Florida’s legislative session this year has significant bills working their way through committees at this time. We are particularly attentive to those addressing environmental issues which relate to our concerns about clean and healthy waters whether they are in our aquifers, wetlands or the Indian River Lagoon.
Of major importance right now is something that needs your immediate attention. It is the annual appropriation of funds to purchase conservation lands in a program known as Florida Forever.
There was a time when this program received $300 million a year to purchase lands for conservation which in turn was a source for our good waters, healthy air, and natural resources. It was a highly successful nationwide model. Over time though, and notably with the recent recession, the program was severely cut and received little to no funding. Now, with the economy rebounding and with renewed growth and development underway, the Legislature is once again looking at restoring funding to the Florida Forever program.
One particular bill, now in a Senate Committee, is SB 944 which seeks to restore $100 million a year to fund this program again. These funds would be dedicated for land purchase, coming from the Water and Land Legacy Amendment passed several years ago, and would not be used for administrative functions.
And we need your help. Now.
The Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources will hear this bill on Tuesday. Our Senator Debbie Mayfield is a member of this committee and she needs to know your support for this bill. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is only the first stop for this bill but it must pass this Committee to keep moving.
Your support is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Honey Minuse, Chair Indian River Neighborhood Association