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Florida Constitution Revision Commission

PUB 700187: Conservation and Natural Resources by Loyal Millett

ARTICLE II: GENERAL PROVISIONS, Section 7. Natural resources and scenic beauty.

SECTION 7. Natural resources and scenic beauty.
  1. It shall be the policy of the state to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty. Adequate provision shall be made by law for the abatement of air and water pollution and of excessive and unnecessary noise and for the conservation and protection of natural resources.
  2. Those in the Everglades Agricultural Area who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection Area or the Everglades Agricultural Area shall be primarily responsible for paying the costs of the abatement of that pollution. For the purposes of this subsection, the terms "Everglades Protection Area" and "Everglades Agricultural Area" shall have the meanings as defined in statutes in effect on January 1, 1996.

ARTICLE II: GENERAL PROVISIONS, Section 7. Natural resources and scenic beauty.

SECTION 7. Natural resources and scenic beauty.
  1. It shall be the policy of the state to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty. Adequate provision shall be made by law for the abatement of air and water pollution and of excessive and unnecessary noise and for the conservation and protection of natural resources.
  2. Those in the Everglades Agricultural Area who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection Area or the Everglades Agricultural Area shall be primarily responsible for paying the costs of the abatement of that pollution. For the purposes of this subsection, the terms "Everglades Protection Area" and "Everglades Agricultural Area" shall have the meanings as defined in statutes in effect on January 1, 1996.

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, Section 9. Fish and wildlife conservation commission.

SECTION 9. Fish and wildlife conservation commission.

There shall be a fish and wildlife conservation commission, composed of seven members appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the senate for staggered terms of five years. The commission shall exercise the regulatory and executive powers of the state with respect to wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life, and shall also exercise regulatory and executive powers of the state with respect to marine life, except that all license fees for taking wild animal life, fresh water aquatic life, and marine life and penalties for violating regulations of the commission shall be prescribed by general law. The commission shall establish procedures to ensure adequate due process in the exercise of its regulatory and executive functions. The legislature may enact laws in aid of the commission, not inconsistent with this section, except that there shall be no special law or general law of local application pertaining to hunting or fishing. The commission's exercise of executive powers in the area of planning, budgeting, personnel management, and purchasing shall be as provided by law. Revenue derived from license fees for the taking of wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life shall be appropriated to the commission by the legislature for the purposes of management, protection, and conservation of wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life. Revenue derived from license fees relating to marine life shall be appropriated by the legislature for the purposes of management, protection, and conservation of marine life as provided by law. The commission shall not be a unit of any other state agency and shall have its own staff, which includes management, research, and enforcement. Unless provided by general law, the commission shall have no authority to regulate matters relating to air and water pollution.

ARTICLE VII: FINANCE AND TAXATION, Section 14. Bonds for pollution control and abatement and other water facilities.

SECTION 14. Bonds for pollution control and abatement and other water facilities.
  1. When authorized by law, state bonds pledging the full faith and credit of the state may be issued without an election to finance the construction of air and water pollution control and abatement and solid waste disposal facilities and other water facilities authorized by general law (herein referred to as "facilities") to be operated by any municipality, county, district or authority, or any agency thereof (herein referred to as "local governmental agencies"), or by any agency of the State of Florida. Such bonds shall be secured by a pledge of and shall be payable primarily from all or any part of revenues to be derived from operation of such facilities, special assessments, rentals to be received under lease-purchase agreements herein provided for, any other revenues that may be legally available for such purpose, including revenues from other facilities, or any combination thereof (herein collectively referred to as "pledged revenues"), and shall be additionally secured by the full faith and credit of the State of Florida.
  2. No such bonds shall be issued unless a state fiscal agency, created by law, has made a determination that in no state fiscal year will the debt service requirements of the bonds proposed to be issued and all other bonds secured by the pledged revenues exceed seventy-five per cent of the pledged revenues.
  3. The state may lease any of such facilities to any local governmental agency, under lease-purchase agreements for such periods and under such other terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed upon. The local governmental agencies may pledge the revenues derived from such leased facilities or any other available funds for the payment of rentals thereunder; and, in addition, the full faith and credit and taxing power of such local governmental agencies may be pledged for the payment of such rentals without any election of freeholder electors or qualified electors.
  4. The state may also issue such bonds for the purpose of loaning money to local governmental agencies, for the construction of such facilities to be owned or operated by any of such local governmental agencies. Such loans shall bear interest at not more than one-half of one per cent per annum greater than the last preceding issue of state bonds pursuant to this section, shall be secured by the pledged revenues, and may be additionally secured by the full faith and credit of the local governmental agencies.
  5. The total outstanding principal of state bonds issued pursuant to this section 14 shall never exceed fifty per cent of the total tax revenues of the state for the two preceding fiscal years.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 16. Limiting marine net fishing.

