The Florida Electric Cooperatives Association’s (FECA) primary focus is to monitor and analyze bills and work with legislators on any legislation impacting you, our members, while ensuring our not-for-profit electric co-ops are able to continue their mission providing safe, reliable, and affordable electricity. Much of this is handled during Florida’s legislative session which ended on March 14.
This session, the Florida Legislature was required to complete the process of redrawing state legislative and congressional boundaries, called redistricting. This requires apportioning each seat with an equal number of constituents to ensure citizens receive representation. The Legislature successfully passed the House and Senate legislative maps. In early March, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the validity of the new district lines for the state House and Senate maps, although legal challenges could still be filed by various groups in other courts. The House and Senate passed two Congressional District maps but await action by the Governor and any challenges brought to the courts.
WFEC is also exploring funding options available through the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package which was passed into law by the federal government. It includes investment and funding opportunities for electric cooperatives and the communities they serve. This includes funding for projects like grid modernization and resiliency, physical and cybersecurity projects, and clean energy technologies. Some of the grants and funding opportunities cover specific projects like grid hardening efforts of the existing electric grid to reduce the risk of power lines causing wildfires and to mitigate the consequences of significant weather events. Grid reliability and resilience grants would also be available for innovative demonstration projects to harden and enhance resilience and reliability for transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure to enhance regional grid resilience. These projects would also improve the resilience, safety, reliability and environmental protections of energy in rural areas like ours. Cybersecurity projects for a technical assistance program at the Department of Energy for utilities to detect, respond to, and recover from cybersecurity threats and to encourage cybersecurity investments by electric co-ops would also be funded. This infrastructure package includes many other programs that will benefit rural communities like broadband funding, electric vehicle charging infrastructure funding and more.
Florida passed a Tax package that includes the following sales tax holidays:
- May 28 – June 10, 2022 “Disaster Preparedness” Holiday
- July 1 – July 7, 2022 “Freedom Week” Holiday
- July 25 – August 7, 2022 “Back-to-School” Holiday
- September 3 – September 9, 2022 “Tool Time” Holiday
- October 2022 “Gas Tax” Holiday
As the Legislative Session finishes, the road to the mid-term elections in November will be very busy in Florida. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, all 28 U.S. Congressional seats, all 160 Florida Legislative seats, and the entire Florida Cabinet will be on the ballot. Now more than ever, making your voice heard on election day is vital. Visit www.vote.coop to learn more about issues affecting electric co-ops, information on your elected officials, and important election dates. It is critical that Florida’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives remain strong and continue providing safe, reliable, and affordable electricity to consumer-members in their communities. We all play a part in the legislative process and we are proud of our role in making sure Florida’s electric co-ops contribute to our communities’ overall success.