BRADENTON – Florida’s Water and Land Legacy announced Thursday that their Water and Land Conservation constitutional amendment has surpassed the statewide signature requirement to be placed on the November 2014 ballot. The day before, famed For the People attorney John Morgan's group, United for Care, announced that it had also met the threshold and expects to see its medical marijuana referendum on the ballot as well.
Florida’s Water and Land Legacy says that 685,971 signatures from Florida voters supporting the amendment have been validated by Supervisors of Elections throughout the state, and that the constitutional amendment has been qualified in 15 of Florida’s 27 congressional districts, clearing its final hurdles to placement on the November ballot.
“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 campaign’s chair in a statement. "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.”
The Water and Land Conservation amendment would dedicate funding for conservation, management, and restoration of Florida’s water and land resources for 20 years. The amendment, which if approved by the voters would take effect July 1, 2015, sets aside one-third of the existing documentary stamp tax (paid when real estate is sold) to restore the Everglades, protect drinking water sources, and revive the state’s historic commitment 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 any tax increase.
United for Care says it has collected more than 1.1 million signatures and will stop paying people to gather them this week. Election officials are continuing to process the latest petitions submitted to see whether the group has reached the minimum 683,149 valid signatures the law requires.
"This is an enormous achievement," said campaign director Ben Pollara in a statement, "but even though we still await the ruling of the state Supreme Court, we need to get right back to work. We must shift this now into campaign mode - and help educate the millions of Florida voters who will hopefully be allowed to have a choice in November."
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