We Must Act NOW – Before 6:00 PM Monday! – to Secure Florida Forever Funding
The Legislature’s Budget Conference began meeting last night, Friday, Feb. 26, to negotiate a final budget agreement for 2016. Related meetings will take place all weekend because the House and Senate budget chiefs have given conferees just 72 hours to sort out the differences.
That means they must reach a final agreement by 6 p.m. Monday! It also means it is very important that Legislative leaders hear from you NOW if you want them to respect the intent of the voters who passed Amendment 1 by properly funding the Florida Forever land conservation program. To this point, neither the Senate nor the House is proposing to spend even $30 million on Florida Forever.
Your personal action is especially important if you live within the district(s) of one or more of these legislators. If so, be sure to identify yourself as a local constituent.
Sample Message for Legislative Members:
The Florida Forever program is a common-sense approach to conserving Florida’s natural resources. It is a science-based program that protects our state’s natural resources by acquiring land from willing sellers.
Florida Forever has not been properly funded since 2008, yet our remaining unprotected natural areas are being converted at pre-Recession rates. Every additional year of inadequate funding represents lost opportunities to conserve natural areas and protect our water resources and native flora and fauna.
Please dedicate $200 million to Florida Forever. This amount would match the $200 million already dedicated to Everglades Restoration by the Legacy Bill. Both initiatives are deserving of such a funding level, and it is easily within reach given the annual revenue provided through Amendment 1.
Please call, visit or email one or more of the following Key Decision Makers (if phoning, call their Tallahassee number since that is where they will be through the weekend):
Senator Budget Chair Tom Lee (R) Tallahassee (850) 487-5024; Brandon, FL Phone: (813) 653-7061; email@example.com
Senate President Andy Gardiner (R) Tallahassee (850) 487-5229; Orlando, FL Phone: (407) 428-5800; firstname.lastname@example.org
Senate President-Elect Joe Negron (R) Tallahassee (850) 487-5032; Palm City, FL Phone: (772) 219-1665; email@example.com
House Budget Chair Richard Corcoran (R) Tallahassee (850) 717-5037; Lutz, FL Phone: (813) 792-5177; firstname.lastname@example.org
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R) Tallahassee (850) 717-5051; Merritt Island, FL Phone: (321) 449-5111; email@example.com
House Natural Resource Budget Chair Ben Albritton (R) Tallahassee (850) 717-5056; Bartow, FL Phone: (863) 534-0073; firstname.lastname@example.org
Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano Tallahassee (850) 487-5026; Bradenton, FL (941) 741-3401; email@example.com
Rep. Jose Oliva (R) Tallahassee (850) 717-5110; Hialeah, FL (305) 364-3114; firstname.lastname@example.org
Full Roster of House Budget Conferees: Corcoran (Chair), Boyd (Vice-Chair), Adkins, Albritton, Baxley, Cruz, J. Diaz, Gaetz, M. Jones, Moraitis, Oliva, O'Toole, Pafford, Raschein, Richardson, Stafford, Trujillo, Williams, Wood, Workman, Young
Full Roster of Senate Budget Conferees: Lee (Chair), Benacquisto (Vice-Chair), Flores, Galvano, Grimsley, Joyner, Margolis, Richter, Simmons, Smith
Other Important Legislators (Natural Resources Conferees) to call now:
Sen. Alan Hays (R) (850) 487-5011; Umatilla (352) 742-6441; email@example.com
Sen. Wilton Simpson (R) (850) 487-5018; Trilby (North Pasco Co.) (727) 816-1120; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Jim Boyd (R) Tallahassee (850) 717-5071; Bradenton (941) 708-4968; Jim.email@example.com
Rep. Janet Adkins (R) (850) 717-5011; Fernandina Beach (904) 491-3664; Janet.firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Garrett Richter (R) (850) 487-5023; Naples (239) 417-6205; email@example.com
Sen. David Simmons (R) (850) 487-5010; Longwood (407) 262-7578; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Neil Combee (R) (850) 717-5039; Auburndale; Neil.Combee@myfloridahouse.gov
Rep. Debbie Mayfield (R) (850) 717-5054; Vero Beach (772) 778-5077; email@example.com
Raise an Issue
Types of Issues Addressed by FNPS
- General areas considered to be of statewide FNPS significance
- Any Florida legislative action that affects our state environmental land acquisition program known as Florida Forever, which includes Florida Communities Trust and/or any other state agency funded through Florida Forever (DEP). This includes, but is not limited to, any legislation affecting funding of the program. It also includes the urgent need to fund the Florida Forever program.
- All state and local land acquisition efforts for preservation and conservation.
- Any statewide policy changes that enhance improve or further natural resource system protection within recognized preserves and/or reserve or state park refuge.
- Development issues that are regional or have statewide significance in that they affect a change in Florida policy towards land acquisition, natural resource systems or waters of the state, but only if the issue clearly relates to the FNPS mission to preserve, conserve and restore native plants and native plant communities.
- Any state legislative, state agency or state university action that would affect the viability (or lack thereof) of native plants and native plant communities. This includes, but is not limited to, state policy on exotic invasive species, water conservation, listed plant species, and cataloging of native plant communities.
General areas considered not to be of statewide significance include
- Issues that are primarily related to managing the way a local jurisdiction grows or the methods it uses to plan growth. Unless it can be shown to meet criteria number four in the previous section.
- Issues that are primarily transportation related unless the issue is of at least regional significance and would impact an established preserve/reserve/state park refuge/or a functional ecologically sensitive ecosystem.
- Issues that involve local jurisdictional ordinances or land development codes.