Amendment 1 Guarantees Solar Energy Choices Will Be Part of Florida’s Energy Future

Florida is growing by nearly 1,000 residents every day. At this rate, our researchers estimate Florida will add six million more residents by 2030.

Florida’s infrastructure, which includes water, transportation, communications and energy, needs to keep up with demand and we need to ensure our legislative framework provides the tools needed to secure Florida’s future.

When voters go to the polls during the November 8th General Election, they will have an opportunity to create a permanent legislative environment to adapt to changing energy technology and consumer choices with Amendment 1.

For years, Florida’s Constitution has been the target of out-of-state and special interests who want to embed their outside influence on Florida’s future.

Understanding that Florida’s Constitution can be amended five different ways, Florida’s process to make permanent constitutional changes is often more of an art than science.

Yet out-of-state special interests are now working to chip away at Florida’s amendatory process, and working to leave a permanent footprint on the everyday lives of Florida’s families and businesses.

With that in mind, I believe it’s important that we take a closer look at proposed amendments and the policies they contain. When it comes to Amendment 1, the Florida Chamber believes solar energy is an important component of our future energy choices, and we fully support the policies contained in Amendment 1 on the General Election ballot.

In the case of Amendment 1, a strong argument can be made that voters passing this amendment now is a smart way to depoliticize the important solar energy debate for decades to come.

As the Florida Chamber has warned, there are well-funded special interests groups and billionaires with agendas that seek to pass mandates that would dramatically increase electricity costs and limit Florida’s competitiveness. Therefore, although we don’t necessarily support the process, the concepts in Amendment 1 are needed and will provide an important framework to protect consumers and increase choices for Florida’s businesses and consumers.

As Florida Chamber polling consistently shows, it appears voters want solar energy as an option, and they believe the legislature is the best place to make future policy decisions. Amendment 1 essentially guarantees that solar energy will be part of Florida’s future energy portfolio and it also ensures that, as technology and American’s regulatory climate changes, the framework for future decisions rests squarely where it belongs – with the Florida Legislature.

While the Florida Chamber may have a long-standing policy of refraining from supporting concepts that could be handled through statutes, a strong argument can be made that Amendment 1 is needed to set up a permanent framework for legislative solutions now and for decades to come.

I believe Amendment 1 will pass and, when it does, the Florida Chamber of Commerce will be at the table to urge the legislature to continue establishing a framework that creates reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy solutions for decades to come.

DID YOU KNOW:

According to the latest Florida Chamber Political Institute statewide poll, if the election were held today, it appears more than 65 percent of voters would support the passage of Amendment 1 which protects the rights of electricity consumer regarding solar energy choice.

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Justices Hear Arguments Over Potentially Costly Solar Amendment

Florida Chamber Urges Supreme Court to Reject Ambiguous Amendment

Fresh from advocating for Florida families and job creators, the Florida Chamber of Commerce has returned from today’s Florida Supreme Court hearings, where Justices heard debate on a proposed amendment that could increase energy cost. A group behind Limits or Prevents Barriers to Local Solar Electricity Supply defended their proposed amendment before the Florida Supreme Court.

“As a large and growing state, Florida needs a diverse energy portfolio that includes solar energy, however, the proposed constitutional amendment mandates major changes in existing law, using language that is unclear and misleading,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi in June.

The latest Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI) poll shows that Floridians support solar energy, but they do not support a proposed solar amendment that could drive up energy costs. Only 41 percent of likely Florida voters support this proposal – falling far short of passage.

The Florida Chamber filed an Amicus Brief with the Florida Supreme Court opposing this amendment. As noted in the brief prepared by former Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero, the Florida Chamber believes:

  • The solar initiative violates the single-subject requirement, and
  • The title and summary of the amendment are deceptive and misleading to Florida voters.

The Florida Chamber has a long-standing tradition of opposing amendments that can be addressed legislatively or through the state’s budget, an opinion former Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero shares in regards to this amendment.

“The proposed solar amendment would put into the Florida Constitution policy requirements that could be accomplished through the Legislative process. Voters should only be asked to amend the state Constitution if the proposed amendment clearly covers a single subject, which this proposed amendment does not,” said former Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero.

David Hart, Florida Chamber Executive Vice President, in interviews with members of Florida’s Capitol Press Corps, told reporters that Floridians support solar. However, as Hart explained, “they just don’t support this one.”

With 30 proposed constitutional amendments attempting to make their way onto the ballot and into Florida’s Constitution, voters will be looking closely at those that might increase their utility costs.

Add Your Voice:

Sign the Florida Chamber’s resolution opposing this bad solar amendment. Contact Greg Blose at gblose@flchamber.com to obtain the resolution.

Poll: Floridians Support Solar But Don’t Support Proposed Amendment That Could Increase Energy Cost

 

45% of Floridians Think Florida is Heading in the Right Direction

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (August 31 , 2015) – The latest Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI) poll released today shows that Floridians support solar energy, but they do not support a proposed solar amendment that could drive up energy costs. Only 41 percent of likely Florida voters support Limits or Prevents Barriers to Local Solar Electricity Supply.

“Florida voters clearly support solar, but with 30 proposed constitutional amendments attempting to make their way onto the ballot and into Florida’s Constitution, voters will be looking closely at those that might increase their utility costs,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of Political Strategy for the Florida Chamber.

The Florida Chamber filed an Amicus Brief with the Florida Supreme Court opposing this amendment. As noted in the brief prepared by former Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero, the Florida Chamber believes:

  • The solar initiative violates the single-subject requirement, and
  • The title and summary of the amendment are deceptive and misleading to Florida voters.

The group behind Limits or Prevents Barriers to Local Solar Electricity Supply must defend their proposed amendment before the Florida Supreme court on Tuesday.

Additional Florida Chamber survey results show that more Floridians believe Florida is heading in the right direction and almost half approve of the job Rick Scott is doing as Governor.

  • 45 percent (nearly one out of two) of Floridians believe Florida is heading in the right direction, and
  • 48 percent (nearly half) of Floridians approve of the job Rick Scott is doing as Governor.

Also, likely Florida voters believe the economy is the most important issue facing Florida. Specifically:

  • 22 percent of registered Florida voters say job creation and improving the economy is the most important issue facing our state,
  • 13 percent of registered Florida voters believe education should be the top issue in the state,
  • 11 percent of Florida voters are concerned about health care and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (known as ObamaCare), and
  • Immigration is gaining traction and seen as the most important issue by 8 percent of voters.

The survey, conducted on August 8-14, 2015 during live landline (62 percent) and cellular (38 percent) telephone calls, included a cross section of 611 registered voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Please note:  The samples for the polls conducted by the Florida Chamber Political Institute are consistently drawn from likely voters, meaning those voters who have the propensity and past performance of voting in elections, rather than simply including registered voters.  Voters are again screened for likelihood of voting this November.

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.