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'Smart Solar' moves closer to Supreme Court review

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As Florida Supreme Court justices mull a rival ballot initiative, a group known as "Consumers for Smart Solar" is moving closer to qualifying for a court review of a proposed constitutional amendment.

Consumers for Smart Solar had submitted 46,676 valid petition signatures to the state as of Monday morning, with the number steadily growing in recent weeks, according to the Florida Division of Elections website.

As an example, the group, which is backed by major electric utilities, had submitted 4,873 valid signatures as of Sept. 11. The group needs to submit 68,314 valid signatures to trigger a Supreme Court review of its proposed ballot language.

Consumers for Smart Solar and a group known as "Floridians for Solar Choice" have proposed competing initiatives for the November 2016 ballot dealing with solar-energy regulations.

The Supreme Court on Sept. 1 heard arguments about the Floridians for Solar Choice ballot language but has not ruled on whether the proposal meets legal requirements to go before voters.

Floridians for Solar Choice had submitted 168,712 valid petition signatures as of Monday morning. Proposed constitutional amendments that receive court approval ultimately need a total of 683,149 valid signatures to get on the 2016 ballot.