For Immediate Release: October 2, 2017
Contact: Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 850-443-7609 or Jonathan Webber, Deputy Director, email@example.com, 954-593-4449
Florida Conservation Voters Applauds Senator Rob Bradley’s Bill Dedicating Funding to Florida Forever
Will the Florida House show similar environmental leadership?
Tallahassee, FL (October 2, 2017) – On Friday, Senator Rob Bradley (R-Orange Park) filed SB 370 dedicating $100 million a year annually to the Florida Forever Trust Fund. Florida Conservation Voters applauds Senator Bradley for his proposal.
“Opening this legislative session with a proposal to provide at least $100 million to Florida Forever demonstrates Senator Bradley’s environmental leadership,” said Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director of Florida Conservation Voters. “Florida voters have made it clear they want more funding for parks, wildlife corridors, and environmentally important natural areas like wetlands. I hope that SB 370 is the first sign of the Senate’s renewed commitment to continuing Florida’s legacy of acquiring critical natural areas before they are lost forever.”
Historically, the legislature funded the Florida Forever land conservation program at $300 million a year until 2009, when funding was all but eliminated. In response, Florida voters overwhelming approved the Water & Land Conservation Amendment in 2014 to renew funding. The Amendment added a new section to the Florida Constitution dedicating a portion of an already-collected real estate tax to “to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands.” Since 2014, more than $2 billion has been set aside by that Amendment. To date, the Florida Legislature has failed to appropriate more than $15.2 million a year to Florida Forever. Last year, the Legislature appropriated $0 to this vital program.
At the end of the 2017 Legislative Session, Representative Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres) introduced HB 7119, which also dedicated funding to Florida Forever. While that bill passed the House in a near-unanimous vote, the bill was not taken up by the Senate.
“The Florida House now has a real opportunity to build on Senator Bradley’s Florida Forever funding proposal,” said Moncrief. “Rep. Caldwell has shown he wants to breathe life back into this vital program. Now is his chance to show Florida voters that he still believes protecting parks, wetlands, and undeveloped rural lands is a priority.”