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Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government

Senate recommends $3.6 billion for environmental agencies in 2016-17 budget

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Florida environmental agencies will have about $3.6 billion to spend in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, based on recommendations from the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government. Put together by Umatilla Republican Sen. Alan Hays, the committee released its budget recommendations Thursday, reports LobbyTools. Among other things, Hays’ budget provides $1.5 billion to the Department of Environmental Protection, $1.7 billion to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service, $384.8 million to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and $41.9 million to the Department of Citrus. The Senate’s…

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Senate bill amended to ban fracking during study, rule-making

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A bill that would regulate oil and gas hydraulic fracturing was amended by a Senate committee on Tuesday to place a moratorium on the activity until after a study is completed in 2016. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “high-pressure well-stimulation” or “fracking,” is a process involving the use of water, sand and chemicals to extract oil and gas from rock. Supporters say SB 1468 is needed to provide regulation for fracking like that which occurred in 2013 in Collier County. The Florida Department…

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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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DEP’s Jon Steverson wants to cut down more trees and do it faster

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Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jon Steverson told a Senate panel this week he wants to cut and sell more trees from state parks — and do it faster. Citing other states that have increased revenue from timber sales on state land, Steverson told senators he is working to make Florida’s state parks financially self-sustaining. “I want to do it better, I want to do it faster, I want to do it as quickly as I possibly can,” he…

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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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