Net Metering Politics: Many Florida Municipal Electric Utilities Pay Less for Customer-Generated Solar Electricity

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.

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City of Tallahassee Backs Abortion Resolution, Critical of ‘Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers’

An abortion resolution is on the October 28th Tallahassee City Commission agenda after being pulled from the agenda of a previous meeting. The resolution supports abortion rights and is critical of abortion restrictions and pregnancy centers.

The text of the resolution is provided below.

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FBI Tapes in Federal Corruption Trial Casts Florida Political Players in Unflattering Light

This week’s witnesses in the federal corruption trial of J.T. Burnette, a Tallahassee businessman standing trial for federal extortion and racketeering, described the “dirty politics of getting things done” in Tallahassee.

The testimony exposed some of the true “power behind the throne” like that wielded by Burnette and his wife, Kim Rivers, CEO of the mega medical marijuana company, Trulieve, and by a former “rising star” in Florida Democratic politics, Scott Maddox.

Burnette is facing federal charges of racketeering, and extortion stemming from a multi-year FBI investigation into political corruption in Tallahassee. Government prosecutors are trying to prove Burnette arranged bribes for Maddox, through Governance Services, LLC, a lobbying firm owned by Maddox’s close friend and business partner Paige Carter-Smith.

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Florida Man Guilty in Inauguration Day Plot

Florida Senate Capitol

A Florida man, Daniel Baker of Tallahassee, was found guilty of making threats and inciting violence at the Florida Capitol. Baker was arrested in January after posting a “call to arms” on social media, encouraging followers to violently confront protestors outside of the Florida Capitol on Inauguration Day.

Baker argued his threats were not real and were “jokes,” but the 12-member jury found him guilty in just over one day of deliberation.

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Police Protection Under Marsy’s Law Heads to Florida Supreme Court

Florida Supreme Court Building

A lawsuit filed by two police officers after separate use-of-force incidents claiming that they are entitled to protection under Florida’s recently-adopted Marsy’s Law Constitutional amendment will head to the state Supreme Court for a decision. 

“A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal last month sided with two Tallahassee police officers, who argued that, as victims, they were entitled to privacy protections included in Marsy’s Law,” WFSU reported. 

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Two Florida Cities Consider Guaranteed Income Policies

Lauren Poe

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.

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‘Probable Cause’ Found That Andrew Gillum Violated State Ethics Laws

by Molly Prince   The Florida Ethics Commission found probable cause Friday that defeated Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum violated state ethics laws. Tallahassee businessman Erwin Jackson filed complaints against Gillum, who was the mayor of Tallahassee from 2014 until November 2018. The commission found probable cause on five…

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Report: Andrew Gillum Used Official Government Account to Fund Campaigning

by Molly Prince   Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum used his official expense account from the Tallahassee mayor’s office to pay for a trip to meet with donors for his gubernatorial campaign, according to a report released by Politico. Gillum visited with high-profile Democratic politicians, strategists and donors during a trip in…

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Report: Andrew Gillum Used Official Government Account to Fund Campaigning

by Molly Prince   Florida Democrat Andrew Gillum used his official expense account from the Tallahassee mayor’s office to pay for a trip to meet with donors for his gubernatorial campaign, according to a report released by Politico. Gillum visited with high-profile Democratic politicians, strategists and donors during a trip in…

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Trump Calls Andrew Gillum A Thief

by Chuck Ross   President Donald Trump called Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum a thief Monday, an apparent nod at a corruption investigation that threatens to embroil the Tallahassee mayor. “In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and…

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All Talk and No Action: Democrats Dream of Statewide Seats with Nothing to Show For It

Phil Bredesen, Karl Dean

On Thursday’s Gill Report – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 1510 WLAC weekdays at 7:30 am – Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill talked about Florida’s governor’s race and the trending phenomenon of Democrat leaders and the denial of their failing cities.  He was curious as to why voters would…

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