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Conservation Amendment Sponsors Say Court Ruling In Their Favor Goes Too Far

Visit Florida
/
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
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Credit Visit Florida / flickr.com
/
The Florida Channel

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 lawsuit began in 2015 when lawmakers spent less than two percent of the $740 million  raised from the amendment on land purchases, 2014's Amendment 1. Florida Conservation Voters is asking an appeals court to uphold, but dial back the lower court’s ruling that blasted the move.  Aliki Moncrief heads the group. She says the lower court’s ruling went too far when it excluded funding from being spent on management and restoration of existing land.

'We’re trying to get the pendulum to swing to the point that we have resources to meet all those critical needs," she says.

The legislature has appealed the lower court's ruling.

In 2016, it passed a law requiring at least $200 million a year for the next 20—the life of the amendment—be spent on environmental funding. 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas. She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.