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Florida Said Yes on 1

On November 4, 2014, Florida voters said yes to Amendment 1, which will set aside almost $20 billion in funding for water and land conservation over the course of 20 years. 

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Clay Henderson with Holland & Knight recently wrote a summary highlighting some of the key takeaways of Amendment 1 and what this means for Florida:

  • The 20-year program will generate almost $20 billion in funding showing that Florida voters understand the importance of water and land conservation for the state’s environment and economy.
  • The amendment not only dedicates money to land acquisition, it also authorizes funds for environmental restoration, recreation, historic preservation, land management and improvement as well as protection of water quality.
  • The program is the largest voter-approved conservation measure ever ratified in the United States.

They also discussed some important factors regarding the make-up of Amendment 1:

The Amendment Just Creates a Funding Source – No New Legislation Is Needed

Constitutional amendments proposed by citizens through the initiative process must also pass review by the Florida Supreme Court which approved it for the ballot in 2013. In their briefs to the court, the sponsors said that the measure was “self executing” – meaning that no new legislation is required to implement the amendment. The amendment simply dedicates a funding source that can be applied to existing programs such as Florida Forever, the sponsors told the court.

Opponents of the amendment argued that the initiative ties the hands of the Legislature in the appropriations process. Indeed, one historic aspect of the initiative is that it is the first to dedicate a significant sum of money to a specific program. Earlier amendments created trust funds or dedicated a relatively small amount of funds.

See the rest of the summary on their website, here.

Florida Water and Land Conservation Initative, Amendment 1  – Ballotpedia

Election Re-cap: Florida voters embrace land legacy – Florida Today

Proponents say Amendment 1 would fund needs that cannot wait for lawmakers to get around to – Orlando Weekly

Amendments explained: Amendment 1 mandates conservation funding – News 13

Holland & Knight lawyers drafted Florida Amendment 1 and shepherded the review and approval process by the Florida Supreme Court to get the amendment on the ballot. These efforts were a pro bono project for the firm.
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