Amendment One Debate Powers Up

Chances are you are beginning to receive messages about Amendment 1.

The first constitutional amendment on the ballot this November in Florida deals with energy policy and solar power in particular. However, like most proposed amendments, the wording can be tricky.

“Something like this should not be enshrined in our Constitution,” said Gary Farmer, a Fort Lauderdale attorney and candidate for the Florida Senate. “Energy is such a fluid policy. It is always changing. The Constitution is not the proper document for energy or power. Once it’s in the Constitution it's virtually impossible to change.”

Farmer spoke with SFGN via telephone Tuesday evening about why he is advising citizens to vote no on Amendment 1.

“The amendment itself is incredibly misleading,” Farmer said.

Proponents of Amendment 1 include utility companies such as Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, Gulf Power and Tampa Electric. In a mailer from a Tallahassee group calling itself Consumers For Smart Solar, advocates claim Amendment 1 “encourages the use of clean, renewable solar energy” and “protects consumers, particularly our seniors, from scams and rip-offs that have happened in other states.”

Currently, Florida is one of a handful of states that prohibits consumers from buying power directly from third-party solar providers. Farmer said the amendment is a last gasp effort on the part of big energy and the Koch brothers to squash a competitive marketplace.

“The power companies know they can’t hold off the will of the people much longer,” said Farmer.

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