SECTION 16. Limiting marine net fishing.
  1. The marine resources of the State of Florida belong to all of the people of the state and should be conserved and managed for the benefit of the state, its people, and future generations. To this end the people hereby enact limitations on marine net fishing in Florida waters to protect saltwater finfish, shellfish, and other marine animals from unnecessary killing, overfishing and waste.
  2. For the purpose of catching or taking any saltwater finfish, shellfish or other marine animals in Florida waters:
    1. No gill nets or other entangling nets shall be used in any Florida waters; and
    2. In addition to the prohibition set forth in (1), no other type of net containing more than 500 square feet of mesh area shall be used in nearshore and inshore Florida waters. Additionally, no more than two such nets, which shall not be connected, shall be used from any vessel, and no person not on a vessel shall use more than one such net in nearshore and inshore Florida waters.
  3. For purposes of this section:
    1. "gill net" means one or more walls of netting which captures saltwater finfish by ensnaring or entangling them in the meshes of the net by the gills, and "entangling net" means a drift net, trammell net, stab net, or any other net which captures saltwater finfish, shellfish, or other marine animals by causing all or part of heads, fins, legs, or other body parts to become entangled or ensnared in the meshes of the net, but a hand thrown cast net is not a gill net or an entangling net;
    2. "mesh area" of a net means the total area of netting with the meshes open to comprise the maximum square footage. The square footage shall be calculated using standard mathematical formulas for geometric shapes. Seines and other rectangular nets shall be calculated using the maximum length and maximum width of the netting. Trawls and other bag type nets shall be calculated as a cone using the maximum circumference of the net mouth to derive the radius, and the maximum length from the net mouth to the tail end of the net to derive the slant height. Calculations for any other nets or combination type nets shall be based on the shapes of the individual components;
    3. "coastline" means the territorial sea base line for the State of Florida established pursuant to the laws of the United States of America;
    4. "Florida waters" means the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, and any other bodies of water under the jurisdiction of the State of Florida, whether coastal, intracoastal or inland, and any part thereof; and
    5. "nearshore and inshore Florida waters" means all Florida waters inside a line three miles seaward of the coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and inside a line one mile seaward of the coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.
  4. This section shall not apply to the use of nets for scientific research or governmental purposes.
  5. Persons violating this section shall be prosecuted and punished pursuant to the penalties provided in section 370.021(2)(a),(b),(c)6. and 7., and (e), Florida Statutes (1991), unless and until the legislature enacts more stringent penalties for violations hereof. On and after the effective date of this section, law enforcement officers in the state are authorized to enforce the provisions of this section in the same manner and authority as if a violation of this section constituted a violation of Chapter 370, Florida Statutes (1991).
  6. It is the intent of this section that implementing legislation is not required for enforcing any violations hereof, but nothing in this section prohibits the establishment by law or pursuant to law of more restrictions on the use of nets for the purpose of catching or taking any saltwater finfish, shellfish, or other marine animals.
  7. If any portion of this section is held invalid for any reason, the remaining portion of this section, to the fullest extent possible, shall be severed from the void portion and given the fullest possible force and application.
  8. This section shall take effect on the July 1 next occurring after approval hereof by vote of the electors.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 17. Everglades Trust Fund.

SECTION 17. Everglades Trust Fund.
  1. There is hereby established the Everglades Trust Fund, which shall not be subject to termination pursuant to Article III, Section 19(f). The purpose of the Everglades Trust Fund is to make funds available to assist in conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of water pollution in the Everglades Protection Area and the Everglades Agricultural Area. The trust fund shall be administered by the South Florida Water Management District, or its successor agency, consistent with statutory law.
  2. The Everglades Trust Fund may receive funds from any source, including gifts from individuals, corporations or other entities; funds from general revenue as determined by the Legislature; and any other funds so designated by the Legislature, by the United States Congress or by any other governmental entity.
  3. Funds deposited to the Everglades Trust Fund shall be expended for purposes of conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of water pollution in the Everglades Protection Area and Everglades Agricultural Area.
  4. For purposes of this subsection, the terms "Everglades Protection Area," "Everglades Agricultural Area" and "South Florida Water Management District" shall have the meanings as defined in statutes in effect on January 1, 1996.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 18. Disposition of conservation lands.

SECTION 18. Disposition of conservation lands.

