Legislation ‘likely dead’ that could have created potential ‘backdoor’ sale of JEA

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The proposed state legislation that local critics say could have created a potential ‘backdoor’ sale of JEA is likely dead.

HB 1331, which had raised concerns about the sale of publicly owned utilities like JEA, is “likely to die without being presented on the floor,” according to Florida House Rep. Wyman Duggan who told Action News Jax Ben Becker Sunday night.

The bill is not on the agenda of this weeks likely final commerce committee meeting of the session.

JEA contributes $122 million annually to the city and some members of city council saw the legislation as a ‘backdoor’ way of creating a scenario to sell the utility by choking off that payment - rekindling fears of the failed sale attempt in 2019.

Florida Sen. Clay Yarborough of Jacksonville tells Becker that the companion legislation SB 1380 has not progressed out of its first committee and is also not “viable at this point.”

JEA sent Becker the following statement on Sunday night:

“HB 1331 was not good for the city or for JEA. We are glad the legislative process has given time for debate, discussion and a satisfactory resolution.”

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