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Amendment 4 would make solar cheaper for property owners

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Voters in sun-soaked Florida will have a chance Tuesday to decide whether to approve an amendment to the state constitution that supporters say is aimed at encouraging the use of solar energy. A proposed Amendment 4 calls for tax breaks that could help both commercial and residential property owners install solar or renewable energy systems or devices more affordably. The proposal requires the consent of 60 percent of the voters casting ballots in the Aug. 30 primary. The measure was…

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Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff comes to Tallahassee to decry big money in solar fight

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Infamous former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff spoke in the state capital Tuesday morning, as he joined forces with fellow conservatives in support of lobbying and ethics reforms. Abramoff’s appearance came amid a heated battle between utilities and environmentalist groups over a pair of solar energy amendments set to appear on Florida ballots in 2016. Abramoff, who pled guilty in 2006 to conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion in federal court over a scheme to defraud Native American-run casino interests, told reporters special interests are…

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Rena Frazier blasts Ross Spano on upholding ban on shacking up in Florida

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Did you know that it’s technically illegal in the Sunshine State to live with a member of the opposite sex in Florida? Not that it’s being actively enforced, but yes, there has been a prohibition on cohabitation in the Sunshine State since 1968. (Michigan and Mississippi are the only other states with such a law.) Which means that, according to 2014 census data, there are nearly 438,000 unmarried male-female couples among the state’s 7.3 million households. However, for those couples…

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Constitutional amendment on solar power close to Florida Supreme Court review

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It’s only the middle of March, but Floridians for Solar Choice, the political action committee pushing to get a solar-energy initiative on the ballot in 2015,  are on the verge of having enough valid petition signatures to get a review by the Florida Supreme Court. The group submitted 66,493 valid petition signatures on Friday, just shy of the 68,314 needed to trigger court review. If approved, the measure would open up the business of selling electricity from solar energy to the public…

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Conservative House Republican Dennis Baxley reverses his vote for gay adoption

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Although the vote by the Florida House of Representatives last week to repeal Florida’s 38-year ban on gay adoption was hardly overwhelming, there was little open dissent on the House floor, with only a handful of lawmakers even discussing the legislation before voting on it. Among those who did so movingly was Ocala Republican Dennis Baxley, one of the most socially conservative members of the Legislature. Baxley spent several minutes on the floor describing what he called “one of the…

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