The fee interest in real property held by an entity of the state and designated for natural resources conservation purposes as provided by general law shall be managed for the benefit of the citizens of this state and may be disposed of only if the members of the governing board of the entity holding title determine the property is no longer needed for conservation purposes and only upon a vote of two-thirds of the governing board.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 28. Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

SECTION 28. Land Acquisition Trust Fund.
  1. Effective on July 1 of the year following passage of this amendment by the voters, and for a period of 20 years after that effective date, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall receive no less than 33 percent of net revenues derived from the existing excise tax on documents, as defined in the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, as amended from time to time, or any successor or replacement tax, after the Department of Revenue first deducts a service charge to pay the costs of the collection and enforcement of the excise tax on documents.
  2. Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes:
    1. As provided by law, to finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land, water areas, and related property interests, including conservation easements, and resources for conservation lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat; wildlife management areas; lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II, Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space; rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational enjoyment of conservation lands.
    2. To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to Article VII, Section 11(e).
  3. The moneys deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as defined by the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, shall not be or become commingled with the general revenue fund of the state.

NEW ARTICLE

Title: CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES

We, the People of the State of Florida, recognize and take pride in our State's unique natural beauty and her wildlife. We also recognize that Florida's natural beauty and her wildlife are highly fragile and susceptible to degradation, erosion, and pollution, and several species of wildlife, including the Florida Panther, are endangered and nearing extinction.

We, therefore, declare it is the duty of every Floridian to use all resources and means possible to preserve and protect Florida's natural beauty and her wildlife for generations to come.

 

Section 1, Natural resources and scenic beauty.

 

(a) It shall be the policy of the State to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty. Adequate provision shall be made by law for the abatement of air and water pollution and of excessive and unnecessary noise and for the conservation and protection of natural resources.

(b) Those in the Everglades Agricultural Area who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection Area or the Everglades Agricultural Area shall be primarily responsible for paying the costs of the abatement of that pollution. For the purposes of this subsection, the terms "Everglades Protection Area" and "Everglades Agricultural Area" shall have the meanings as defined in statutes in effect on January 1, 1996.

 

 

Section 2. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

(a) There shall be a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, composed of seven members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate for staggered terms of five years.

(b) The commission shall exercise the regulatory and executive powers of the State with respect to wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life, and shall also exercise regulatory and executive powers of the State with respect to marine life, except that all license fees for taking wild animal life, fresh water aquatic life, and marine life and penalties for violating regulations of the commission shall be prescribed by general law. The commission shall establish procedures to ensure adequate due process in the exercise of its regulatory and executive functions. The Legislature may enact laws in aid of the commission, not inconsistent with this section, except that there shall be no special law or general law of local application pertaining to hunting or fishing. The commission's exercise of executive powers in the area of planning, budgeting, personnel management, and purchasing shall be as provided by law. Revenue derived from license fees for the taking of wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life shall be appropriated to the commission by the legislature for the purposes of management, protection, and conservation of wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life. Revenue derived from license fees relating to marine life shall be appropriated by the Legislature for the purposes of management, protection, and conservation of marine life as provided by law.

(c) The commission shall not be a unit of any other state agency and shall have its own staff, which includes management, research, and enforcement. Unless provided by general law, the commission shall have no authority to regulate matters relating to air and water pollution.

 

Section 3. Bonds for pollution control and abatement and other water facilities.

 

(a) When authorized by law, state bonds pledging the full faith and credit of the state may be issued without an election to finance the construction of air and water pollution control and abatement and solid waste disposal facilities and other water facilities authorized by general law (herein referred to as "facilities") to be operated by any municipality, county, district or authority, or any agency thereof (herein referred to as "local governmental agencies"), or by any agency of the State of Florida. Such bonds shall be secured by a pledge of and shall be payable primarily from all or any part of revenues to be derived from operation of such facilities, special assessments, rentals to be received under lease-purchase agreements herein provided for, any other revenues that may be legally available for such purpose, including revenues from other facilities, or any combination thereof (herein collectively referred to as "pledged revenues"), and shall be additionally secured by the full faith and credit of the State of Florida.

(b) No such bonds shall be issued unless a state fiscal agency, created by law, has made a determination that in no state fiscal year will the debt service requirements of the bonds proposed to be issued and all other bonds secured by the pledged revenues exceed seventy-five per cent of the pledged revenues.

(c) The state may lease any of such facilities to any local governmental agency, under lease-purchase agreements for such periods and under such other terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed upon. The local governmental agencies may pledge the revenues derived from such leased facilities or any other available funds for the payment of rentals thereunder; and, in addition, the full faith and credit and taxing power of such local governmental agencies may be pledged for the payment of such rentals without any election of freeholder electors or qualified electors.

