Florida Senate - 2023                              CS for SB 626
       By the Committee on Regulated Industries; and Senator DiCeglie
       580-02350-23                                           2023626c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to broadband Internet service
    3         providers; creating s. 364.391, F.S.; defining terms;
    4         specifying that the poles of rural electric
    5         cooperatives that are engaged in the provision of
    6         broadband are subject to regulation by the Public
    7         Service Commission; authorizing the commission to
    8         access the books and records of such cooperatives for
    9         specified purposes; providing that such information
   10         that contains proprietary confidential business
   11         information retains its confidential or exempt status
   12         when held by the commission; providing construction;
   13         amending s. 425.04, F.S.; authorizing rural electric
   14         cooperatives to engage in the provision of broadband;
   15         providing an effective date.
   17  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   19         Section 1. Section 364.391, Florida Statutes, is created to
   20  read:
   21         364.391 Rural electric cooperatives engaged in the
   22  provision of broadband.—
   23         (1)As used in this section, the term:
   24         (a)Affiliate” means an entity related through a parent
   25  cooperative’s controlling interest. The term includes a
   26  subsidiary or any other entity under common control with the
   27  cooperative.
   28         (b)“Cooperative” means a rural electric cooperative
   29  established pursuant to chapter 425.
   30         (c)“Engages in the provision of broadband” means an entity
   31  that:
   32         1.Provides broadband service directly, through an
   33  affiliate, or pursuant to an agreement with a third party; or
   34         2.Accepts broadband grant funding pursuant to s. 288.9962
   35  or from any other federal or state program offering grants to
   36  expand broadband Internet service to unserved areas of this
   37  state.
   38         (2)If a cooperative engages in the provision of broadband:
   39         (a)All poles owned by the cooperative are subject to
   40  regulation under s. 366.04(8) on the same basis as if such
   41  cooperative were a public utility under that subsection; and
   42         (b)The commission may access the books and records of such
   43  cooperative to the limited extent necessary to perform its
   44  functions and to exercise its authority under ss. 366.04(8) and
   45  366.97(4). Upon request of the cooperative, any records the
   46  commission receives under this paragraph which are proprietary
   47  confidential business information under s. 364.183 or s. 366.093
   48  shall retain their status as confidential or exempt from
   49  disclosure under s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
   50  Constitution.
   51         (3)This section may not be construed to impair the
   52  contract rights of a party to a valid pole attachment agreement
   53  in existence before July 1, 2023.
   54         Section 2. Section 425.04, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   55  read:
   56         425.04 Powers.—A cooperative shall have all of the
   57  following powers power:
   58         (1) To sue and be sued, in its corporate name.;
   59         (2) To have perpetual existence.;
   60         (3) To adopt a corporate seal and alter the same at
   61  pleasure.;
   62         (4) To generate, manufacture, purchase, acquire, accumulate
   63  and transmit electric energy, and to distribute, sell, supply,
   64  and dispose of electric energy in rural areas to its members, to
   65  governmental agencies and political subdivisions, and to other
   66  persons not in excess of 10 percent of the number of its
   67  members; to process, treat, sell, and dispose of water and water
   68  rights; to purchase, construct, own and operate water systems;
   69  to own and operate sanitary sewer systems; and to supply water
   70  and sanitary sewer services. However, a no cooperative may not
   71  shall distribute or sell any electricity, or electric energy to
   72  any person residing within any town, city, or area in which the
   73  person is receiving adequate central station service or who at
   74  the time of commencing such service, or offer to serve, by a
   75  cooperative, is receiving adequate central station service from
   76  any utility agency, privately or municipally owned individual
   77  partnership, or corporation.;
   78         (5) To make loans to persons to whom electric energy is or
   79  will be supplied by the cooperative for the purpose of, and
   80  otherwise to assist such person in, wiring their premises and
   81  installing therein electric and plumbing fixtures, appliances,
   82  apparatus and equipment of any and all kinds and character, and
   83  in connection therewith, to purchase, acquire, lease, sell,
   84  distribute, install and repair such electric and plumbing
   85  fixtures, appliances, apparatus and equipment, and to accept or
   86  otherwise acquire, and to sell, assign, transfer, endorse,
   87  pledge, hypothecate and otherwise dispose of notes, bonds and
   88  other evidences of indebtedness and any and all types of
   89  security therefor.;
   90         (6) To make loans to persons to whom electric energy is or
   91  will be supplied by the cooperative for the purpose of, and
   92  otherwise to assist such persons in, constructing, maintaining
   93  and operating electric refrigeration plants.;
   94         (7) To become a member in one or more other cooperatives or
   95  corporations or to own stock therein.;
   96         (8) To construct, purchase, take, receive, lease as lessee,
   97  or otherwise acquire, and to own, hold, use, equip, maintain,
   98  and operate, and to sell, assign, transfer, convey, exchange,
   99  lease as lessor, mortgage, pledge, or otherwise dispose of or
  100  encumber, electric transmission and distribution lines or
  101  systems, electric generating plants, electric refrigeration
  102  plants, lands, buildings, structures, dams, plants and
  103  equipment, and any and all kinds and classes of real or personal
  104  property whatsoever, which shall be deemed necessary, convenient
  105  or appropriate to accomplish the purpose for which the
  106  cooperative is organized.;
  107         (9) To purchase or otherwise acquire; to own, hold, use and
  108  exercise; and to sell, assign, transfer, convey, mortgage,
  109  pledge, hypothecate, or otherwise dispose of or encumber,
  110  franchises, rights, privileges, licenses, rights-of-way and
  111  easement.;
  112         (10) To borrow money and otherwise contract indebtedness;
  113  to issue notes, bonds, and other evidences of indebtedness
  114  therefor; and to secure the payment thereof by mortgage, pledge,
  115  deed of trust, or any other encumbrance upon any or all of its
  116  then owned or after-acquired real or personal property, assets,
  117  franchises, revenues or income.;
  118         (11) To construct, maintain, and operate electric
  119  transmission and distribution lines along, upon, under and
  120  across all public thoroughfares, including without limitation,
  121  all roads, highways, streets, alleys, bridges and causeways, and
  122  upon, under and across all publicly owned lands, subject,
  123  however, to the requirements in respect of the use of such
  124  thoroughfares and lands that are imposed by the respective
  125  authorities having jurisdiction thereof upon corporations
  126  constructing or operating electric transmission and distribution
  127  lines or systems.;
  128         (12) To exercise the power of eminent domain in the manner
  129  provided by the laws of this state for the exercise of that
  130  power by corporations constructing or operating electric
  131  transmission and distribution lines or systems.;
  132         (13) To engage in the provision of broadband pursuant to s.
  133  364.391.
  134         (14) To conduct its business and exercise any or all of its
  135  powers within or without this state.;
  136         (15)(14) To adopt, amend, and repeal bylaws.; and
  137         (16)(15) To do and perform any and all other acts and
  138  things, and to have and exercise any and all other powers which
  139  may be necessary, convenient or appropriate to accomplish the
  140  purpose for which the cooperative is organized.
  141         (17) To promote economic development by providing, an
  142  electric cooperative may provide any energy or nonenergy
  143  services to its membership.
  144         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2023.