Florida Supreme Court Rules Energy Choice Initiative Shall Not Appear On Ballot
Says Ballot Summary Is "Misleading"
January 9, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the proposed electric choice ballot initiative (Right to Competitive Energy Market for Customers of Investor-Owned Utilities; Allowing Energy Choice), "should not be placed on the ballot."
The Court has jurisdiction to determine, among other things, whether ballot measures and summaries conform to state law and various requirements, such as a single subject rule, and whether the summary text is misleading
"While the parties have raised a number of issues for this Court’s consideration, we address only one issue which is dispositive -- that the ballot summary affirmatively misleads voters to believe the Initiative grants a right to sell electricity," the Court said
"Here, we address only the right to sell issue. The ballot summary tells voters that the proposed amendment grants a personal right to “sell electricity,” when in fact the amendment does no such thing. The proposed amendment grants several rights, such as (1) the right to purchase electricity from a provider of one’s choice, (2) the right to purchase electricity in competitive wholesale and retail markets,
and (3) the right to generate electricity oneself or in combination with others. However, at no point does the Initiative grant a freestanding constitutional right to sell electricity. Instead, it provides that “nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right of electricity consumers to buy, sell, trade, or dispose of electricity.” (Emphasis added. [by court]) The question is not whether a person has the right to sell electricity if the Initiative is adopted, but whether, as the ballot summary claims, the Initiative grants that right. It does not, and the ballot summary is therefore affirmatively misleading," the Court said
"The Proponents argue that, notwithstanding this discrepancy, the ballot summary is an accurate statement of the Initiative’s effects because the Initiative necessarily implies a right to sell electricity. We reject this argument. We do not find any such implicit right in the proposed amendment. The ballot summary expressly states that the Initiative grants the right to sell electricity, and the Initiative does not do so. Because the ballot summary is affirmatively misleading, it does not satisfy the clarity requirements of section 101.161, Florida Statutes. Consequently, the Initiative should not be placed on the ballot," the Court said