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Amendment 1

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.

Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment last November securing funds for the environment. Now, affordable housing advocates are worried this mandate could mean fewer dollars for low income families.

Florida voters passed the Water and Land Conservation Amendment in November. It requires one third of documentary stamp revenue – a tax on real estate transactions - to go toward environmental initiatives.

The Florida Legislature must spend a portion of the documentary stamp money on environmental programs, like buying land and preserving springs.

A legislative scramble to carve up some $700 million dollars tied to Amendment 1 has begun. Months before the start of the annual session, a Senate committee on Wednesday began debating how to spend money generated by a wildly popular voter mandate to protect the environment, Jim Ash reports.

It was standing room only for the first discussion of Amendment 1 by the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee. Chairman Charlie Dean, a Republican from Inverness, says there’s no shortage of suggestions about where the money should go.                           

Advocates for a project that could connect the entire state via bike trails hope to get a chunk of new dedicated funding from Amendment One.

Florida will now dedicate a third of its revenues from real estate transaction fees for water and land conservation after voters approved Amendment One Tuesday.

Florida Audubon

Midterm elections are this Tuesday.  Florida voters will be voting for governor, along with three proposed amendments.

 

When the economy underwent a downturn in 2008, legislators began sweeping trust funds and diverting money used on land preservation and conservation to other causes.  But when the economy recovered, the money was never restored. So enough signatures were collected on petitions throughout the state to place Amendment 1 on the ballot.

VA Seeks End to State Lawsuit About Hospital Inspections

Oct 31, 2014
VA.gov / Department of Veterans Affairs

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has fired back at Gov. Rick Scott's administration in a legal battle about whether state health officials should be able to inspect VA medical centers.

Attorneys for the federal agency filed a document last week arguing that a lawsuit launched by the state Agency for Health Care Administration should be dismissed on constitutional grounds. In part, the document points to the U.S. Constitution's "Supremacy Clause," which it says bars states from regulating federal-government activities without consent.

Sunshine Economy: Amendment 1 - Paying to Protect Florida By the Acre and the Gallon

Almost three and a half million acres of Florida are under the state's care. The federal government is responsible for another three million acres. County and local governments plus special districts such as water conservation and management areas have 3.4 million acres under their control.

Note: Every day this week, we’ll be taking a look at amendments on the Florida ballot.

We start with Amendment 1: the measure setting aside public money for environmental conservation. Supporters of the amendment say it’s a way to accomplish what the Legislature has failed to do. But opponents say the Constitution isn’t the place to write state budgets.

In what supporters are labeling the "end game for conservation in Florida," voters this November are being asked to change the state constitution to earmark billions of tax dollars for a host of environmental protection projects.

The nonprofit government watchdog group Florida TaxWatch released its voter’s guide Wednesday detailing proposed state constitutional amendments. 

Unlike some other issuers of voting guides, fiscally conservative TaxWatch doesn’t take a yes-or-no stance on the initiatives.  Instead, it offers a take on the pros and cons of enacting the amendments.    

Dominic Calabro, head of the organization, says it’s important to exercise caution when changing the state constitution.

Foes of State Conservation Amendment Wary, But Prepared

Sep 11, 2014

Florida voters appear poised in November to pass a constitutional amendment that would require setting aside billions of dollars for land conservation and other environmental projects.

The proposed "Water and Land Conservation" amendment would earmark 33 percent of the state's documentary-stamp tax revenues --- fees paid when real estate is sold --- for 20 years. The money would go to buy conservation lands, protect areas vital to the water supply and restore natural systems that have been degraded, such as the Everglades.

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