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2007 request for veto or general letters

Our Position:
Bill Number: vetomessages2007
Sponsor:
Legislative Session: 2007

                                                 

  

                                                                                                                                    13 May 2007

Governor Charlie Crist                                                             
The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Dear Governor Crist:

Two seemingly pro-environmental funding requests have insinuated themselves in the 2007-08 State budget.  They are masquerading as Ocklawaha restoration.  Please consider the below arguments for removing proviso language from Line Items
                1928A,  St. Johns River Trailhead Park Putnam County, $100,000;                               
                1859, Upper Ocklawaha River Hurricane Debris Removal, $100,000.

The Trailhead Park item led legislators to believe it is for hikers and bicyclists.  However, the Buckman Visitors Center already serves as a trailhead for bicyclists and hikers. This project calls for facilities for 200 vehicles, a four-lane staging area leading and a four-lane boat ramp!   Adjacent lands are an excellent area for birdwatching and nature study, and busloads of school children fill what fishing tournament promoters call an unused field throughout the year.  The usual apparatus associated with fishing tournaments --  loudspeakers, lights, hundreds of fast powerboats taking off at dawn --  will severely impact manatees. There will be no respite for this harmless, charismatic species.  Moreover, the Buckman Lock area is an important wildlife corridor and is home for Sherman fox squirrels, black bears and gopher tortoises. 

Hurricane Debris Removal is a malevolent misnomer -- the so-called hurricane debris is what's left of the drowned Ocklawaha floodplain forest. This item is a ploy to widen the Rodman pool, an aquatic hothouse for exotic invasives and other weeds.  It is a hidden request for funds to channelize the river, and so degrade important fish and aquatic species habitat.  Like the Trailhead Park item, it uses public money for special interests to dismember what's left of Old Florida.

Please kill these two items. To venture a bit further, please use your sound environmental instincts to spearhead the removal of the Rodman Dam and to restore the Ocklawaha River so that native fish and wildlife can reclaim their former habitat, and Floridians can enjoy a recovered natural area.

Respectfully yours,
Ben Fusaro, Chair
Native Wildlife Habitat Committee
Florida Chapter, Sierra Club
 
CC:  Betsy Roberts, Chapter Chair; John Glenn, Chapter Conservation Chair;  John Hedrick, Chair, Florida's Wild Legacy; Susie Caplowe, Chapter Lobbyist.  (Copies via e-mail)

 

__________________________

 May 19, 2007

 

Governor Charlie Crist

Office of the Governor

The Capitol

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001

 

Dear Governor Crist,

 

       The following organizations appreciate your support and commitment to securing funding for paper ballot voting machines for all Florida voters, especially those in the fifteen counties where the touchscreen machines currently exist. We understand you intend to sign House Bill 537 into law next week, but we have some concerns about other provisions in the bill that we would like to share with you.

 

     The citizens of Florida deserve to have their vote counted when they show up to vote on election day and they also deserve the right amend our constitution through the citizen initiative process without the additional hurdles and barriers contained in  HB537. We agree with your original goal to replace touchscreen voting machines with paper ballot optical scan machines, however HB537 goes much further than that. The legislation before you makes numerous changes to election laws that were added on at the last minute and should have been more fully debated. In fact, we would urge you to convene a blue ribbon panel to review Florida’s elections laws and its enforcement mechanisms. The panel would review the new laws adopted this year and recommend changes to be considered by the legislature.

 

     Here are a number of concerns that we have with the new legislation:

 

*Section 48 of the bill would limit the number of investigations that could be undertaken by the Elections Commission; (See Miami Herald, 5.15.2007, “Elections panel leader oppose part of Voting bill.”) Requiring that you have to have personal knowledge of an election law violation before you can file a complaint with the Elections Commission will mean many possible violation will go uninvestigated. This provision will make our election laws much harder to enforce.

 

*Sections 1-2 of the bill stifles voter registration efforts by grassroots organizations and strips key voter protections. The language addressing third party voter registration efforts will impact an ongoing court case in which similar restrictions that were passed in 2005 have been enjoined from being enforced. While the new language reduces the penalties that can be imposed on third party groups doing voter registration, it is still too restrictive and will likely mean that some well intentioned grassroots organizations will cease their voter registration efforts for fear of being penalized.

