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Last Call for 2.27.19 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day’s politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Tesla, the “electric cars, solar panels and clean energy storage” company, got a big win in Florida from state utility regulators on Wednesday.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a final order that Tesla’s leasing of solar electric equipment to residences — known as its SolarLease program — “will not be deemed … a sale of electricity.”

The commission also said Tesla’s “offering to lease solar electric equipment to residential electricity users … will not cause (it) to be deemed a public utility,” and its customers also won’t be “subject to (state) regulation.”

Why is this a big deal for the Palo Alto, California-based company? If it had been determined to be “selling electricity,” that would have subjected Tesla to oversight by the PSC, which regulates investor-owned utilities in the state.

“Tesla’s SolarLease program provides for residential electricity users to lease solar (panels) from Tesla, but SolarLease does not involve any payment for, or purchase of, electricity by a lessee,” the company explained in last year’s filing.

Here’s the clincher: “Because of the requirements of investors who will provide financing for Tesla’s SolarLease program in Florida, Tesla is compelled to seek the requested statement as a practical, real-world business necessity,” it added.

The PSC granted similar opinions for Sunrun and Vivint Solar.

Evening Reads

Matt Gaetz under investigation by Florida Bar over Michael Cohen threat” via Lachlan Markay and Sam Stein of the Daily Beast

Why this Florida Republican voted to terminate Trump’s national emergency” via Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times

NYT reporter shames Marco Rubio for silence on Trump’s attacks on press while defending Venezuelan journalists” via Brad Reed of Raw Story

The boys of ‘Old Florida’ make way for the women” via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Florida Phoenix

UCF scandal prompts lawmakers to call for stricter university rules” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel

Manny Diaz files another bill to expand private school scholarships” via Jeffrey Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times

Mike Greico files first bills to legalize recreational pot” via Samantha Gross of the Miami Herald

Experts testify on algae solutions at Florida delegation meeting” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Ex-prisons chief pulls out of New Mexico job” via Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida

Florida Chamber launches new institute on school, workplace safety” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

It was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did. I’m deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry.” — U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, after a tweet some took as his threatening former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

The Revenue Estimating Conference will discuss highway safety revenues at 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building.

The Florida Supreme Court is scheduled to release its weekly opinions at 11 a.m. (Releases in recent weeks, however, have been canceled or delayed because of the addition of three new justices to the court.)

The Social Services Estimating Conference will discuss the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage, or FMAP, which helps determine how much federal money is available for the state Medicaid program. That’s at 1 p.m., 117 Knott Building.

House Public Integrity & Ethics Chairman Tom Leek is expected to discuss leadership during a Leadership Daytona reception. That’s at 5:15 p.m., Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Student Union, 600 South Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach.

Former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley is slated to speak to the Republican Federated Women of South Florida. That’s at 6:30 p.m., Boca Country Club, 17751 Boca Club Blvd., Boca Raton.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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