AMENDMENT 1 LAWSUIT
By an extraordinary 75% vote of the electorate for what thus became Article X, section 28 of the Florida Constitution (commonly known as Amendment 1), the Constitution was amended to dedicate several hundred million dollars per year to acquire and improve conservation and recreational lands.
ECOSWF, St. John's Riverkeepers and the Florida Wildlife Federation filed a lawsuit against the Florida Legislature because it defied the constitutional mandate to appropriate the monies required by Amendment 1 to the acquisition, improvement, and maintenance of conservation and recreational lands.
The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment finding the Legislature has violated the Florida Constitution by misappropriating Amendment 1 funds.
The Legislature is bound by the Florida Supreme Court's constitutional interpretation of Amendment 1 holding that the purpose and function of that amendment was to dedicate a specific revenue stream into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. The Legislature is not at liberty to disregard the holding of the Florida Supreme Court by changing the purpose of the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.
Nor can there be doubt about the function of the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. It is a trust that dates back 50 years and it has an unmistakable purpose: land acquisition.
The Land Acquisition Trust Fund has existed intact for over 50 years, and the funds in it were—and are—to be used "to acquire land, water areas, and related resources and to construct, improve, enlarge, extend, operate and maintain capital improvements and facilities thereon." Ch. 63-36, § 4, Laws of Fla. The Trust Fund is also the vehicle used to pay debt service on bonds issued to acquire lands for conservation and recreation purposes. Id.
Contact: BECKY AYECH