 

*Section 25 imposes new  restrictions against citizen initiative petition drives and includes an onerous and expensive new process for gathering petition revocations.  Under this new process, citizens who had signed a petition  would be singled out and lobbied to subsequently “Revoke” the original petition signature.  This new revocation process will create a cottage industry of companies who specialize in collecting petition revocations and could result in citizens being harassed to sign revocation forms in their own homes. It will also create a burdensome new workload for our county Supervisors of Elections.

 

This 77 page bill became a legislative train for various other pieces of legislation, most of which were never discussed and had not been filed as separate bills. The final bill looks very little like the original HB 537 which passed the House floor on March 21 by a vote of 115-1. The bill now makes changes in  52 Florida Statutes, ranging across 13 different chapters of Florida law. We respectfully argue this is not a good way to write election law in Florida. And while we do support the change to paper ballots which was fully debated and discussed in committee, we believe the other changes included in this bill deserve to be reviewed by a blue ribbon panel that will take a more comprehensive and thorough approach.     

 

Thank you for your leadership and your consideration of these basic public policy issues.

 

 

 

 

Florida Chapter Sierra Club, Governmental Affairs, Susie Caplowe, 850-567-2448

 

Florida Consumer Action Network, Volunteer Legislative Chair, Dan Hendrickson, 850-570-1967

 

Common Cause Florida, Executive Director, Ben Wilcox, 850- 544-4448

 

Florida PIRG, Brad Ashwell, 850-224-3321

 

Florida ACORN, Laura Goodhue, Policy Director, 561-512-7579

 

 _________________________________

 

Press Release

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Rich Templin, Florida AFL-CIO – (850) 566-4348

Dianne Wheatley Giliotti, League of Women Voters – (727) 734-2968

Ben Wilcox, Common Cause – (850) 544-4448

Laura Goodhue, Florida ACORN – (561) 512-7579

Brad Ashwell, Florida PIRG – (850) 294-1008

 

Grass Roots Coalition Launches Campaign to Encourage “The People’s Governor” to Protect Floridians’ Right to Amend their Constitution with a Veto of Legislation Designed to Stifle Ballot Initiatives

A letter signed by 25 organizations representing approximately 2 million voters urging a veto of SB 900 was sent to the Governor’s office today, kicking off what the groups promise to be a major grassroots campaign. 

 

A broad coalition of environmental groups, consumer advocates, government watchdogs, community advocates and labor unions announced today a public campaign to encourage Governor Charlie Crist to veto legislation that would greatly weaken, if not eliminate the citizen’s ballot initiative.  The diverse group which includes the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, the Florida Public Interest Research Group,  Florida Chapter Sierra Club, Florida Consumer Action Network, ACORN, the Florida AFL-CIO and many others sent a letter to Governor Charlie Crist urging his veto of SB 900.  This bill, passed in the final hours of the legislative session, would make it virtually impossible for citizen groups to collect petitions to place proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot - effectively eliminating the right of Floridians to amend their Constitution.

 

The groups have also promised to mobilize their individual memberships, collectively in the millions, to encourage the Governor to veto this anti-democratic legislation.     

 

Florida’s Constitution is already the most difficult to amend among the states with a ballot initiative, thanks to the 60% supermajority required for amendment passage, the mandatory supreme court review of ballot language, one of the highest numbers of signatures required for ballot placement and a requirement that signatures be gathered from all of Florida’s congressional districts.  SB 900 would make that process even more difficult, if not impossible, by placing new restrictions on the signature gathering process itself. 

 

The legislation would place a strict new 30-day deadline for volunteers to turn in signed petition forms.  Numerous volunteer organizations like the League of Women Voters and the American Cancer Society testified during legislative committee meetings that this short time frame would make any future petition gathering efforts exceedingly difficult and would probably force them out of the process altogether.  Furthermore, any signed petition that is turned in after 30 days from the date signed would be invalid, and there is no requirement that local elections officials notify voters that their petitions were thrown out.  Since voters can only legally sign a petition once, thousands of voters could be disenfranchised from the process through no fault of their own. 

 

SB 900 also creates a new signature revocation process.  Through this process, well funded special interest groups would have 120 days after a signature is verified and entered into the system to follow up with the voter and encourage them to revoke their signature.  Lists of the voters who signed a petition and their contact information is public record, so a new industry of paid firms can then gather this information and  harass voters in their homes to gain widespread revocations in an effort to derail ballot campaigns.   

 

Eliminating the citizen’s ballot initiative has long been a priority for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Retail Federation and other big business groups since the passage of the Class Size Amendment and the State Minimum Wage, two amendments they vigorously opposed but were unable to stop at the ballot box.  This bill represents the final piece of a multi-stage strategy to end the initiative process without ever directly asking the voters whether or not they want to give up their right to amend the Constitution. 

