As a proposal (SB 1024) moves through the Florida Legislature that would allow investor-owned utilities to pay less for electricity generated by residential rooftop solar, critics of the legislation and of investor-owned utilities have ignored the fact that many Florida municipal-managed electric utilities are already paying residential customers less for solar generated electricity.
Under current law, solar panel owners who have excess energy generated can sell it back to investor-owned utilities at the retail rate the utilities charge other customers. However, the proposal sponsored by Fleming Island Republican Sen. Jennifer Bradley, would allow investor-owned utilities to pay a cheaper price for roof-top solar generated electricity.
The bill’s supporters claim solar customers are being subsidized by other utility customers because they rely on the underlying electric grid — and its lines, maintenance and other infrastructure costs — when the panels don’t generate enough electricity.
The issue has become partisan as Democrats attack the bill and investor-owned utilities, who are frequent campaign donors to Republican candidates.
U.S. Representative and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist said the anti-solar legislation is just another example of how utilities rig the system against the people of Florida in favor of corporations, and “Tallahassee is marching on.” He said as governor would fight utility companies to prevent them from getting unfair rate increases and make it easier to install solar power for homeowners.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings is threatening reprimands for unvaccinated workers. Demings said he has not wanted to fire anyone over vaccination status saying the county is a “caring” employer.
“It was never my intention to terminate anyone from our employment,” Demings said. “We’re a compassionate and caring employer, but we also must balance that with protecting our employees and the public.”
Judge Monica Brasington of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court has issued a temporary injunction against the City of Gainesville’s COVID vaccine mandate. The decision indicates a slight, early victory for employees who are seeking to not receive the vaccine.
Brasington said in her ruling that the city did not provide ample evidence showing a vaccine mandate serves “a compelling interest through the least restrictive means.” She also said the city bears the burden of proof to determine that the mandate is in the best interest of the public.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has offered her support for the plaintiffs suing the City of Gainesville over its vaccine mandate policy.
Moody filed an amicus brief in the 8th Circuit Court saying the vaccine mandate does not hold constitutional muster as well as acting as a deterrent for recruiting new members to Florida’s law enforcement agencies.
Gainesville city officials are challenging a future state law, SB 2006, that prohibits local governments, schools, and businesses from requiring individuals to show proof of the COVID-19 vaccination to receive services or allowed entry.
For Gainesville city employees, the city has issued voluntary proof of vaccination, or vaccine passports, so that individuals who show proof can abide by looser CDC guidelines which involve not wearing a mask nor socially distancing for people who are fully vaccinated.
The guaranteed income movement – which advocates for providing cash to low-income families with no restrictions on how they can spend it – is coming to Florida.
This year the Gainesville City Commission voted to implement a guaranteed income pilot program slated to begin in October. Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe has been part of a national initiative, “Mayors for a Guaranteed Income,” to supply monthly, direct cash payments to people who are struggling. The Gainesville pilot program would begin by giving cash to people with criminal records and who are looking to rehabilitate their lives.
The annual SEC East rivalry game between Tennessee and Florida won’t need to change its location after all. SEC officials have reportedly decided to keep Saturday’s game from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, despite the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in the local area, according to Volquest.com. BREAKING: Tennessee to…