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Following is the latest newsletter and information concerning this important legislation. Don’t forget that Monday, March 9, seven pm you can hear Aliki Moncrief and Pegeen Hanrahan in person explaining all about the amendment at the High Springs Woman’s Club. This is the Water Voices Lecture Series sponsored by OSFR and the Ichetucknee Alliance.
|Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Newsletter, Vol 4, Issue 5, Mar 6, 2015|
Trust the voters
There has been a lot of talk in the halls of the Legislature and the media about what conservation projects qualify for Amendment 1 funding. There are many hands reaching into the cookie jar for projects that lack a true conservation purpose.
The good news is that we’ve changed the debate. Lawmakers are asking questions of scientists and experts and listening to the informed opinions of conservationists and state agencies. At virtually every meeting relating to conservation and protecting our water resources, our legislators have shown that they are well-aware of how strong the support for Amendment 1 is among voters.
The media also is paying close attention to what happens in the Legislature. They are on the look-out for any shenanigans lawmakers might pull with Amendment 1 funding. Nobody, it seems, wants another Lottery Amendment.
Now, we need you to be ready. Any day now the Senate and House will be releasing their proposed Amendment 1 allocations. If their numbers don’t align with ours, if they dedicate Amendment 1 dollars to sweetheart deals that benefit only a few, if they simply replace existing funding with Amendment 1 funds, we’ll need you to contact your Senators and Representatives and give them a piece of your mind.
We must use all of the tools in the toolbox to keep the pressure on our lawmakers to do what’s right by Amendment 1 and honor the intent of the 4.2 million voters who voted YES.
To that end, we’ve launched a social media campaign called #TrustTheVoters on Facebook and Twitter to remind the Legislature what we voted for when we said YES to Amendment 1. The text is taken straight from the ballot language which we all read before bubbling in YES on November 4, 2014.
Amendment 1 “Funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands including
wetlands and forests;
fish and wildlife habitat;
lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams;
beaches and shores;
outdoor recreational lands;
working farms and ranches; and
historic or geological sites.
Please help spread the word by sharing our posts and retweeting our Tweets. This battle is being fought on many fronts, so please do what you can to make sure the intent of Amendment 1 is honored and implemented by the Legislature.
Together with our allies, we have been closely monitoring a number of bills that will have an impact on how Amendment 1 funds are distributed. Neither the Senate nor House has released proposed Amendment 1 allocations, but we expect to see them as early as next week. We will alert you as soon as we do!
Amendment 1 has still been a topic of conversation this week, especially in as it relates to several water policy bills now moving through the Legislature. Leadership in both houses has been saying for quite some time that the highest priority this session is to solve the water quality and supply challenges facing Florida. During this first week of session, legislators took up two bills on the subject: Senate Bill 918 and House Bill 7003.
SB 918 identifies six first magnitude springs as “Outstanding Florida Springs” and creates protection zones for springs. It also utilizes some existing programs (“minimum flows and levels” and “total maximum daily load”) to protect springflow and water quality. Importantly, it also establishes an advisory board that will rank springs projects eligible for funding from Amendment 1. No vote has yet been taken on the bill and we are working to improve the provisions relating to how eligibility for Amendment 1 funding is determined.
HB 7003 contains none of the springs protections components of the senate bill and does not specifically address Amendment 1 funding. Many of our partner organizations – including Audubon Florida, 1000 Friends of Florida, the Florida Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club Florida, and others – have vigorously opposed HB 7003. Read this great summary by 1000 Friends of Florida to learn more about the bills. The House passed HB 7003, but remember: the Senate’s version of the bill is still in “workshop” mode and has not yet been voted on by a committee.
We can’t thank you enough for all you do to remind legislators about what Amendment 1 means to you. Please keep it up! Our legislators are hearing our message loud and clear! To read and share some of the comments submitted by voters, don’t forget to visit our #FLVotersSay page.
Aliki and Laura