 

Governor Crist has publicly stated that he supports the ballot initiative process and that he would be opposed to any attempts to weaken it.  The groups participating in this public campaign are hoping that a strong show of public opposition to the bill will encourage the Governor to follow through on that pledge and veto SB 900.   

 

A Copy of the letter to Governor Crist is attached

 

 

###

 

23 May 2007

 

Governor Charlie Crist

Office of the Governor

The Capitol

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001

Via Fax: 850-487-0801 and Email: Charlie.Crist@myflorida.com

 

Dear Governor Crist,

 

We the undersigned write to you today as the People’s Governor and ask you to exercise your veto power on behalf of the People of the State of Florida by vetoing SB 900 a bill that most likely would do away with grassroots-driven citizen constitutional amendments.

 

SB 900 would have an enormously chilling effect on the constitutional amendment process by:

  • Requiring that signed petitions be turned into the supervisors’ offices within 30 days of signing or they will be invalid.
  • Creating a revocation process that allows signatures to be revoked within 120 days of the petition signature being verified.

 

SB 900 in all likelihood would:

  • Relinquish all constitutional amendment campaigns to paid signature gatherers.
  • Preclude any volunteer-driven constitutional amendment campaigns.
  • Astronomically increase the amount of money required to get an issue on the ballot.
  • Make it impossible to determine if the required number of signatures has been collected by the deadline.
  • Create a “cottage industry” of harassment against those who sign petitions.  Once a petition signature has been verified it becomes public record.  Big money interests could set up “revocation campaigns” and then obtain information on those who have signed petitions and then spend 4 months calling, sending them mailings and even approaching them at their homes to convince them to revoke their signature.

 

The power of the veto is an important check and balance between the branches of government.  It should not be exercised lightly but in times where the obvious limitations of one branch have precluded the goodwill of the people.  This bill is a prime example of how those with money, power and influence overshadow the voices of the citizens.  There is no public interest in imposing the limitations contained in this bill.

 

Further, we believe provisions of the bill relating to the initiative may be unconstitutional and are in conflict with existing law and another bill passed this session.  A number of constitutional scholars and election law attorneys have indicated that they believe both the 30-day timeline for turning in petition signatures and the creation of the revocation process violate Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. This section provides that "[t]he power to propose the revision or amendment of any portion or portions of this constitution by initiative is reserved to the people, provided that, any such revision or amendment, except for those limiting the power of government to raise revenue, shall embrace but one subject and matter directly connected therewith. It may be invoked by filing with the custodian of state records a petition containing a copy of the proposed revision or amendment, signed by a number of electors in each of one half of the congressional districts of the state, and of the state as a whole, equal to eight percent of the votes cast in each of such districts respectively and in the state as a whole in the last preceding election in which presidential electors were chosen." (Emphasis added.)  Therefore, the right for citizens of the State of Florida to engage in the constitutional amendment process through petition is a constitutionally granted and protected right.  Courts have upheld provisions regulating constitutional rights only if the degree of regulation does not impede on the right to the level that the right is still generally accessible and where the regulation is necessary to further the purpose of the constitutional right.  The 30-day timeline to turn in signatures fails on both accounts.  Further, one might note that the constitution is devoid of any authority allowing for this new revocation process outlined in SB 900.  To argue that the right to petition as stated above allows for such a process would also clearly violate the general test set forth above. 

 

SB 900's 30-day requirement may also very well run afoul of the U.S. Constitution.  Both the Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit have recognized that state laws which unduly burden individuals participating in the initiative petitioning process violate the First Amendment.  See Buckley v. Am. Constitutional Law Found., 525 U.S. 182 (1999);  Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414 (1988); Delgado v. Smith, 861 F.2d 1489, 1494 (11th Cir. 1988).  When state laws “discourage participation in the petition circulation process,” making it less likely that individuals will participate in the process, the speech and association engaged in during the petitioning process are reduced.  See Buckley, 525 U.S. at 200.  That reduction violates the First Amendment if not supported by a sufficient state interest.  The 30-day requirement has the potential to seriously burden groups' petitioning efforts and to therefore reduce accompanying speech and association. Meyer, 486 U.S. at 423. 

