Bills Signed by the Governor, Constitutional Initiatives,
and Energy Forum
December 16, 2005
Signed by the Governor
Below is a quick synopsis
of the special session bills that were signed by the Governor this week.
Six of the ten bills passed by the legislature have been signed thus
far. Missing from this list is the Slot Machine Gaming bill; the Governor
has previously stated that he will sign the Slots bill.
Supports Proposed Rule Changes for
Constitutional Initiative Process
On Wednesday, December 14th
the Florida Department of State held a proposed rule change hearing
in conjunction with the Division of Elections. The three proposed rules
reflect changes in practice and procedure for the Division of Elections
and implement changes passed during the 2004 and 2005 legislative sessions.
The reforms move up the deadline for the Secretary of State to receive
certified initiative petition signatures from the supervisor of elections
from 91 days before the general election to February 1st of each general
election year in order for the initiative to be placed on the ballot
during the November general election.
One particularly important
change in these new rules is the outlawing of “bundling.” Bundling is
the practice of attaching multiple signature petitions for separate
initiatives. The outlawing of this practice should help reduce the proliferation
of initiative petitions.
As the lone business
association in attendance at the hearing, AIF was pleased to state
for the record that we applaud the Division of Election’s foresight
in implementing these new rules.
Bush hold Energy Forum
The 2005 Florida Energy
Forum was held on Wednesday, December 14th in Tallahassee. During the
day long meeting, industry leaders discussed issues ranging from electric
power and transportation fuel to energy conservation. The Florida Energy
Forum was part of an Executive Order signed in November by Governor
Jeb Bush. The Governor signed this executive order to develop a statewide
comprehensive energy plan. In this order, he directs Florida’s executive
agencies to continue their energy conservation efforts and encourages
the development of additional innovative conservation initiatives. He
directs the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop
a comprehensive energy plan by evaluating Florida’s current and future
energy supply and demand.
To begin the evaluation
process, DEP Secretary Colleen Castille gathered some industry leaders
and asked them to address Florida’s energy supplies, energy generation,
transmission, distribution, conservation and energy security. During
the forum, a great effort was made to discuss the barriers presented
by government as well as potential incentives that may be offered to
the private sector to help secure Florida’s future energy needs.
The discussion was divided into three sections: (1) Electric Power,
(2) Transportation Fuel and Conservation, and (3) Efficiency and Alternative
Energy Programs in Florida. No concrete decisions were made during the
forum. Instead, ideas and concepts were presented by the panelists and
the audience was encouraged to submit questions, thereby ensuring a
free-flow of ideas. DEP staff was present to gather information for
the purposes of submitting recommendations to the Governor and Legislature.
Here are a few highlights
from the panelists: