The language proposed by the Floridians for Solar Choice ballot initiative was approved yesterday, October 22, 2015, by the Florida Supreme Court. The proposed amendment may now be placed on the ballot for the 2016 election provided that all 683,149 required signatures are collected and verified before February 1, 2016.
“We are thrilled with the high court’s ruling so that voters may have the opportunity to vote on removing a barrier that currently blocks Florida’s families and businesses from greater energy choices through the power of the free market,” said Tory Perfetti, Chairman of Floridians for Solar Choice. “People power is what will get us on the ballot, and we continue to gather thousands of signatures each week from Floridians eager for Solar Choice.”
Floridians for Solar Choice is a coalition of several free market organizations including the Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF). LPF Char-Lez Braden said this morning, “We are really happy to see the court affirm that the people of Florida should have a choice in their electrical power regulation. We will be working to see that this amendment is passed to enable a much-needed competition component to the electrical generation industry and thus providing more options for the individual consumer.”
Current Florida law explicitly denies citizens and businesses the freedom to buy power directly from someone other than a private or public electric utility company. Florida is one of only four states that has such a law on record and if the amendment passes, it will allow companies such as Solar City to enter the Florida market enabling Floridians more control of their energy needs.
The Libertarian Party of Florida takes a “live and let live” approach to public policy. The growing political party believes that, at most, governments should exist only to defend and protect the rights and freedoms of individuals, thus putting the LPF far out in front of any other political party’s commitment to nonviolent political action.
The campaign’s total number of verified signatures continues to grow as more than 151,000 have been confirmed by Florida’s Division of Elections and another 120,000 are signed and awaiting verification. The ballot proposal – designed to expand solar choice by removing barriers that limit solar ownership models – continues to gain wide support as more than 57 businesses, conservative groups, faith communities, clean energy, and environmental organizations now comprise this diverse coalition.
“In this David and Goliath battle, we fully expected that the petition would upset the status-quo and generate opposition from utilities that hold Florida’s energy consumers captive, so we are pleased the court has cleared the way for this initiative to go before the people” said Pamela Goodman, President of League of Women Voters of Florida. “We are encouraged that an issue like solar choice has strong bipartisan support and is bringing people together for the chance to give Floridians a voice and a choice on solar power.”
“Solar energy is a powerhouse economic contributor in many other states, so we are thrilled that Florida may finally have a chance to catch up with the rest of the country,” said Mike Antheil, Executive Director, Florida Solar Energy Industries Association. “The solar industry in Florida is made up of small businesses, just like many other kinds of local contractors. We employ real Floridians and provide for real families. Solar energy is here to stay. Allowing consumers to choose solar power will create local jobs and keep our energy dollars right here in Florida.”
“This is a huge victory for the people and businesses of Florida who want to freely choose the companies that will provide them clean solar power in a cost effective manner,” said Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “The big monopoly utilities, led by Florida Power & Light (FPL), called in political favors from the Attorney General and other minions in an effort to block the free market and they failed. We fully expect more misleading attacks from the big electric utilities and their proxy front groups in their desperate attempt to limit customer choice. In America, we value competition and the freedom of choice. FPL and other electric utilities need to stop limiting our freedom in the Sunshine State.”