 

Additionally, currently in Florida Statutes, a penalty exists for a person who signs a petition form more than once. Section 104.185(1) of Florida Statutes provides that, “[a] person who knowingly signs a petition or petitions for a candidate, a minor political party, or an issue more than one time commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.” By creating a revocation process, SB 900 flies in the face of Floridians’ Constitutional right to engage in the petition process. In Smith v. Coalition to Reduce Class Size, 827 So.2d 959 (Fla. 2002), the Supreme Court of Florida stated that, “we must be careful that the legislative statute or implementing rule is necessary for ballot integrity since any restriction on the initiative process would strengthen the authority and power of the legislature and weaken the power of the initiative process…and any legislative act regulating the process should be allowed only when necessary to ensure ballot integrity.” (Emphasis added)

Furthermore, with SB 900 any signed petition that is turned in after 30 days from the date signed would be invalid, and there is no requirement that local elections officials notify voters that their petitions were thrown out.  Since voters can only legally sign a petition once, thousands of voters could be disenfranchised from the process through no fault of their own.  Voters who do become aware that their signature was thrown out and choose therefore to sign the petition a second time in an effort to make their signature count would still be committing a crime, since the penalty in section 104.185(1) does not tie the penalty to the validity of the signature.

 

 

Lastly, another bill passed during the 2007 Legislative Session also conflicts with SB 900.  HB 537, the Elections Bill that includes the voter-verifiable paper ballot priority of yours, contains a section that also creates a petition revocation process.  The section is slightly different from the revocation section in SB 900, in that HB 537 does not put a timeline on turning in petitions and its revocation process is open for 150 days from when the petition is signed, not verified.  It would not be possible to apply both bills’ revocation sections.  While we understand that since SB 900 passed after HB 537 that technically SB 900 would apply, we encourage you to recognize the clear confusion demonstrated by the Legislature in passing within a day of each other – two conflicting pieces of Legislation.

 

Based on all the above reasons, we respectfully request that you veto SB 900 and sound the voice of the people and preserve the citizen constitutional amendment process.

 

Sincerely,

 


American Cancer Society, Florida Division

Paul Hull

Vice President, Advocacy and Public Policy

Animal Rights Foundation of Florida

Heather Veleanu

Managing Director

 

Central Florida AFL-CIO

Debbie Booth

President

 

CIVIC Concern

Pamela Burch Fort

Executive Director

 

Clean Water Action

Kathleen E. Aterno

Florida Director

 

Common Cause Florida

Ben Wilcox

Executive Director

 

Consumer Federation of the Southeast

Walter Dartland

Director

 

Environment Florida

Mark Ferrulo

Executive Director

 

Florida ACORN

Delores Turner

State Board Chair

 

Florida AFL-CIO

Cindy Hall

President

 

Florida Chapter Sierra Club

Susie Caplowe

Governmental Affairs

 

Florida Consumer Action Network

Dan Hendrickson

Legislative Chair

 

Florida PIRG

Brad Ashwell

Legislative Advocate

 

Human Services Coalition

Daniella Levine
Executive Director

 

The Humane Society of the United States
Michael Markarian
Executive Vice President, External Affairs

League of Women Voters of Florida

Dianne Wheatley Giliotti

President


North Florida Central Labor Council

Andy Bell

President

 

Palm Beach-Treasure Coast AFL-CIO

Pat Emmert
President


People for the
American Way Foundation

Reggie Mitchell

Florida Legal Counsel

Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE)

Kindra Muntz

President

 

South Florida AFL-CIO

Fred Frost

President

 

Space Coast AFL-CIO

 

West Central Florida Federation of Labor

 

WildLaw

Jeanne Zokovitch

Staff Attorney

 

50+1

Damien Filer

Founder


 _______________________

 

News Release
From:  Florida Chapter Sierra Club
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                             FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
MAY 21, 2007                                                      Betsy Roberts 941-922-9518
                                                                              John Glenn 904-261-9468
 
SIERRA CLUB URGES GOVERNOR CRIST TO VETO THREE HARMFUL TRANSPORTATION AND GROWTH MANAGEMENT BILLS
     The Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club called on Governor Crist today to veto three harmful transportation and growth management measures, S1134, H985 and H7203.
 
     "Should all of these bills become law, the cumulative result will be accellerated sprawl growth which Floridians are increasingly saying they do not want," said Betsy Roberts, Chair of the Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club.
 
 In a letter to Governor Crist today signed by Roberts and Conservation Chair John Glenn, the Florida Chapter warned that "these bills would hobble Florida's growth management efforts and create more costs for taxpayers... we would see transportation and roadway planning setting the direction for future growth and development patterns in the state, rather than the citizenry determining these themselves, as part of the local and regional planning processes."
 
