Wednesday, April 12, 2017

CALL Your Senator NOW on Florida Forever, Senate Votes TODAY, 4/12

​​State Sen​ator Linda​ Stewart has filed our Florida Forever amendment to Senate Bill 234 which comes up for a vote TODAY, Wednesday, April 12th in the full Senate.​


Please call your State Senator NOW!  Ask him/her to support Senator Stewart's amendment to ​​​Senate Bill 234, barcode 466492, requiring that a minimum of 25% ​of Land Acquisition Trust Funds shall be appropriated annually for land acquisition in the Florida Forever program. 

Call your Senator using this toll free number provided by Florida Conservation Voters:  
This bill is coming up for a vote TODAY, Wednesday, April 12.  We need your calls now!

Talking Points:

Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) dollars should be spent on conservation projects like the Everglades reservoir and Florida Forever projects as 75% of voters intended in 2014 when they voted for the Water & Land Legacy Act amendment to the Florida Constitution.
But once again our legislators up in Tallahassee are failing to meet the will of the voters​:​

(1) The House has zero funding in the budget for the Florida Forever program.
(2) The Senate has only $15.2 million in the budget for Florida Forever projects.
(3) Multiple bills in both chambers threaten to use LATF funds for everything but Florida Forever!

​Setting aside ​a minimum of ​25% of Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) dollars would provide more than $160 million next year for land acquisitions vetted and identified by the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) as the most valuable for conservation and to improve open spaces and parks in our communities.

Here is the text of Senator Stewart's Amendment:

466492 - Amendment 

Senator Stewart moved the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Between lines 85 and 86
    4  insert:
    5         5.A minimum of 25 percent shall be appropriated annually
    6  for land acquisition in the Florida Forever program, where $50
    7  million shall be appropriated each fiscal year for grants to
    8  local governments under the Florida Communities Trust program
    9  pursuant to s. 259.105(3)(c). The remaining funds shall be
   10  appropriated to projects on the Acquisition and Restoration
   11  Council’s approved list developed pursuant to s. 259.035(4).
   12  This distribution shall be reduced by an amount equal to the
   13  debt service paid pursuant to paragraph (a) on bonds issued
   14  after July 1, 2017, for the purposes set forth in this
   15  subparagraph.
   17  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
   18  And the title is amended as follows:
   19         Delete line 6
   20  and insert:
   21         Region; requiring a specified appropriation for
   22         certain projects related to the Florida Forever
   23         program; requiring the distributions to be reduced by
   24         an

Pine Flatwoods
Photo Credit: Joe Guthrie