2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
Florida Is For Veterans, Inc.
Florida Is For Veterans, Inc.
295.21 Florida Is For Veterans, Inc.—
(1) CREATION.—There is created within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs a nonprofit corporation, to be known as “Florida Is For Veterans, Inc.,” which shall be registered, incorporated, organized, and operated in compliance with chapter 617, and which is not a unit or entity of state government. As used in this section and s. 295.22, unless the context indicates otherwise, the term “corporation” means Florida Is For Veterans, Inc. The corporation shall be a separate budget entity and is not subject to the control, supervision, or direction of the department in any manner, including, but not limited to, personnel, purchasing, transactions involving real or personal property, or budgetary matters.
(2) PURPOSE.—The purpose of the corporation is to promote Florida as a veteran-friendly state that seeks to provide veterans with employment opportunities and that promotes the hiring of veterans by the business community. The corporation shall encourage retired and recently separated military personnel to remain in the state or to make the state their permanent residence. The corporation shall promote the value of military skill sets to businesses in the state, assist in tailoring the training of veterans to match the needs of the employment marketplace, and enhance the entrepreneurial skills of veterans.
(3) DUTIES.—The corporation shall:
(a) Conduct research to identify the target market and the educational and employment needs of those in the target market. The corporation shall contract with at least one entity pursuant to the competitive bidding requirements in s. 287.057 and the provisions of s. 295.187 to perform the research. Such entity must have experience conducting market research on the veteran demographic. The corporation shall seek input from the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation on the scope, process, and focus of such research.
(b) Advise the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, pursuant to s. 295.23, on:
1. The target market as identified in paragraph (a).
2. Development and implementation of a marketing campaign to encourage members of the target market to remain in the state or to make the state their permanent residence.
3. Methods for disseminating information to the target market that relates to the interests and needs of veterans of all ages and facilitates veterans’ knowledge of and access to benefits.
(c) Promote and enhance the value of military skill sets to businesses.
(d) Implement the Veterans Employment and Training Services Program established by s. 295.22.
(e) Responsibly and prudently manage all funds received and ensure that the use of such funds conforms to all applicable laws, bylaws, or contractual requirements.
(f) Administer the programs created in this section and s. 295.22.
(g) Serve as the state’s principal assistance organization under the United States Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program for employers and transitioning servicemembers.
(a) The corporation shall be governed by a nine-member board of directors. The Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall each appoint three members to the board. In making appointments, the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives must consider representation by active or retired military personnel and their spouses representing a range of ages and persons with expertise in business, education, marketing, and information management.
(b) The board of directors shall annually elect a chair from among the board’s members.
(c) Each member of the board of directors shall be appointed for a term of 4 years, except that, to achieve staggered terms, the initial appointees of the Governor shall serve terms of 2 years. A member is eligible for reappointment to the board for one additional term of 4 years. Vacancies on the board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. A vacancy that occurs before the scheduled expiration of the term of the member shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(d) The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest for the members of the board of directors to be subject to the requirements of ss. 112.313, 112.3135, and 112.3143. Notwithstanding the fact that they are not public officers or employees, for purposes of ss. 112.313, 112.3135, and 112.3143, the board members shall be considered to be public officers or employees. In addition to the postemployment restrictions of s. 112.313(9), a person appointed to the board of directors may not have direct interest in a contract, franchise, privilege, project, program, or other benefit arising from an award by the corporation during the appointment term and for 2 years after the termination of such appointment. A person who accepts appointment to the board of directors in violation of this subsection, or accepts a direct interest in a contract, franchise, privilege, project, program, or other benefit granted by the corporation to an awardee within 2 years after the termination of his or her service on the board, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Further, each member of the board of directors who is not otherwise required to file financial disclosure under s. 8, Art. II of the State Constitution or s. 112.3144 shall file a statement of financial interests under s. 112.3145.
(e) Each member of the board of directors shall serve without compensation but is entitled to reimbursement for travel and per diem expenses as provided in s. 112.061 while performing his or her duties.
(f) Each member of the board of directors is accountable for the proper performance of the duties of office and owes a fiduciary duty to the people of this state to ensure that awards provided are disbursed and used as prescribed by law and contract. An appointed member of the board of directors may be removed by the officer who appointed the member for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, unexcused absence from three consecutive board meetings, arrest or indictment for a crime that is a felony or a misdemeanor involving theft or a crime of dishonesty, or pleading guilty or nolo contendere to or being found guilty of any crime.
(g) A majority of the members of the board of directors constitutes a quorum. Council meetings may be held via teleconference or other electronic means.
(5) POWERS.—In addition to the powers and duties prescribed in chapter 617 and the articles and bylaws adopted thereunder, the board of directors may:
(a) Make and enter into contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient for the exercise of its powers and functions. However, notwithstanding s. 617.0302, the corporation may not issue bonds.
(b) Make expenditures, including any necessary administrative expenditure.
(c) Adopt, amend, and repeal bylaws, consistent with the powers granted to it under this section or the articles of incorporation, for the administration of the activities of the corporation, and the exercise of its corporate powers.
(d) Accept funding for its programs and activities from federal, state, local, and private sources.
(e) Adopt and register a fictitious name for use in its marketing activities.
The credit of the State of Florida may not be pledged on behalf of the corporation.
(6) PUBLIC RECORDS AND MEETINGS.—The corporation is subject to the provisions of chapters 119 and 286 relating to public records and meetings, respectively.
(7) STAFFING AND ASSISTANCE.—
(a) The corporation is authorized to hire or contract for all staff necessary for the proper execution of its powers and duties. All employees of the corporation shall comply with the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees under part III of chapter 112. Corporation staff must agree to refrain from having any direct interest in any contract, franchise, privilege, project, program, or other benefit arising from an award by the corporation during the term of their appointment and for 2 years after the termination of such appointment.
(b) All agencies of the state are authorized and directed to provide such technical assistance as the corporation may require to identify programs within each agency which provide assistance or benefits to veterans who are located in this state or who are considering relocation to this state.
(c) The Department of Veterans’ Affairs may authorize the corporation’s use of the department’s property, facilities, and personnel services, subject to this section. The department may prescribe by contract any condition with which the corporation must comply in order to use the department’s property, facilities, or personnel services.
(d) The department may not authorize the use of its property, facilities, or personnel services if the corporation does not provide equal employment opportunities to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin.
(8) ANNUAL REPORT.—The corporation shall submit an annual progress report and work plan by December 1 to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report must include:
(a) Status and summary of findings regarding the target market, veteran benefits, and any identified gaps in services.
(b) Status of the marketing campaign, delivery systems of the marketing campaign, and outreach to the target market.
(c) Status of the Veterans Employment and Training Services Program administered under s. 295.22.
(d) Proposed revisions or additions to performance measurements for the programs administered by the corporation.
(e) Identification of contracts that the corporation has entered into to carry out its duties.
(f) An annual compliance and financial audit of accounts and records for the previous fiscal year prepared by an independent certified public accountant pursuant to rules adopted by the Auditor General.
(9) DISSOLUTION.—All moneys and property held by the corporation shall revert to the state if the corporation ceases to exist.
History.—s. 12, ch. 2014-1; s. 3, ch. 2018-7; s. 1, ch. 2021-66.