S1134 and H985 both contain within them an increase in bonding authority for turnpike projects without assurance that the money would be wisely spent. H985 would also free the Florida Turnpike Enterprise of fiscal accountability or planning concerns. For example, eliminating the short-term payback requirements would allow toll roads to be built solely to encourage development in rural areas. And H7203 would allow communities to change their growth plans without effective state oversight, weakens concurrency requirements, weakens DRI's, and makes small scale comprehensive plan amendment requirements even less restrictive than they already are. "Oversight of local growth plans by the state Department of Community Affairs has proved invaluable in pressuring communities to follow the goals of their comprehensive plans.  Smart planning saves tax dollars." said Roberts.
 
  “The net effects of the bills will be more sprawl, traffic congestion, air pollution, wasted energy and other undesirable effects,” Glenn said.  He added that these bills will undermine growth management, wildlife and habitat protection, and environmental preservation.
 
The Chapter stated to Governor Crist,"Your vetoes of these bills would put the needs of Florida's citizens ahead of the dreams of land speculators and developers." and also made note of the "growing trend in Florida, that of the citizens demanding a larger role in controlling growth, such as by signing the Florida Hometown Democracy (FHD) constitutional amendment petition, or enacting their own community growth referenda by amending their local charters."  FHD now has over 360,000 signatures submitted for verification.
 
                                                            -30-
The Honorable Governor Charlie Crist
The Capitol
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001
 
May 21, 2007
 
Dear Governor Crist:
 
The Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club urges your veto of the following bills: S1134, H985 and H7203.
 
All of these bills would hobble Florida's growth management efforts and create more costs for taxpayers. If these bills pass, we would see transportation and roadway planning setting the direction for future growth and development patterns in the state, rather than the citizenry determining these themselves, as part of the local and regional planning processes.
 
Building new highways has high impacts, and should be done with careful oversight and planning to ensure they are truly needed and that all impacts are considered and addressed.  However, S1134 and H985 both contain within them an increase in bonding authority for turnpike projects from $4.5 billion to $9 billion, without assurance that the money would be wisely spent.    

This increase in spending authority is likely to spawn an unprecedented wave of road building, causing more sprawl, traffic congestion, air pollution, wasted energy and other undesirable effects such as undermining growth management, wildlife and habitat protection, and environmental preservation.   Giving more power to non-elected authorities also undermines the role of the citizens in transportation planning.
 
H985 would free the Florida Turnpike Enterprise of fiscal accountability or planning concerns.  Increasing the bonding capacity, while eliminating fiscal accountability, is not in the best interests or our state.  This proposal would also eliminate the requirement that a toll road be able to repay half its bond debt within 12 years. It would extend the deadline for repaying all of its debt from 22 years to 30 years.
 
Eliminating the short-term payback requirement would allow toll roads to be built solely to encourage development in rural areas. For example, the proposed Heartland Turnpike in Central Florida was analyzed in February under the existing financial feasibility requirements, and most of the routes did NOT meet the existing financial tests.  If a road is not going to generate a reasonable return within a dozen or so years, then there is obviously no demand for it.  And the state's focus should be on meeting the transportation needs of its population centers, not promoting expensive and hard-to-serve sprawling
subdivisions.
 
Your vetoes of these bills would put the needs of Florida's citizens ahead of the dreams of land speculators and developers.

Finally, we ask you to veto H7203, which would allow communities to change their growth plans without effective state oversight. Pinellas and Broward counties and the cities of Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, Hialeah and Tallahassee would receive the exemption, purportedly because they are densely populated and do not require the attention that less developed areas need.  However, oversight of local growth plans by the state Department of Community Affairs has proved invaluable in pressuring communities to follow the goals of their comprehensive plans.  Smart planning saves tax dollars.
 
HB 7203 also weakens concurrency requirements, weakens DRI's, and makes small scale comprehensive plan amendment requirements even less restrictive than they already are. 
 
We also find these bills to be counter to a growing trend in Florida, that of the citizens demanding a larger role in controlling growth, such as by signing the Florida Hometown Democracy (FHD) constitutional amendment petition, or enacting their own community growth referenda by amending their local charters.
 
Please veto all of these anti-growth management bills.  We are glad to see that a number of major daily newspapers, such as the Tampa Tribune, Lakeland Ledger and Tallahassee Democrat agree they are not the right way to go for a better Florida.  
 
