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Floridians for Solar Choice

Joe Henderson: For solar energy supporters, Amendment 1 raises red flags

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In the Aug. 30 primary, Florida voters made it unmistakably clear how they feel about solar energy. Nearly 73 percent of them voted to approve an amendment providing a tax break for businesses that convert to solar power. That was just what backers of clean energy in Florida wanted, of course. Now they have a new request for voters: When Amendment 1, otherwise known as Florida Solar Energy Subsidies and Personal Solar Use Initiative, comes up in November, those same…

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League of Women Voters to organize solar co-ops beginning in St. Petersburg

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The League of Women Voters in Florida is going big on solar power this year. They’re putting their political muscle behind supporting one solar constitutional amendment on the ballot next month, while opposing another such measure in November. And somewhat outside their normal lane, they’re also going to organize solar co-ops to negotiate steep discounts on rooftop solar for homeowners across the state. “We are extremely excited to present to you today our plans to make solar the number one issue, and making Florida the number one state…

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Consumers for Smart Solar launches new phase of ballot initiative campaign

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Consumers for Smart Solar kicked-off a new phase of its effort to pass a solar energy amendment to the state constitution at a press conference Tuesday. The campaign was once seen as merely a foil for a rival amendment, pitched by environmental groups like the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. That initiative ran out of gas when it failed to gather enough petitions to appear on the November ballot, leaving Consumers for Smart Solar’s proposed amendment all alone in the contentious debate over…

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Consumers for Smart Solar spends nearly $268,000 in March

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The controversial solar-power ballot initiative that will go before Florida voters in November reported on Monday that it had spent nearly $268,000 last month, with much of that going to legal fees as it worked to win approval from the Florida Supreme Court. Two weeks ago, the high court ruled 4-3 that the wording of the initiative that is backed by many of the state’s major utilities met the legal standards to qualify for the statewide ballot this fall. Consumers for Smart Solar,…

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Rick Scott appoints Kevin Reilly, William Spicola to leadership team

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Gov. Rick Scott has two new members on his leadership team. On Tuesday, Scott announced Kevin F. Reilly and William N. Spicola will be joining his senior leadership team. Reilly will be Scott’s legislative affairs director, while Spicola has been appointed Scott’s general counsel. Both men start Wednesday. The announcement is the latest of several staffing changes in the governor’s office. So far this month, Kim McDougal took over as the governor’s chief of staff. She replaces Melissa Sellers, who…

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Jeff Brandes, Lori Berman and Ray Rodrigues launching campaign to get solar power amendment passed

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The three legislators responsible for a statewide initiative on the ballot this August announced on Tuesday that they will be launching a campaign to get the measure passed. “Because we’ve moved to the August primary, we have a really short window in order to really spin up a campaign,” said St. Petersburg state Senator Jeff Brandes, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “We think we’ll be very active right up front, and we’re going to be doing a lot of work in…

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“Smart Solar” amendment narrowly passes Supreme Court review

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The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday barely approved a proposed state constitutional amendment on solar power for the 2016 ballot. In a 4-3 decision, the court OK’d the amendment in question, called “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice.” It’s backed by Consumers For Smart Solar, supported by the state’s biggest private utilities, including Duke Energy Florida, Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power Co., and Tampa Electric Co. Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and Justice R. Fred Lewis joined the court’s conservatives, Justices Charles…

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