BY THE FLORIDA COURIER EDITORIAL STAFF
In our opposition to Amendment 1, we stand in good company, including South Florida Congressman (and former federal judge) Alcee Hastings and the Florida Supreme Court’s only two Black justices, Peggy Quince and James Perry.
Both Quince and Perry agreed with their colleague, Justice Barbara Pariente, in her dissenting opinion in the Florida Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision that allowed the Amendment 1 to be placed on the ballot.
“Let the pro-solar energy consumers beware. Masquerading as a pro-solar energy initiative, this proposed constitutional amendment, supported by some of Florida’s major investor-owned electric utility companies, actually seeks to constitutionalize the status quo,” Pariente wrote.
“What the ballot summary does not say is that there is already a right to use solar equipment for individual use afforded by the Florida Constitution and existing Florida statutes and regulations. It does not explain that the amendment will elevate the existing rights of the government to regulate solar energy use and establish that regulatory power as a constitutional right in Florida.”
In other words, a vote for Amendment 1 is a vote for government control of the private use of solar energy in Florida.
According to Pariente, “the second part of the amendment acts as a significant restriction on the expansion of solar energy rights and “choice[s]” by embedding in the Constitution the government’s unbridled discretion to regulate private solar energy use.
“The proposed amendment would have the practical effect of maintaining the status quo with the balance of power in the hands of the utility companies.”
Many Floridians dream of placing solar panels on their roofs, generating enough free energy to power their homes, and selling the excess power to Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, or even their neighbor. If you vote for Amendment 1, you’re voting AGAINST the possibility of selling your excess power, not FOR it.
We strongly urge you to vote AGAINST Amendment 1.
No to Amendment 2
Here are excerpts of what we wrote about 2014’s Amendment 2, which would have made medical marijuana legal in Florida:
This law is designed for “Big Weed” – the weed-growing industry similar to “Big Tobacco.” Check the huge profit margin on legal marijuana…
A quote from Michelle Alexander, the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” explains things well.
“Here are White men poised to run big marijuana businesses, dreaming of cashing in big. Big money, big businesses selling weed, after 40 years of punishing impoverished Black kids for selling weed. Their families and futures destroyed. Now White men are planning on getting rich doing precisely the same thing.”
Well, two years later, Big Weed had its way. The Florida Legislature decided to legalize growing medical marijuana in Florida. But current law prevents Black farmers in Florida from legally growing medical marijuana, continuing a history of discrimination and costing those farmers millions of dollars. The Florida Legislature has been in no hurry to make necessary changes.
Are we surprised that Black farmers got cut out, or that frightened Democrats wouldn’t stand up for Black farmers? No.
As we opined in 2012:
How does Amendment 2 directly benefit Black Floridians? Jobs? Less street crime? Improved health? If you want to get pimped, vote yes. OUR RECOMMENDATION: VOTE NO. Defeat this confusing half-measure that was dreamed up by Big Weed. Then let’s have the inevitable fight over whether marijuana should be completely decriminalized in Florida.
That recommendation remains true four years later.