Thank you in advance for your favorable consideration of these matters.
 
Sincerely,
 
Betsy Roberts, Chair
 
 
John Glenn, Conservation Chair
 
 

---------------------

 

The Honorable Governor Charlie Crist

The Capitol

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001

 

June 27, 2007

 

Dear Governor Crist:

 

The Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club urges you to follow up your excellent veto of S900 by vetoing a companion bill designed to do similar things, S1920. We understand the League of Women Voters of Florida, Common Cause of Florida, and Panhandle Citizens Coalition are also urging you to veto this measure as well.

 

Court cases have upheld Floridians' rights to engage in political activity inside shopping malls (and by analogy outside of stand alone mega-stores, strip malls and other business locations). In today's environment of gated communities and suburbs, these shopping centers are hubs of social interaction. Citizens should be free to engage in their first amendment rights where people gather and socialize. There was a court decision in Panama City (Wood v. State, 00000644MMMA, decision May 7, 2003) that determined that, while these areas are privately held, they are considered to be public areas by nature.

 

This bill would make it harder for citizens to engage in direct democracy through petition initiatives by allowing commercial property owners to pick and choose which activities may take place on their property which, in our view, unconstitutionally bans citizen's first amendment rights.

 

Please exercise your veto in the public's interest one more time on S1920 and trustfully this will put an end to attempting to restrict the citizen's initiative process.
 

Thank you in advance for your favorable consideration of this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Betsy Roberts, Florida Chapter Sierra Club Chair

Dan Hendrickson, Florida Chapter Legal Chair 

John Glenn, Florida Chapter Conservation Chair

John Hedrick, Florida Chapter Growth Management Issue Chair

Susie Caplowe, Florida Chapter Sierra Club,  Legislative Affairs

 -----------------------------

 

 

The Honorable Governor Charlie Crist

The Capitol

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001

 

June 21,  2007

 

Dear Governor Crist,

 

The Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club supports your decision to veto HB7123 and really like your message in the letter. Among the many issues/reasons to choose from, here are just a few reasons why:

 

1. The public notice requirement that you as Governor-Elect, specifically called for in the letter to DEP back on December 19th,  2006 was offered as an amendment to the legislation and later withdrawn because of objections.

 

2. The Energy Efficient Tax Week Exemption for consumers was deleted from the bill thus eliminating some of the more attractive consumer and environmentally friendly public policies. Even the incentive for people to purchase energy efficient hybrid cars was eliminated.

 

3. The three proposed studies by the Public Service Commission to make recommendations on 1) an energy efficiency and solar initiative, 2) appropriate renewable portfolio standard for the state, and 3) loans for cellulosic ethanol production were all three required to be reported back only to the Senate President and House Speaker, bypassing the Governor’s Office and Executive Branch.  This mistake typifies the delays inherent in this conglomerate legislative effort.

 

4. The Climate Change Action Task Force had no meaningful targets or goals for the members to reach and thus more time would have been spent figuring out what they were supposed to do while the allotted time would have slipped away.

 

5. There are no meaningful target numbers, dates, goals or timelines established in the bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide.

 

6. The legislation provided promotion of bio-fuels with tax credits and tax exemptions and thus stepped in front of conservation and energy efficient alternatives, as well as solar, fuel cells, and combined heat power technologies. We are confident that your office will be able to expedite efforts to publicize and incentivize these preferred technologies to immediately begin controls on the state’s non-efficient uses of energy and domestic, commercial, industrial, and public sector construction, consumption, and active conservation.

 

We understand that the funding for several provisions, including incentives for solar energy and building green schools, remains in the budget and can continue without this scrambled legislation. This legislation was not the way to create a comprehensive and co-ordinated energy policy to direct the state in the coming critical months and years.

 

Thank you for your continued leadership.

 

Joy Towles Ezell, Florida Chapter Energy Chair, (850) -  843-1574,  Perry, FL

 

Susie Caplowe, Florida Chapter Lobbyist, (850) 567-2448, Tallahassee, FL

 

Dan Hendrickson,  Florida Chapter Energy Committee, (850) 570-1967, Tallahassee, FL

 

 

 

 

Status

1. The Governor vetoed budget line items impacting the Ocklawaha River as our letter requested.

2.  Governor signed HB537, HB549, SB7203 and HB985: we requested veto

5. Governor vetoed HB7123, HB981

Other Bills

     
     

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