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Solar amendment backers raise another $560K, now at over $22M

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The committee backing Amendment 1 took in another $560,000 between Oct. 7 and Oct. 14, all of it from Florida Power & Light. Consumers for Smart Solar has now raised more than $22 million this cycle and had about $1.5 million of that money on hand Oct. 14. FPL has donated about $6.1 million of Consumers’ total fundraising, with another $5.7 million coming from Duke Energy, $3 million from Tampa Electric, and $2.2 million from Gulf Power Company. The utility-backed…

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Consumers for Smart Solar raises $75K in one week

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Consumers for Smart Solar is continuing to spend big on advertising, dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars on direct mail in the last week of September. Records show the group behind the solar power ballot initiative spent $311,085 between Sept. 24 and Sept. 30. That sum includes $208,422 to an Orlando-based firm for a direct mail campaign. Mailers began hitting Floridians’ mailboxes in September, encouraging them to support the solar initiative. The mailers call the proposal “a straightforward plan that encourages solar.”…

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Amendment 4 wins — measure would expand solar power in Florida

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A constitutional amendment intended to expand the use of solar power in Florida has passed. The measure is won statewide by a huge 73 percent to 27 percent margin. The measure needed 60 percent to win. Amendment 4 exempts solar devices and equipment from being subject to the personal tangible property tax. A business that currently has solar panels is now being taxed on the panels or devices in addition to their building. The new amendment will now exempt businesses with solar panels from paying…

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Solar amendment supporters shine, raise $2.8M in 2 days

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The committee backing the solar power amendment on the 2016 ballot raised nearly $2.8 million over two days to start the month after posting no contributions since June. Consumers for Smart Solar has raised more than $18.8 million since it began operations in July 2015, mainly through massive support from the utility industry. As of Aug. 5, the committee has about $3.1 million of that money on hand. Between July 30 and Aug. 5, Smart Solar took in eight contributions,…

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Florida Chamber Foundation looks toward 2030 at education summit

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Creating a talented workforce involves collaboration from educators, business leaders and the local community. That was the message the Florida Chamber Foundation hoped to send Thursday during its annual Learners to Earners Education Summit. The one-day event brings together the business community, workforce professionals and education leaders to brainstorm how they can connect students to future career opportunities. “This is all about the students,” said Tony Carvajal, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber Foundation. “All of you can participate.…

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Gunster takes in $470K in Q2 lobbying fees

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Gunster Yoakley & Stewart’s Tallahassee governmental affairs practice hauled in an estimated $470,000 in consulting fees in the second quarter of 2015, according to recently submitted lobbyist compensation reports. In its first quarter since adding veteran influencer Cameron Yarbrough to =its roster, Gunster managed 38 executive lobbying clients who paid a total of approximately $110,000 along with 33 legislative clients who accounted for $360,000. Washington-based employment services giants TrueBlue, Inc., stood alone as Gunster’s client with the biggest invoice at between $40,000-$49,999 for…

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Gulf Power settles federal lawsuit, agrees to move toxic coal ash from Apalachicola River

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In a landmark settlement on Wednesday, Gulf Power Company agreed to protect North Florida’s Apalachicola River by moving toxic coal ash waste stored at the company’s Scholz Generating Plant. The retired 62-year-old plant, located near Sneads, Fla., still contains hundreds of thousands of tons of coal ash in holding lagoons overlooking the river. According to three environmental groups bringing the federal lawsuit in the Tallahassee U.S. District Court, the waste contains an array of toxic heavy metals like arsenic and…

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