One thing we can all agree on right now is that our country and each of us individually owes a debt of gratitude to all veterans of every branch of service. In honor of Veteran’s Day, Boyd & Jenerette would like to highlight a few facts about Veteran’s Day and update you regarding new legislation effecting Florida’s veterans and special programs in Florida to assist veterans.
Veteran’s Day was originally called Armistice Day. Although World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, an armistice agreement was reached between the WW I Allies and Germany to end the fighting approximately eight months earlier on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. WW I was a multinational effort so many countries also celebrate their own veterans on November 11. The name of the day and how it is celebrated differs still though and many countries refer to it as Remembrance Day. Veteran’s day is not the same as Memorial Day. Memorial Day is designated to remember those who have lost their lives for our country and particularly those who died in battle or from wounds suffered in battle. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served our country in war or peace and whether alive or deceased.
This year Florida passed several laws impacting veterans and how we protect them and those actively serving in the military. Florida House of Representatives Bill 205 became effective on October 1, 2020 and expands the protections provided under Florida Statutes Section 817.312. This expanded statute prohibits any unauthorized misrepresentation of status as an active service member or veteran or unauthorized use of uniforms, medals, or military insignia that are only for use by active members or veterans of the United States Airforce, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, or National Guard. These acts are prohibited while soliciting funds, obtaining employment, or otherwise for the purpose of material gain. Any violation of this statute is a felony of the third degree. There is an exception for theatrical use while actually engaged in the theatrical profession.
Florida Senate Bill 294, also known as the “Florida Veterans Protection Act” also became effective on October 1, 2020. This statute allows for an enhanced sentence for any person who commits an aggravated white-collar crime against ten or more veterans or elderly persons, twenty or more persons, or a state agency by obtaining or attempting to obtain $50,000 or more in the commission of such a crime. Under the Florida Veterans Protection Act, an aggravated white- collar crime is defined as the engagement in at least two interrelated white-collar crimes, provided that one occurs after the effective date of the Act, and is ranked as being a level nine offense in severity.
Veterans and their spouses should be reminded of Florida’s Licensing Fee Waiver program for veterans. Florida has always made it a priority to assist veterans in gaining civil employment. To that end, the state enacted a fee waiver program in 2014 as a special veterans initiative. This statute allows the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to waive the initial licensing fee, initial application fee, and other related fees for military veterans and their spouses residing in Florida. Fees for more than twenty professions including certified public accounting, construction, real estate, cosmetology, and many other businesses under DBPR’s Drugs, Devices, and Cosmetics Division are waived under this program. The veteran must be honorably discharged and must apply within sixty months from discharge. A spouse applying for the waiver must be married to the honorably discharged veteran at the time of discharge.
About the Author
Sherry Lambson-Eisele chairs the firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group. She has more than 25 years of litigation experience handling construction, commercial and real property litigation matters. Ms. Eisele has represented large and small business owners in matters ranging from multi-million dollar claims against international theme parks to single-family home-owner matters and everything in between. Her experience includes prosecuting and defending multi-million claims. She regularly handles complex construction and real estate matters involving construction defects, liens, bonds, contracts, commercial lease matters, title claims, commercial evictions, fraud, quiet title and boundary dispute issues. She is also experienced in prosecuting and defending claims for extra work, delays, indemnity disputes, and engineering and design errors and omissions.