Section 215.422, Florida Statutes 2001
215.422 Warrants, vouchers, and invoices; processing time limits; dispute resolution; agency or judicial branch compliance.--
(1) The voucher authorizing payment of an invoice submitted to an agency of the state or the judicial branch, required by law to be filed with the Comptroller, shall be filed with the Comptroller not later than 20 days after receipt of the invoice and receipt, inspection, and approval of the goods or services, except that in the case of a bona fide dispute the voucher shall contain a statement of the dispute and authorize payment only in the amount not disputed. The Comptroller may establish dollar thresholds and other criteria for all invoices and may delegate to a state agency or the judicial branch responsibility for maintaining the official vouchers and documents for invoices which do not exceed the thresholds or which meet the established criteria. Such records shall be maintained in accordance with the requirements established by the Secretary of State. The electronic payment request transmission to the Comptroller shall constitute filing of a voucher for payment of invoices for which the Comptroller has delegated to an agency custody of official records. Approval and inspection of goods or services shall take no longer than 5 working days unless the bid specifications, purchase order, or contract specifies otherwise. If a voucher filed within the 20-day period is returned by the Department of Banking and Finance because of an error, it shall nevertheless be deemed timely filed. The 20-day filing requirement may be waived in whole or in part by the Department of Banking and Finance on a showing of exceptional circumstances in accordance with rules and regulations of the department. For the purposes of determining the receipt of invoice date, the agency or the judicial branch is deemed to receive an invoice on the date on which a proper invoice is first received at the place designated by the agency or the judicial branch. The agency or the judicial branch is deemed to receive an invoice on the date of the invoice if the agency or the judicial branch has failed to annotate the invoice with the date of receipt at the time the agency or the judicial branch actually received the invoice or failed at the time the order is placed or contract made to designate a specific location to which the invoice must be delivered.
(2) The warrant in payment of an invoice submitted to an agency of the state or the judicial branch shall be issued not later than 10 days after filing of the voucher authorizing payment. However, this requirement may be waived in whole or in part by the Department of Banking and Finance on a showing of exceptional circumstances in accordance with rules and regulations of the department. If the 10-day period contains fewer than 6 working days, the Department of Banking and Finance shall be deemed in compliance with this subsection if the warrant is issued within 6 working days without regard to the actual number of calendar days. For purposes of this section, a payment is deemed to be issued on the first working day that payment is available for delivery or mailing to the vendor.
(3)(a) Each agency of the state or the judicial branch which is required by law to file vouchers with the Comptroller shall keep a record of the date of receipt of the invoice; dates of receipt, inspection, and approval of the goods or services; date of filing of the voucher; and date of issuance of the warrant in payment thereof. If the voucher is not filed or the warrant is not issued within the time required, an explanation in writing by the agency head or the Chief Justice shall be submitted to the Department of Banking and Finance in a manner prescribed by it. Agencies and the judicial branch shall continue to deliver or mail state payments promptly.
(b) If a warrant in payment of an invoice is not issued within 40 days after receipt of the invoice and receipt, inspection, and approval of the goods and services, the agency or judicial branch shall pay to the vendor, in addition to the amount of the invoice, interest at a rate as established pursuant to s. 55.03(1) on the unpaid balance from the expiration of such 40-day period until such time as the warrant is issued to the vendor. Such interest shall be added to the invoice at the time of submission to the Comptroller for payment whenever possible. If addition of the interest penalty is not possible, the agency or judicial branch shall pay the interest penalty payment within 15 days after issuing the warrant. The provisions of this paragraph apply only to undisputed amounts for which payment has been authorized. Disputes shall be resolved in accordance with rules developed and adopted by the Chief Justice for the judicial branch, and rules adopted by the Department of Banking and Finance or in a formal administrative proceeding before an administrative law judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings for state agencies, provided that, for the purposes of ss. 120.569 and 120.57(1), no party to a dispute involving less than $1,000 in interest penalties shall be deemed to be substantially affected by the dispute or to have a substantial interest in the decision resolving the dispute. In the case of an error on the part of the vendor, the 40-day period shall begin to run upon receipt by the agency or the judicial branch of a corrected invoice or other remedy of the error. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply when the filing requirement under subsection (1) or subsection (2) has been waived in whole by the Department of Banking and Finance. The various state agencies and the judicial branch shall be responsible for initiating the penalty payments required by this subsection and shall use this subsection as authority to make such payments. The budget request submitted to the Legislature shall specifically disclose the amount of any interest paid by any agency or the judicial branch pursuant to this subsection. The temporary unavailability of funds to make a timely payment due for goods or services does not relieve an agency or the judicial branch from the obligation to pay interest penalties under this section.
(c) An agency or the judicial branch may make partial payments to a contractor upon partial delivery of goods or services or upon partial completion of construction when a request for such partial payment is made by the contractor and approved by the agency. Provisions of this section and rules of the Department of Banking and Finance shall apply to partial payments in the same manner as they apply to full payments.
(4) If the terms of the invoice provide a discount for payment in less than 30 days, agencies of the state and the judicial branch shall preferentially process it and use all diligence to obtain the saving by compliance with the invoice terms.
