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Florida AFL-CIO passes resolution opposing Energy Choice Amendment

The group joined critics who argue the amendment is misleading.

The Florida AFL-CIO announced Thursday it is opposing the proposed 2020 amendment aiming to reduce utility companies’ control over the state’s energy market.

The amendment’s supporters say the measure will lead to deregulation, allowing smaller power companies to compete and giving consumers additional choices.

But critics argue the amendment is misleading. The Florida AFL-CIO echoed those concerns in a resolution opposing the measure.

“The ‘Energy Choice’ amendment is a deceptive electrical utility deregulation scheme to allow utility profiteers to get a financial advantage in the electric utility industry,” the resolution reads.

“The amendment would dismantle the current reliable and affordable utility industry and require electric utility companies to divest their generation facilities rendering thousands of union workers jobless.”

The resolution closed with the Florida AFL-CIO resolving to “oppose and work to defeat the adoption of the ‘Energy Choice’ amendment to the Florida Constitution and proactively educate its members and Florida consumers as to the dangers of the amendment and its misleading and deceptive language.”

The amendment’s backers are still working to secure the required number of signatures to qualify for the 2020 ballot.

The Florida Supreme Court also heard arguments in late August surrounding whether the amendment can appear on the ballot. Those hearings saw justices somewhat skeptical of the measure, with Justice Ricky Polston calling it “contradictory on its face.”

Several organizations have filed briefs with the Supreme Court arguing against the measure. Those groups include the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) and the Florida Electric Cooperatives Association (FECA), among others.

Attorney General Ashley Moody has also argued the proposal misleads Florida voters.

Supporters of the measure point to other states which have adopted deregulation, such as Texas and Georgia, which saw prices fall.

Still, deregulation efforts in California led to an energy crisis. A report from the Massachusetts Attorney General also showed opening up the energy market in that state led to extra costs for consumers.

And while proponents say expanded choice will also lead to increased use of alternative energy sources, such as solar, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy says this amendment falls short of that promise.

Florida AFL-CIO Executive Board Member J.B. Clark added a statement Thursday backing the group’s opposition to the amendment.

“There is little doubt that working Floridians will be devastated by the impacts of the ‘energy choice’ amendment,” Clark argued.

“This is why so many, including the Florida AFL-CIO, have banded together to oppose this dangerous proposal because the deceptive measure would leave families with higher utility costs and union workers jobless.”

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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