Florida Lawmakers Try to Divert Conservation Funds

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Two years after Florida voters overwhelmingly endorsed a trust fund expected to raise $10 billion over two decades to save the state’s stalled conservation efforts, lawmakers are again proposing spending a big chunk of it on more mundane matters like risk management insurance.

In twin bills that lawmakers will hammer out this week in Tallahassee, only a fraction of the $880 million allocated under the Amendment 1 constitutional measure is slotted for conserving new land. Instead, lawmakers divvied up the money to cover salaries —including paychecks for the entire staff of the state’s forestry service — and shifted much of the costs covered by the state’s general fund to the trust.

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