The Florida Legislature’s inaction on implementing the voter approved Land and Water Legacy constitutional amendment and what citizens can do in response will be the topic of a free webinar June 21 organized by 1000 Friends of Florida.
This is the latest in a series of excellent online webinars the organization has put together to educate the public about this and other important issues relating to conservation, growth management and other important topics.
To sign up, go to this link.
Amendment 1, as the measure is often referred to, passed with an overwhelming majority in the 2014 general election.
Its purpose was to restart the stalled Florida Forever program to finish the job of preserving what’s left of Florida’s natural areas with an emphasis on completing the protection of key wildlife corridors that stretch from the Everglades to the Panhandle.
The money to do this would come from the allocation of a portion of state documentary tax revenue from real estate transactions for the next 20 years.
Since the amendment’s approval Florida legislators have refused to fund the program as voters directed them. Instead, the money has been diverted to pay for routine agency operating expenses or siphoned off for pork barrel public works projects to develop water projects to advance development.
Some legislators have also tried to take advantage of the ballot amendment’s broad language to argue this spending is justified even though it is clear that was not the voter intent.
Meanwhile, the development machine is cranking up again and it’s only a matter of time before some of the land needed for conservation will no longer be available.
Just for the record, the approval percentage for that constitutional referendum in our area was:
Polk: 69.3 percent
Highlands: 69.5 percent
Hardee: 59.9 percent
DeSoto: 63.9 percent
Sumter: 69.6 percent
Lake: 70.3 percent
Our so-called represntatives should be reminded often of this.