Tampa Bay Times: Written by News Service of Florida. June 15, 2018.
Striking a blow to the Legislature, a Tallahassee judge said state lawmakers failed to comply with a voter-approved constitutional amendment to buy and preserve environmentally sensitive lands.
Ruling from the bench Friday, Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with environmental groups in the lawsuit centered on whether lawmakers "defied" the 2014 Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative by improperly diverting portions of the money to such expenses as staffing — allegations legislative leaders have repeatedly disputed as they continued to make such budget allocations.
David Guest — a lawyer representing the Florida Wildlife Federation, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, the Sierra Club and Florida Wildlife Federation President Manley Fuller — called Dodson's Friday bench ruling a "100 percent victory."