Environmental group Earthjustice is suing the Florida Legislature and its leaders over their budget's use of money set aside for conservation by Amendment 1.
The lawsuit filed in Leon County on Monday against Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli alleges that almost half of the Amendment 1 money in the budget is being used for purposes that aren't permitted under state law.
“The Legislature did not do what the amendment requires,” Florida Wildlife Federation president Manley Fuller said in a statement. “Seventy-five percent of Florida voters approved this amendment last November, and they were clear that they want the state to buy conservation land. Instead, the Legislature took the money and used it for things it should not be spent on. This is a slap in the face to Florida voters, and it should not stand.”
The issue has drawn significant controversy since 75 percent of voters supported Amendment 1 last November. The amendment directs more than $700 million to be spent on conservation.
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The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, and the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida.