“Based on what we know today, it appears to be a betrayal of what the voters wanted to happen,” said Jim Stevenson of Tallahassee, former chief naturalist for Florida’s state parks Florida Springs Task Force chair. “I’m very disappointed in the Legislature for not following the voters’ wishes.”
The 2015 Legislative Session is winding down and it appears our lawmakers have abandoned their opportunity to do the job for which they were elected, and that is to carry out the people’s wishes as expressed by moving Amendment 1 into law.
Jeff Burlew has published today in the Tallahassee Democrat an article outlining the failures so far regarding the proper designations of the appropriations.
“What it’s beginning to look more and more like is the lottery,” said Will Abberger, chair of the Amendment 1 coalition and director of conservation finance for The Trust for Public Land. “When Floridians voted to approve the state lottery, it was sold on providing additional funding for education. And the Legislature used those lottery funds to replace existing education funds. So far, it looks like that’s what they’re doing with Amendment 1.”
The constitutional amendment expressly forbids the commingling of dollars deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund with general revenue. But Scott and the House and Senate have proposed using between 20 and 30 percent of Amendment 1 dollars for existing state-agency expenses.
And so it goes. Nothing comes easy. The entire article can be seen at this link