Court gives OK to environmental funding measure

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court is signing off on a proposed state constitutional amendment that would earmark $10 billion in state funds over 20 years for land and water conservation.

The court ruled Thursday the wording of the amendment complies with state requirements.

Backers of the conservation measure say they have collected signatures from more than 385,000 voters so far. They will need to collect more than 683,000 signatures by February in order to make the 2014 ballot.

Sixty percent of voters must yes for the amendment to pass.

Environmental groups are pushing the amendment because the Republican-led Legislature cut spending on conservation programs due to dwindling state revenues.

The amendment would not raise taxes but would instead use an existing real estate tax to pay for the program.

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