600 people a day on average enter the state and don’t leave. Last year more than 2 hundred thousand people began calling Florida home.
For decades, Florida has had an aggressive land buying program to conserve land and protect water resources. But the program has been almost nonexistent for at least three years.
In April, a coalition of more than a dozen environmental groups began collecting petitions. The petitions were to require the state to spend a third of the money it gets from land sales, known as Doc Stamps, on land conservation.
Charles Pattison is with the group 1000 Friends of Florida. "I think people feel this is the only way to get the issue back in front of the public and expect a positive result."
So far, more than two hundred thousand signatures have been gathered. Eric Draper of Audubon of Florida says most Floridians support land conservation. "If it means raising taxes, they vote yes. I mean the record of local land acquisition referenda is almost a hundred percent successful."
Volunteer efforts spiked after lawmakers ordered some protected lands be sold before new lands can be purchased. Petition Field Director Aliki Moncrief, "It gives people who care about this campaign a very concrete and real understanding of what's at stake, why we are fighting so hard."
More than 600 thousand signatures must be verified by February. Despite this tremendous success of volunteers gathering signatures, the organization just hired paid signature gathers.
The amendment will appear on the November 2014 ballot if enough signatures are verified.
No one opposed the amendment in briefs that were filed before the Florida Supreme Court. The court is expected to have a decision on whether the amendment meets constitutional guide lines by the end of the month.