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Environmental Groups, Earthjustice File Suit Over Amendment One Dollars

Selbe B via Flickr

An environmental law firm has filed suit over how the legislature distributed funds for a constitutional mandate. The mandate takes money from a real estate tax and puts it toward buying and restoring conservation and recreation lands.

The law firm said lawmakers put money toward things that are just related to the environment.

The law firm Earthjustice filed the suit on behalf of organizations like the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida and the Florida Wildlife Federation.

The complaint said of the $740 million set aside by the mandate – known as Amendment One – less than 12 percent of that money went to land acquisition. 

David Guest, head of the Earthjustice Florida office said, the legislature misappropriated hundreds of millions of dollars in a way that doesn’t line up with how the Florida Supreme Court interpreted the ballot language. 

Instead, Guest said lawmakers set aside money for things like paying staff salaries.

“It really is kind of an affront to voters because why the amendment was there in the first place was because the legislature had stopped land buying programs that had grown over five decades,” he said.

Guest thinks they will amend the lawsuit because of the governor’s vetoes.

Guest hopes the suit will be resolved by the next legislative session.

Read the complaint below:

Topher is a reporter at WGCU News.