Suit asks court to pull Solar Amendment off ballot

Posted at 11:37 PM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-03 05:45:32-04

A lawsuit filed Wednesday asks the Secretary of State to consider removing Amendment 1 from the ballot and to not count any votes already cast.

The lawsuit claims the sponsors of the amendment are trying to trick voters into believing Amendment 1 is a pro-solar amendment.

"This is an intentionally deceptive misleading amendment funded by Florida's big utilities that deceives voters and is a step backwards for solar energy in the state," Alex Hobson, the Sr. Communications Manager for the Solar Energy Industries Association said.

Hobson clarified they are not behind the lawsuit, but agree with it.

"We support the lawsuit on its merits. We agree this a materially deceptive ballot initiative, but our focus really is on Tuesday," Hobson said.

On Thursday, the interim president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) will tour Florida, trying to convince voters why they should not vote for Amendment 1. Their stops include Tampa, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Gainesville, and Jacksonville.

Supporters of Amendment 1, including the utility companies, claim they only want to protect consumers.

Pinellas County Urban League President and CEO, Watson Haynes II, explained why people should vote in favor of Amendment 1. 

"We want to safeguard those people who A. need solar and if they need solar to have those panels properly installed," Haynes said.

Consumers for Smart Solar also defend Amendment 1.

In a statement sent to ABC Action News via email, Sarah Bascom who is the spokesperson for Consumers for Smart Solar said, "This is just political grandstanding at its best to deter Florida voters from voting in favor of Amendment 1, which simply safeguards consumer rights, consumer protection and consumer fairness as we grow solar in Florida.”

Haynes said voting yes is the way to go.

"We look out for the consumer…the low income people that come to us everyday for services…and we want to protect them," Haynes said.