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Amendment 1

Last year, a judge ruled the Florida legislature ran afoul of a constitutional amendment directing a certain amount of money be set aside for environmental spending. It seemed like a victory for environmentalists.  the amendment’s backers have filed a brief in an appeal of the case, saying the judge may have overstepped.

The first of 12 amendments Florida voters will see on the ballot November 6th might seem like a straightforward proposal. But the facts around Amendment 1 aren't that simple.

Three proposals on the November ballot that would make tax-related changes to the state Constitution have drawn conflicting views from the real-estate industry, local governments and other groups about the measures’ potential economic impacts.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

The November election ballot will have 13 constitutional amendments, including one to increase the property tax exemption.

Amendment 1 is effectively a tax cut for homeowners. A July poll by the Florida Chamber of Commerce found the amendment has overwhelming support from voters, but many local governments are afraid they will be negatively impacted by it. 

Florida lawmakers have tentatively agreed to pull funding from the state's top land conservation programs.

With two landslide victories under their belts, environmentalists say they are waiting to decide whether to revive a solar ballot initiative in 2018.

Voters Turn Out Lights On Solar Amendment

Nov 8, 2016

A controversial solar-energy ballot initiative fell short short of the 60 percent voter approval it needed Tuesday, concluding for now one of the most-expensive constitutional amendment campaigns in Florida history.

Solar Amendment Is Losing Support

Nov 3, 2016

Polls are showing that Amendment 1, which supporters say gives Floridians the right to own solar equipment, has seen a rapid decline in support over the past month.

According to a poll conducted by St. Leo University, the amendment had 84 percent support from likely voters in September, and now has 59 percent.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

Opponents of the solar-energy ballot measure known as Amendment 1 held events in a dozen locations across the state Thursday, including in St. Petersburg.

They're urging Floridians to vote no on Tuesday.

Another Florida icon is joining Key West troubadour Jimmy Buffett in the anti-Amendment 1 camp.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Solar energy is a hot issue again in Florida.

Photo courtesy the National Parks Service.

Environmentalists are calling for more spending on land and water conservation as the Florida Legislature ends its session Friday.

Environmentalists are breathing a sigh of relief after a powerful House Republican agreed to back down from his controversial “use it or lose it,” approach to state land.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Environmental groups contend that the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature is again snubbing voters who want the state to purchase conservation land.

They contend the budget proposals the Legislature is now developing violate Amendment 1, passed overwhelmingly in 2014, directing that a third of the revenue from documentary stamp taxes on real estate transactions go to buy land.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

One of the most contentious environmental issues facing state lawmakers in the upcoming session is what to do with Amendment 1. That mandated a large pot of tax money be used to buy and protect environmentally-sensitive land. But just how that money should be used is muddying the political waters.

Judge Tosses Part Of 'Amendment 1' Challenge

Dec 4, 2015
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

A Leon County judge Thursday removed a major part of a lawsuit that contests how lawmakers decided to spend money that voters approved last year for land buying and preservation.

However, an attorney for four environmental groups challenging the state's spending called the ruling a victory.

Environmentalists Say Governor's Budget Doesn't Go Far Enough

Nov 23, 2015
news@wjct.org

Gov. Rick Scott is proposing more money for land preservation next year, but environmentalists say the levels fall short of what voters wanted in passing a 2014 constitutional amendment.

As part of his proposed $79.3 billion budget introduced Monday, Scott is asking for $62.8 million for the land-acquisition program Florida Forever, $188 million for work to improve the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee and another $50 million to help maintain the state's natural springs.

Scott called his proposal a "historic investment" as all the numbers top the funding for the current year.

State Faces Second Challenge On 'Amendment 1' Spending

Nov 15, 2015
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Service

A Gainesville-based environmental group has launched a second legal challenge to how lawmakers carried out a constitutional amendment that requires spending on land acquisition and preservation.

The Florida Defenders of the Environment wants a Leon County circuit judge to block the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of State, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission from spending the dollars in the current fiscal year.

