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Today on Context Florida: Surprise FDLE visit, Medicaid, Florida Forever and presidential primary

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Today on Context Florida:  Daniel Tilson recounts a surprise visit from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which claimed they received an anonymous tip on an alleged threatening Facebook comment about Gov. Scott. Tilson posted a link to an earlier Context Florida column about Scott’s tax-cutting propaganda gimmick this week, playfully (mockingly) titled Rick Scott’s Magical Mystery Tax Cut Calculator. The uncertain future of Medicaid financing has received much attention during the past few weeks of the legislative session, says State Sen.…

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Bruce Ritchie: Is House giving Florida Forever $205 million? Nope

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Words matter, or they should – at least for journalists. Not necessarily for politicians. Case in point: the Florida House leadership saying that it has $205 million in the proposed 2015-16 state budget for Florida Forever, the state’s land-buying program. Nope, not true. In fact, the House budget proposal doesn’t include a single dollar for Florida Forever, in my opinion, although it seems to have some for land acquisition. How much? We can’t be sure. Florida Forever actually is a…

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Rewind to 2013: Proposed House bill would allow adjacent landowners to acquire state land

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A proposed House committee bill being considered Thursday would require state park managers to allow “low-impact agriculture” on parks and allow adjacent landowners to acquire state land. The House State Affairs Committee, meeting at 1 p.m. today, will consider proposed committee bill SAC 15-02. In 2013, HB 33 by state Rep. Jimmie T. Smith, a Republican from Lecanto, also would have allowed an individual or corporate landowner to acquire state land by asking the Cabinet to approve a swap for…

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North Florida Land Trust howls over Amendment 1 funding

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Add Jacksonville’s North Florida Land Trust to the chorus of outrage over the Legislature’s proposal for the Amendment 1 budget. Amendment 1 passed overwhelmingly last November. The measure is designed to dedicate 33 percent of revenue from excise taxes to protect the state’s land and water resources. But now environmental groups like the NFLT are furious that the Senate is proposing to spend $714.2 million on Amendment 1, which is about $58 million less than the House proposed and $43 million…

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Arthenia Joyner filing budget amendment to boost land-buying

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State Sen. Arthenia Joyner of Tampa, the Senate Democratic leader, is filing a budget amendment to redirect $80 million toward the Florida Forever land-buying program and away from other purposes she said are not consistent with Amendment 1. Approved by 75 percent of voters in November, Amendment 1 is supposed to direct $742 million toward water and land conservation programs in the 2015-16 state budget. The Senate budget bill filed Friday provides $2 million for Florida Forever along with $20…

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Environmental groups criticize ‘hostility’ in Senate Amendment 1 spending proposal

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Environmental groups supporting Amendment 1 on Thursday criticized a Senate chairman’s spending proposal that provides $22 million for land acquisition. Amendment 1, approved by 75 percent of voters in November, provides an estimated $741.8 million in fiscal 2015-16 for water and land conservation programs. Sen. Alan Hays, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, on Thursday released a spending proposal that provides $20 million for Kissimmee River restoration land buying and $2 million for the Florida Forever land acquisition…

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Amendment 1 budget proposal prompts objections, heated exchange

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A Senate appropriations subcommittee chairman on Thursday presented a budget proposal that provides $22 million for land acquisition, prompting another Republican subcommittee member to charge that the proposal violated Amendment 1. Amendment 1 is a conservation spending initiative approved by 75 percent of voters in November. In 2015-16, the measure will provide $741.8 million, or 33 percent of documentary stamp revenue, for water and land conservation programs. State Sen. Alan Hays, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, recommended…

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