Florida Green Fee Goes to Senate!

April 1, 2009 at 5:46 pm 2 comments

Hi, all! Things have been moving and shaking down in Florida these last two weeks, and while we may not be overjoyed at nuclear being included in the Clean Energy Standard that the House passed yesterday (more on that coming soon!), let us temper that with some good news about the Green Fee!

As many of you know, the Green Fee is a campaign that SEN has been involved with on campuses all over the Southeast for over 2 years. In FL, we have stepped those campus campaigns up a notch and taken it to the state level with the Renewable Energy Fee Bill that is being presented during this legislative session.

And, we have good news!!

Monday, it was confirmed that the bill was going to make it to the floor on Wednesday, so Zak Keith, Florida Green Fee Coordinator extraordinaire, worked quickly to organize a lobby day. Tuesday evening (March 24), several students, representing University of FL, University of Central FL, University of South FL, and Florida State University, went to Tally to lobby for the bill on Wednesday. Also, to our advantage, this coincided with University of Central’s student government lobby day. So, a contingent of that delegation of students lobbied on the Green Fee, as well as other issues that concerning their student population.

On March 25, 2009, the FL Senate’s Higher Education Committee unanimously approved the Bill with the “Green Fee” Amendment! Lee Constantine is a champion of the Bill (now amendment) and has worked closely with students to refine it and find an appropriate Bill to attach the amendment to. Of course, the Bill still has Committees to travel through and the Senate to contend with, but we are off to a good start. Unfortunately, the House Bill that the Fee was supposed to be amended to did not get introduced. I will update as soon as I know more on that front.

Also, there has been quite a bit of media attention to this. There has been some unfortunate messaging from some reporters, with emphasis being placed on statements like “could cost full time students up to $150 per year” when no school has even come close to passing anything more than $1 per credit hour (which would be closer to $30 per year for full time students). Of course, this is an unfortunate spin, so we’ll have to make sure that folks understand that $150 per year is unlikely, and that the fee will be nominal for many students. Also, that for those that cannot afford to pay increased fees, they will be able to “opt out” just as they do their other student fees. Certainly, no one is interested in this fee becoming prohibitive to those that are not financially privileged!

I know many of you have worked on this campaign for a long time and are excited to hear this news. I look forward to hearing more of your experiences!

Here is a link to the Bill:
Bill

You can check out some of the media here:

Blog Media

AASHE Interview with Zak Keith

TV Media

Happy campaigning and, as always, hit me up if you have ideas, questions, or news!
mandy@climateaction.net

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