Arguments set in conservation funding case

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 1st District Court of Appeal will hear arguments July 16 in a long-running battle about whether state lawmakers properly carried out a 2014 constitutional amendment that required spending on land and water conservation.

The Tallahassee-based appeals court issued a two-page notice Tuesday scheduling the arguments.

Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson last year ruled that lawmakers had failed to properly comply with the voter-approved constitutional amendment, which required using money from a real-estate tax to bolster land and water conservation.

Environmental groups contended that lawmakers improperly diverted portions of the money to other expenses.

Attorneys for the House and Senate appealed, arguing, in part, that Dodson’s ruling would infringe on the Legislature’s authority to set spending priorities.