Florida Health Care Association Opposes the “Energy Choice” Amendment
Established in 1954, Florida Health Care Association (“FHCA”) has a strong history of leadership and advocacy on behalf of Florida’s long-term care providers and the elders they serve. FHCA’s founding members were passionate about improving care for elder Floridians and recognized that their ability to shape public policy would be greatly enhanced by the creation of a statewide organization that brought together like-minded individuals. Today, FHCA is a federation representing over 80% of the state’s 683 nursing centers and thousands of caregivers who provide skilled nursing, post-acute and sub-acute care, shortterm rehabilitation, assisted living, and other services to the frail elderly and individuals with disabilities in Florida. FHCA works to promote the importance of investing in the well-being of Florida’s frail elders and individuals with disabilities and to ensure their continued access to high quality long-term care.
The Opponents filing this brief have an interest in this proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution because the proposal threatens Florida’s affordable and reliable electric system. The Opponents have an interest in this Court’s review of the proposed amendment both because the proposal presents a misleading ballot summary to the voters and also because the proposal addresses multiple distinct subjects in violation of the Florida Constitution. Because of these defects, the proposed amendment should be denied placement on the ballot.
The Proposed Amendment is clearly and conclusively defective on multiple grounds, any one of which constitutes sufficient grounds for this Court to find the proposal invalid and ineligible to appear on the ballot.
In addition to violating the Florida Constitution’s single-subject requirement, the Proposed Amendment is also invalid because its ballot statement is misleading and fails to fairly and accurately inform voters of the proposal’s chief purpose. The ballot statement affirmatively misinforms voters by stating that the proposal grants customers of investor-owned utilities the right to choose their electricity provider when the Proposed Amendment actually denies customers a choice of electric utility providers. Specifically, the Proposed Amendment denies customers the right to choose to continue receiving service from their current electricity provider by prohibiting investor-owned utilities from engaging in the retail sale of electricity. The ballot statement fails to disclose that the Proposed Amendment would dramatically restrict the activities of investor-owned utilities— prohibiting investor-owned utilities from any involvement in the generation or sale of electricity and even mandating (by necessary implication) that investor-owned utilities divest their ownership of the electrical generation, transmission, and distribution systems that are currently responsible for providing electric service to millions of Floridians.
Because of these serious legal defects, this Court should issue an advisory opinion concluding that the Proposed Amendment is invalid and cannot be approved for placement on the ballot.
Read their full legal brief filed with the Florida Supreme Court here.