Section 288.712, Florida Statutes 2009
288.712 Guarantor funds.--
(1) The board is authorized to establish, with or without public or private partners, guarantor funds to assist qualified black business enterprises in obtaining surety bonds and other credit instruments when required.
(2) The board may contract with a regulated surety company to conduct a surety bond program for black business enterprises.
(3) For purposes of this section, the board may utilize the Black Contractors Bond Trust Fund, consisting of moneys deposited or credited to the Black Contractors Bond Trust Fund pursuant to any appropriation made by law; any grants, gifts, and contributions received pursuant to ss. 288.707-288.714; all moneys recovered following defaults; all premiums charged and collected in accordance with this section and any interest earned; and any other moneys obtained by the board for this purpose. The fund shall be administered by the board in trust for the purposes of this section and shall at no time be part of general public funds under the following procedures:
(a) Any claims against the state arising from defaults shall be payable from the Black Contractors Bond Trust Fund. Nothing in this section grants or pledges to any obligee or other person any state moneys other than the moneys in the Black Contractors Bond Trust Fund.
(b) The board may guarantee bonds executed by sureties for black business enterprises under this section as principals on contracts with the state, any political subdivision or instrumentality, or any person as the obligee. The board, as guarantor, may exercise all the rights and powers of a company authorized by the Department of Financial Services to guarantee bonds under chapter 624, but otherwise is not subject to any laws related to a guaranty company under chapter 624 or to any rules of the department.
(c) The board shall adopt policies and procedures for the application for bond guarantees and for the review and approval of applications for bond guarantees submitted by sureties that execute bonds eligible for guarantees under this section.
(d) In accordance with the policies and procedures adopted pursuant to this section, the board may guarantee up to 90 percent of the loss incurred and paid by sureties on bonds guaranteed under this section.
(e) The policies and procedures of the board shall require the black business enterprise to pay a premium in advance for the bond to be established by the board. All premiums paid by the black business enterprise shall be paid into the Black Contractors Bond Trust Fund.
(f) The penal sum amounts of all outstanding bonds issued by the board shall not exceed the amount of moneys in the Black Contractors Bond Trust Fund.
(g) Any funds to the credit of the Black Contractors Bond Trust Fund in excess of the amount necessary to fund the appropriation authority for the fund shall be held as a loss reserve to pay claims arising from defaults on surety bonds guaranteed in accordance with this section.
(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or restrict the board from entering into a joint venture or other contractual agreement with a private insurer or to invest in a private entity to handle all or part of a black contractors bonding program for black business enterprises. The board is authorized and encouraged to contract with a regulated surety company to conduct a surety bond program for black business enterprises. Moneys from the Black Contractors Bond Trust Fund may be used for these purposes. The board may approve one application per fiscal year from each surety company to support 1 fiscal year of that company's activities under this section. A surety bond company that applies for a bond guarantee under this section, regardless of whether the guarantee is approved, is not restricted from also applying for individual bond guarantees under this section.
(5) The board shall do all of the following to implement the black contractors bonding program:
(a) Conduct outreach, marketing, and recruitment of black contractors.
(b) Provide assistance to the Office of Supplier Diversity within the Department of Management Services, as needed, to certify new black business enterprises and to train appropriate department staff.
(c) Provide business development services to black business enterprises in the developmental and transitional stages of the program, including financing and bonding assistance and management and technical assistance.
(d) Develop a mentor program to bring businesses into a working relationship with black contractors in a way that commercially benefits both entities and serves the purpose of the program.
(e) No later than December 31, 2007, prepare and submit to the Governor a detailed report outlining and evaluating the progress made in implementing the black contractors bonding program.
(f) Establish a process by which black contractors may apply for contract assistance, financial and bonding assistance, management and technical assistance, and mentoring opportunities.
History.--ss. 14, 32, ch. 85-104; s. 3, ch. 89-352; s. 105, ch. 90-360; s. 28, ch. 94-322; s. 1, ch. 95-386; s. 141, ch. 96-406; s. 7, ch. 2002-180; s. 345, ch. 2003-261; s. 14, ch. 2007-157.