Conservation amendment supporters say they have the signatures to make the ballot

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Voters could have the chance to decide the fate of Florida land and water resources over the next two decades.

Florida’s Water and Land Legacy announced today that the Water and Land Conservation constitutional amendment have met the statewide signature requirement for placement on the November 2014 ballot.

Supervisors of Elections validated 685,971 signatures from Florida voters supporting the amendment. The proposed amendment also qualified in 15 of Florida’s 27 congressional districts, the final obstacle to making the election.

“Thanks to our dedicated supporters and hardworking volunteers, we exceeded the signature requirement and had the amendment qualified in more than enough congressional districts to place this important measure on the ballot,” said Will Abberger, The Trust for Public Land campaign chair and director of conservation finance.

“The unifying support this campaign has received is proof that Floridians care deeply about our state’s water and wildlife and want to safeguard it for future generations,” Abberger added. “This means that next November, Florida voters will have the opportunity to dedicate state funding to ensure we have clean water and protect our precious natural resources.”

If approved by voters, amendment would dedicate 20 years of funding for conservation, management, and restoration of Florida’s water and land resources starting July 1, 2015.

One-third of the existing documentary stamp tax (paid when real estate is sold) will be set aside to restore the Everglades, protect drinking water sources, and revitalize the state’s responsibility to protecting natural lands and wildlife habitat through the Florida Forever program.  

The amendment will provide more than $10 billion for water and land conservation in Florida, without a tax increase.

“Nearly one million petitions signed and delivered to local supervisors of elections sends a message loud and clear that Floridians want to see our water sources and natural areas protected,” said coalition campaign manager Pegeen Hanrahan. “When given the chance to vote on the amendment in November, we are confident that the answer will be a resounding ‘Yes!’” 

Nearly 4,000 volunteers and more than 340 conservation and civic organizations statewide support Florida’s Water and Land Legacy. Almost 1 million Floridians have signed petitions.

For more information on the Water and Land Conservation amendment, visit FloridaWaterLandLegacy.org.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.