(5) All purchasing agreements between a state agency or the judicial branch and a vendor, applicable to this section, shall include a statement of the vendor's rights and the state's responsibilities under this section. The vendor's rights shall include being provided with the telephone number of the vendor ombudsman within the Department of Banking and Finance, which information shall also be placed on all agency or judicial branch purchase orders.
(6) The Department of Banking and Finance shall monitor each agency's and the judicial branch's compliance with the time limits and interest penalty provisions of this section. The department shall provide a report to an agency or to the judicial branch if the department determines that the agency or the judicial branch has failed to maintain an acceptable rate of compliance with the time limits and interest penalty provisions of this section. The department shall establish criteria for determining acceptable rates of compliance. The report shall also include a list of late vouchers or payments, the amount of interest owed or paid, and any corrective actions recommended. The department shall perform monitoring responsibilities, pursuant to this section, using the Management Services and Purchasing Subsystem or the Florida Accounting Information Resource Subsystem provided in s. 215.94. Each agency and the judicial branch shall be responsible for the accuracy of information entered into the Management Services and Purchasing Subsystem and the Florida Accounting Information Resource Subsystem for use in this monitoring.
(7) There is created a vendor ombudsman within the Department of Banking and Finance who shall be responsible for the following functions:
(a) Performing the duties of the department pursuant to subsection (6).
(b) Reviewing requests for waivers due to exceptional circumstances.
(c) Disseminating information relative to the prompt payment policies of this state and assisting vendors in receiving their payments in a timely manner.
(d) Performing such other duties as determined by the department.
(8) The Department of Banking and Finance is authorized and directed to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to implement this section and for resolution of disputes involving amounts of less than $1,000 in interest penalties for state agencies. No agency or the judicial branch shall adopt any rule or policy that is inconsistent with this section or the Department of Banking and Finance's rules or policies.
(9) Each agency and the judicial branch shall include in the official position description of every officer or employee who is responsible for the approval or processing of vendors' invoices or distribution of warrants to vendors that the requirements of this section are mandatory.
(10) Persistent failure to comply with this section by any agency of the state or the judicial branch shall constitute good cause for discharge of employees duly found responsible, or predominantly responsible, for failure to comply.
(11) Travel and other reimbursements to state officers and employees must be the same as payments to vendors under this section, except payment of Class C travel subsistence. Class C travel subsistence shall be paid in accordance with the schedule established by the Comptroller pursuant to s. 112.061(5)(b). This section does not apply to payments made to state agencies, the judicial branch, or the legislative branch.
(12) In the event that a state agency or the judicial branch contracts with a third party, uses a revolving fund, or pays from a local bank account to process and pay invoices for goods or services, all requirements for financial obligations and time processing set forth in this section shall be applicable and the state agency or the judicial branch shall be responsible for paying vendors the interest assessed for untimely payment. The state agency or the judicial branch may, through its contract with a third party, require the third party to pay interest from the third party's funds.
(13) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (3) and (12), in order to alleviate any hardship that may be caused to a health care provider as a result of delay in receiving reimbursement for services, any payment or payments for hospital, medical, or other health care services which are to be reimbursed by a state agency or the judicial branch, either directly or indirectly, shall be made to the health care provider not more than 35 days from the date eligibility for payment of such claim is determined. If payment is not issued to a health care provider within 35 days after the date eligibility for payment of the claim is determined, the state agency or the judicial branch shall pay the health care provider interest at a rate of 1 percent per month calculated on a calendar day basis on the unpaid balance from the expiration of such 35-day period until such time as payment is made to the health care provider, unless a waiver in whole has been granted by the Department of Banking and Finance pursuant to subsection (1) or subsection (2).
(14) The Comptroller may adopt rules to authorize advance payments for goods and services, including, but not limited to, maintenance agreements and subscriptions. Such rules shall provide objective criteria for determining when it is in the best interest of the state to make payments in advance and shall also provide for adequate protection to ensure that such goods or services will be provided.
(15) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to be an appropriation. Any interest which becomes due and owing pursuant to this section shall only be payable from the appropriation charged for such goods or services.
(16) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 24.120(3), applicable to warrants issued for payment of invoices submitted by the Department of the Lottery, the Comptroller may, by written agreement with the Department of the Lottery, establish a shorter time requirement than the 10 days provided in subsection (2) for warrants issued for payment. Pursuant to such written agreement, the Department of the Lottery shall reimburse the Comptroller for costs associated with processing invoices under the agreement.
History.--s. 1, ch. 74-7; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 1, ch. 78-352; s. 3, ch. 79-106; s. 2, ch. 83-332; s. 8, ch. 85-104; s. 57, ch. 87-224; s. 1, ch. 89-200; s. 3, ch. 91-162; s. 21, ch. 92-142; s. 149, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 9, ch. 94-239; s. 1507, ch. 95-147; s. 32, ch. 95-312; s. 6, ch. 96-310; s. 44, ch. 96-410; s. 8, ch. 99-155; s. 19, ch. 99-399.