Environmental Groups Sue Over Amendment 1

Aug 30, 2015
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Service

Arguing that lawmakers "defied" a constitutional mandate, four environmental groups filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to force the state to shift $237 million to help carry out a conservation measure approved by voters in November.

The Florida Wildlife Federation, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, the Sierra Club and Florida Wildlife Federation President Manley Fuller filed the lawsuit in Leon County circuit court against Senate President Andy Gardiner, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

Calling it a “slap in the face to Florida voters,” environmental groups filed a lawsuit Monday that contends state legislators “defied” a constitutional amendment approved last fall.

Legislators just last Friday approved a nearly $79 billion state budget, but they included only $55 million for major land acquisition efforts.

Amendment 1 Backers Rally for Land Buying

May 29, 2015

Environmentalists plan to hold rallies across Florida this weekend, again calling on lawmakers to boost the amount of money for land acquisition, Everglades restoration and natural-springs protection.

Supporters of the 2014 ballot initiative known as "Amendment 1" have announced 10 locations --- Bradenton, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Miami, Ocala, Orlando, Sarasota County, Stuart and Tampa --- where they intend to hold rallies Saturday. That is two days before lawmakers start a special legislative session to negotiate a budget.

Senate Increases Land-Buying Money, Slightly

Apr 2, 2015
Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The Senate added $35 million Wednesday to its plan for buying conservation land, as backers of November's land and water constitutional amendment continue to push for a higher funding level proposed by the governor.

The additional Senate money, amended into the chamber's $80.4 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year, boosts funding to at least $37 million for land buying under the voter-approved initiative known as Amendment 1.

Amendment 1 requires $741.8 million be set aside for land and water projects during the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Florida Forever could become Florida Never if Republicans have their way. As Jim Ash reports, that’s how critics are describing paltry spending proposals in the House and Senate for what was once the nation’s largest wilderness preservation programs.

Continued uncertainty over federal health funding is causing budget pains in the Florida legislature. The House and Senate have a $4 billion  gap in their proposed spending plans for the upcoming fiscal year—and that’s largely due to disagreements over the biggest part of state spending: Medicaid.

The first floor of the Capital is swarming with people dashing back and forth—some pushing frantically at the slow-running elevators, others giving up—and dashing up the stairwells instead. Off to the side, is 23-year-old Broward resident Matt Ross.

Amendment 1 Spending Plan Lands Mixed Reviews

Mar 18, 2015
Robin Sussingham / WUSF 89.7 News

Florida's natural springs would get $50 million, the Kissimmee River is in line for $30 million, and a wastewater plan for the Florida Keys is up for $25 million, under a newly released House proposal that would help carry out a voter-approved increase in conservation dollars.

But there are few other clearly outlined projects in a $772.1 million proposal for next fiscal year released Tuesday by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. The proposal is focused more on land management and water projects than on new land acquisitions.

Lawmakers moved a step closer Wednesday to dividing up more than $750 million to meet the conservation demands of Amendment 1. The House and Senate are on a collision course over affordable housing and its piece of the pie.

With the ink barely dry on its water policy legislation, the Florida House is already mapping out a new plan for land conservation. Republican leaders began focusing Friday on Amendment 1 and how it fits in to managing millions of wilderness acres.

Lawmakers Wade into Amendment 1 Details

Feb 24, 2015
wikipedia.com

New rules for Florida waters will be one of the first bills the House takes up when the legislative session gets underway.

But don't expect that all aspects of a voter-approved initiative to conserve water and land will sail smoothly through the 60-day session that begins March 3.

As House members and senators hammer out new rules and new funding levels required by the initiative, known as Amendment 1, a wide array of suggestions has poured in from Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, environmentalists and business lobbyists.

myfloridahouse.gov

This year, Amendment One is expected to provide about $757 million for land and water conversation, and requests for a piece of that funding now total more $1.2 billion dollars.

Robin Sussingham

Back in November, voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment One, which sets aside millions of dollars for land and water conservation.

This week on Florida Matters, we'll take a look at where exactly that money might go.

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