The Florida League of Cities isn’t playing around with what it views as potentially crippling proposal that could make it to the ballot on the 2020 election. The proposal, knows as the Energy Choice Amendment, seeks to deregulate Florida’s energy utilities, which would lead to widespread and dramatic changes to household energy bills across the state.
Backers of the proposal are still trying to gather the required number of signatures to qualify the issue for the November 2020 ballot. If they succeed, the measure would pass if it garners at least 60 percent support.
But this weekend, the Florida League of Cities passed a resolution officially declaring the proposal “deceptive and misleading,” urging citizens around the state not to sign the petition. The resolution was in addition to filing an opposition brief with the Florida Supreme Court.
The resolution passed this weekend specifically cited “vague and misleading language” in the proposal that is currently under review by the Florida Supreme Court, and accused petition backers of failing to inform voters of the true impact of the proposal.
An analysis by the League of Cities concluded the proposal would strip local governments of their ability to determine who provides electric utility service within their jurisdictions, while also abolishing agreements for power generation that could result in the loss of over $700 million in local government annual revenue.
Those revenues are typically used by local governments to pay for programs relating to law enforcement and street maintenance to schools and educational programs for children and families.
This isn’t the first sign of trouble for the Energy Choice Initiative, though. In June, the group was slapped with allegations of breach of contract with a petition gathering company. Meanwhile, across the state, opposition from Republican and Democrat groups has mounted, while Attorney General Ashley Moody accused the proposal of violating Florida’s state constitution and filed a challenge with the Florida Supreme Court.
If the proposal passes, it would deregulate Florida’s energy markets and force consumers to choose their own energy providers. While supporters claim this would introduce competition and could lower energy bills, similar measures in other states, including Texas, actually resulted in a spike in both household energy costs and consumer complaints. Many states that initially adopted deregulation schemes have since rolled back the measures.