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Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Senator Jeff Brandes Backs Clean Energy Bills For 2021 Legislative Session

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Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) is eyeing clean energy. He’s filed several proposals aimed at energy innovation.

Brandes wants Florida to have more electric vehicle charging stations. He's proposing a grant program to help with that mission. Brandes says a lot of Florida's infrastructure is funded by the gas tax, which electric vehicle owners don't pay.

"So, we have to find an alternative source for revenue for EVs. But we want to make sure those fees, those funds at least for the first few years are dedicated towards improving infrastructure as far as charging infrastructure across the state," Brandes says.

The grant would give money to cities and counties to build electric vehicle charging stations. State agencies, public universities, libraries, and more can also apply for the grant. Brandes says the program's funds would come from an additional license tax for electric vehicles.

"For the first five years, those funds will go directly into the transportation trust fund, and that should generate from those funds will be used to establish the grant program," Brandes says.

The tax would also apply to plug-in hybrid vehicles. Brandes' other proposals include creating a Task Force to determine Florida's needs for electric energy and how to meet them. Brandes also wants to allow companies to sell their excess solar power to neighboring businesses.

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Robbie Gaffney is a recent graduate from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.