State News Items Oct. 2, 2020

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State News Items Oct. 2, 2020

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 11:48
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STAFF REPORT

TECO Proposal for 200 electric car charging ports

The Tampa Electric Company (TECO) submitted a proposal for approval to the Florida Public Service Commission which if approved would allow them to move forward with an electric vehicle car charging pilot program within TECO’s service area.
The request overview states, 

“Under this Pilot, Tampa Electric will purchase, install, own, and maintain approximately 200 PEV charging ports within the company’s service territory. The PEV charging ports will be deployed at Tampa Electric customer locations in five different market segments: (1) workplaces; (2) public/retail; (3) multi-unit dwellings; (4) income qualified; and (5) government.”

It further states, 
“Tampa Electric will partner with the owners of the chosen customer locations (“Site Hosts”) to coordinate installation, operation, and maintenance of the charging ports. Tampa Electric will pay up to $5,000 per charge port towards the cost of installation of the charging equipment for workplace, public/retail and multi-dwelling segments, and the full cost of installation for income qualified and government locations.”

TECO aims to collect PEV charging load data and gain experience with public PEV charging infrastructure development.
The proposal asks for permission to recover the $2 million cost of the 4-year pilot program “through base rates.”

COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted for businesses, disability facilities

On September 25, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-244, moving all of Florida’s 67 counties into Phase 3. He stated the move into the third phase of his economic-recovery efforts is designed to ensure “business certainty.” 
This order lifted state COVID-19 business restrictions. Pertaining to restaurants, they may not be limited by a COVID-19 emergency order by any local government to less than 50% of their indoor capacity. If a restaurant is limited to less than 100% capacity, the governor’s order requires officials to justify the health and economic reasons behind the restrictions. The governor’s order doesn’t prevent businesses from requiring customers to wear masks.

A memorandum dispersed by the Governor’s Office states that the new order, 

“Removes state-level restrictions on businesses, such as restaurants.
Provides that no COVID-19 emergency ordinance may prevent an individual from working or operating a business, giving Floridians and business owners needed certainty and the ability to provide for themselves and their families.
Provides that restaurants may not be limited by a COVID-19 emergency order by any local government to less than 50% of their indoor capacity. If a restaurant is limited to less than 100% of its indoor capacity, such COVID-19 emergency order must satisfy the following:
Quantify the economic impact of each limitation or requirements on those restaurants; and
Explain why each limitation or requirement is necessary for public health.
Suspends all outstanding fines and penalties, and the collection of such moving forward, applied against individuals related to COVID-19.” 
 
Along with the announcement of this order, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration announced it is backing off a requirement that facilities for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities test staff members for COVID-19 every two weeks. Earlier in September, the administration decided to no longer require assisted living facilities and nursing homes to test staff members. However, nursing homes are still required to test staff under a federal rule. Nursing homes are receiving rapid testing kits from the federal government to comply with the rule. The federal rule does not require assisted living facilities, facilities that care for people with developmental disabilities, or group homes to test staff members.

Gov. Desantis Announces Springs Restoration funding at Weeki Wachee State Park

Governor DeSantis announced an additional $50 million in this year's funding, as a part of a 2 year investment, to restore over 20 springs statewide. During his conference held at Weeki Wachee State Park on Sept. 18, he announced that the first check of $3.7 million in funding will go to Weeki Wachee Springs and will be used for enhancing a nearby wastewater treatment plant, with the goal to reduce nutrients in its water that could impact the quality of the springs. Last year $100 million was allocated for this effort.

“The springs of Florida are a huge part of what makes Florida -- Florida,” DeSantis said. “It’s an iconic part of our natural resources.” One of the DeSantis administration’s top priorities is to improve Florida’s water quality. “There is no way you can do that effectively without also devoting resources to Springs Restoration,” he said.  

DeSantis referred to the recently established Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve. “This preserve designation protects the water and submerged lands from dredging and filling, commercial and residential docking facilities and structures, and waste discharges.” DeSantis went on to say, “It also means scientists and staff will regularly collect water quality data, including critical nutrient data that guides effective management.” 

DeSantis explained that Florida is defined by our connection to water, and how important these water systems are for cleaning drinking water, habitats for critical and endangered plants and wildlife, as well as supporting local economies. The importance of these projects, as DeSantis emphasized, is “to protect this state’s water quality, not just for our generation, but for future generations as well.”

Florida Senator Rick Scott on Supreme Court Justice pick
In a Monday morning Trump Victory press conference Senator Scott remarked that as governor of Florida, he appointed 407 judges.  He made sure to ask the judges if they knew what branch of government they would be a part of: executive or legislative.  

"I wanted to make sure they were not going to be activists.  There's nothing that leads me to believe that Judge Barrett has any interest in being an activist judge."

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