period of time.
  362         (a) The commissioner shall ensure, as a condition of
  363  receiving a rebate under this section, that a certified project
  364  include marketing promoting this state as a tourist destination
  365  or film and entertainment production destination. At a minimum,
  366  the marketing must include placement in the end credits of a
  367  “Filmed in Florida” or “Produced in Florida” logo with size and
  368  placement commensurate to other logos included in the end
  369  credits or, if no logos are used, the statement “Filmed in
  370  Florida” or “Produced in Florida” or a similar statement
  371  approved by the commissioner and the logo of the local film
  372  office, if applicable. A digital media project must also supply
  373  a 5-second or longer animated logo with Produced in Florida” or
  374  other text, including the logo of the local digital media
  375  office, if applicable, as preapproved by the commissioner, in a
  376  manner easily seen by a consumer of the digital media project.
  377  The commissioner shall provide the logos for the purposes
  378  specified in this paragraph, not including the logo for a local
  379  office, which must be provided by the applicable office.
  380         (b) A certified project must allow the commissioner, or an
  381  affiliate, and a minimum of two guests to visit the production
  382  site upon the request of the commissioner. Upon such request,
  383  the certified project must give the commissioner reasonable
  384  notice of a visit date and time that is acceptable to the
  385  production. The commissioner or an affiliate is not required to
  386  make a visit to the set.
  387         (c)A certified project must provide at least five
  388  preapproved photos of the production to the commissioner and
  389  grant the commissioner free use of the photos in promoting this
  390  state as a film, television, or digital media production
  391  location or tourist destination.
  392         (10) DISQUALIFICATION.—The department shall disqualify a
  393  certified project and may not issue a rebate to the project if
  394  the project:
  395         (a) Does not begin principal photography in this state
  396  within the period beginning 30 days before and ending 90 days
  397  after the project’s listed production start date. Pursuant to
  398  department rule, the commissioner may, upon a showing of good
  399  cause, grant a one-time extension of this deadline;
  400         (b) Does not abide by the policies, procedures, deadlines,
  401  or requirements of the application verification process;
  402         (c) Does not notify the commissioner of any change in the
  403  production start date before commencing production;
  404         (d) Submits fraudulent information; or
  405         (e)Uses the state sales tax exemption established under s.
  406  288.1258, Florida Statutes.
  407         (11) FRAUD.—An applicant that submits fraudulent
  408  information under this section is liable for reimbursement of
  409  the reasonable costs and fees associated with the review,
  410  processing, investigation, and prosecution of the fraudulent
  411  submission. An applicant that obtains a rebate under this
  412  section through a claim that is fraudulent shall reimburse the
  413  program for the rebate awarded and reasonable costs and fees
  414  associated with the review, processing, investigation, and
  415  prosecution of the fraudulent claim and shall pay a civil
  416  penalty in an amount equal to double the rebate amount and any
  417  criminal penalty to which the applicant may be subject.
  418         (12) RULES; POLICIES; PROCEDURES.—The department may adopt
  419  rules and shall develop policies and procedures to administer
  420  this section, including, but not limited to, rules specifying
  421  requirements for the application and approval process and the
  422  determination of qualified expenditures.
  423         (13) ANNUAL REPORT.—Each November 1, the commissioner shall
  424  provide an annual report on the program for the previous fiscal
  425  year to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the
  426  Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report must
  427  identify the return on investment associated with, and economic
  428  benefits to this state attributable to, the program.
  429         (14)FUNDS NOT SUBJECT TO REVERSION.—Notwithstanding s.
  430  216.301, Florida Statutes, funds appropriated for this purpose
  431  shall not be subject to reversion.
  432         (15) EXPIRATION.—The Film, Television, and Digital Media
  433  Targeted Rebate Program expires June 30, 2023, at which point
  434  all remaining appropriated funds not earmarked and set aside for
  435  certified projects must revert to the General Revenue Fund. All
  436  remaining appropriated funds must revert to the General Revenue
  437  Fund no later than October 31, 2024.
  438         Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.
  440  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  441  And the title is amended as follows:
  442         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  443  and insert:
  444                        A bill to be entitled                      
  445         An act relating to the entertainment industry;
  446         creating the Film, Television, and Digital Media
  447         Targeted Rebate Program within the Department of
  448         Economic Opportunity under the supervision of the
  449         Commissioner of Film and Entertainment; providing
  450         purposes for the program; defining terms; requiring
  451         that film, television, and digital media projects
  452         being produced in this state meet specified criteria
  453         for rebate eligibility; authorizing applicants to
  454         receive rebates up to a specified amount, including
  455         bonuses; requiring an applicant that receives funding
  456         to make a good faith effort to use existing providers
  457         of infrastructure or equipment in this state and to
  458         employ residents of this state; requiring the
  459         commissioner to set application windows for the
  460         rebate; providing requirements for the department
  461         relating to earmarking and setting aside rebate funds;
  462         providing procedures and requirements for applicants
  463         applying for the rebate; requiring the commissioner to
  464         take specified action within a reasonable period of
  465         time; requiring the Florida Film and Entertainment
  466         Advisory Council to determine a score for each
  467         qualified project using specified criteria; requiring
  468         the commissioner to determine the priority order and
  469         scoring system of the specified criteria with
  470         assistance from the council and certain other persons;
  471         requiring the council to use certain criteria;
  472         requiring the commissioner to take certain actions
  473         relating to the certification or rejection of
  474         qualified projects in a timely manner; requiring the
  475         department to earmark and set aside funding necessary
  476         to fund the total maximum that may be awarded to the
  477         certified projects, if funds are available; requiring
  478         the commissioner to develop a process to verify the
  479         actual qualified expenditures and rebate bonus
  480         eligibility of a certified project after the project’s
  481         work in this state is complete; providing requirements
  482         for the verification process; requiring that the
  483         rebate be issued within a reasonable period of time
  484         upon approval of the final rebate amount by the
  485         department; requiring that certain marketing be
  486         included with a project; requiring certified projects
  487         to allow certain persons to visit the production site
  488         upon request of the commissioner and after providing
  489         the commissioner with reasonable notice; specifying
  490         that the commissioner or his or her affiliate is not
  491         required to visit the production site; requiring the
  492         department to disqualify a project under certain
  493         circumstances; providing for liability and imposing
  494         civil penalties for an applicant that submits
  495         fraudulent information; providing for rulemaking;
  496         requiring the commissioner to provide an annual report
  497         to the Governor and the Legislature on a specified
  498         date; providing that certain appropriated funds are
  499         not subject to reversion; providing for the expiration
  500         of the program; providing an effective date.