Mayors, commissioners, other leaders release letter
in opposition to bills restricting local energy decisions
Voicing their opposition to bills that would preempt local energy decisions, more than two dozen local elected officials today released a letter to Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls detailing how such legislation could have negative consequences for communities across Florida. The letter was released shortly before HB 919 was heard and passed in the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Josie Tomkow, along with its counterpart SB 1128 sponsored by Sen. Travis Hutson, would restrict the options and opportunities available to local residents while also prohibiting Florida’s communities from deciding how their neighborhoods and businesses are powered.
“This legislation handcuffs local communities by eliminating our ability to pursue policies that help protect our residents and businesses from rising utility costs,” said City of Largo Vice Mayor Jamie Robinson. “Each community has its own needs for energy and other concerns, and that’s where decisions for the future should be made. Instead of creating clarity, these bills create confusion – and that’s bad for every Floridian.”
HB 919/SB 1128 would impact the ability of local governments to incentivize carbon neutral policies by residents and businesses to get to a zero carbon goal.
“These energy preemption bills would stifle the voice of communities across the state and create a flood of unintended consequences,” said Dunedin Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski. “If local residents become unhappy with energy policies, they’ll be calling local officials to complain, but our hands will be tied. This legislation does nothing to improve the situations but, by stripping away our authority, will anger citizens who rightly expect their local officials to be able to help.”
To view the released letter, please click here.
Elected local officials who signed onto the letter are:
City of Oldsmar Council Member Dan Saracki
City of Largo Vice Mayor Jamie Robinson
City of Treasure Island Mayor Tyler Payne
City of Seminole Council Member Trish Springer
City of Clearwater Council Member Kathleen Beckman
City of Coconut Creek Commissioner Sandra Welch
City of Dunedin Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski
City of Dunedin Vice Mayor Jeff Gow
City of Dunedin Commissioner John Tornga
City of Dunedin Commissioner Maureen Freaney
City of Dunedin Commissioner Deborah Kynes
City of Holmes Beach Vice Mayor Jim Kihm
City of Holmes Beach Commissioner Jayne Christenson
City of Lauderhill Commissioner Melissa P. Dunn
City of Pembroke Pines Commissioner Angelo Castillo
City of Pensacola Council Member Ann Hill
City of Plantation Council Member Nick Sortal
City of Sarasota Commissioner Liz Alpert, Esq.
City of Sarasota Commissioner Jennifer Ahearn-Koch
City of St Petersburg Council Member Darden Rice
City of Tallahassee Commissioner Jack Porter
City of Tallahassee Commissioner Curtis Richardson
City of Tampa Council Chair Guido Maniscalco
City of Venice Council Member Mitzie Feidler
City of Venice Council Member Brian Kelly
Broward County Commissioner Beam Furr
Manatee County Commissioner George W Kruse