(d) The state may also issue such bonds for the purpose of loaning money to local governmental agencies, for the construction of such facilities to be owned or operated by any of such local governmental agencies. Such loans shall bear interest at not more than one-half of one per cent per annum greater than the last preceding issue of state bonds pursuant to this section, shall be secured by the pledged revenues, and may be additionally secured by the full faith and credit of the local governmental agencies.

 

 

Section 4. Everglades Trust Fund.

 

(a) There is hereby established the Everglades Trust Fund, which shall not be subject to termination pursuant to Article III, Section 19(f). The purpose of the Everglades Trust Fund is to make funds available to assist in conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of water pollution in the Everglades Protection Area and the Everglades Agricultural Area. The trust fund shall be administered by the South Florida Water Management District, or its successor agency, consistent with statutory law.

(b) The Everglades Trust Fund may receive funds from any source, including gifts from individuals, corporations or other entities; funds from general revenue as determined by the Legislature; and any other funds so designated by the Legislature, by the United States Congress or by any other governmental entity.

(c) Funds deposited to the Everglades Trust Fund shall be expended for purposes of conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of water pollution in the Everglades Protection Area and Everglades Agricultural Area.

(d) For purposes of this subsection, the terms "Everglades Protection Area," "Everglades Agricultural Area" and "South Florida Water Management District" shall have the meanings as defined in statutes in effect on January 1, 1996.

 

Section 5. Limiting marine net fishing.

 

(a) The marine resources of the State of Florida belong to all of the people of the state and should be conserved and managed for the benefit of the state, its people, and future generations. To this end the people hereby enact limitations on marine net fishing in Florida waters to protect saltwater finfish, shellfish, and other marine animals from unnecessary killing, overfishing and waste.

(b) For the purpose of catching or taking any saltwater finfish, shellfish or other marine animals in Florida waters:

(1) No gill nets or other entangling nets shall be used in any Florida waters; and

(2) In addition to the prohibition set forth in (1), no other type of net containing more than 500 square feet of mesh area shall be used in nearshore and inshore Florida waters. Additionally, no more than two such nets, which shall not be connected, shall be used from any vessel, and no person not on a vessel shall use more than one such net in nearshore and inshore Florida waters.

(c) For the purposes of this section:

(1) "gill net" means one or more walls of netting which captures saltwater finfish by ensnaring or entangling them in the meshes of the net by the gills, and "entangling net" means a drift net, trammell net, stab net, or any other net which captures saltwater finfish, shellfish, or other marine animals by causing all or part of heads, fins, legs, or other body parts to become entangled or ensnared in the meshes of the net, but a hand thrown cast net is not a gill net or an entangling net;

(2) "mesh area" of a net means the total area of netting with the meshes open to comprise the maximum square footage. The square footage shall be calculated using standard mathematical formulas for meometric shapes. Seines and other rectangular nets shall be calculated using the maximum length and maximum width of the netting. Trawls and other bag type nets shall be calculated as a cone using the maximum circumference of the net mouth to derive the radius, and the maximum length from the net mouth to the tail end of the net to derive the slant height. Calculations for any other nets or combination type nets shall be based on the shapes of the individual components:

(I) "coastline" means the territorial sea base line for the State of Florida established pursuant to the laws of the United States of America;

(II) "Florida waters" means the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, and any other bodies of water under the jurisdiction of the State of Florida, whether coastal, intracoastal or inland, and any part thereof; and

 

(III) "coastline" means the territorial sea base line for the State of Florida established pursuant to the laws of the United States of America;

(IV) "Florida waters" means the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, and any other bodies of water under the jurisdiction of the State of Florida, whether coastal, intracoastal or inland, and any part thereof; and

(V) "nearshore and inshore Florida waters" means all Florida waters inside a line three miles seaward of the coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and inside a line one mile seaward of the coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.

(d) This section shall not apply to the use of nets for scientific research or governmental purposes.

(e) Persons violating this section shall be prosecuted and punished pursuant to the penalties provided in section 370.021(2)(a),(b),(c)6. and 7., and (e), Florida Statutes (1991), unless and until the legislature enacts more stringent penalties for violations hereof. On and after the effective date of this section, law enforcement officers in the state are authorized to enforce the provisions of this section in the same manner and authority as if a violation of this section constituted a violation of Chapter 370, Florida Statutes (1991).

(f) It is the intent of this section that implementing legislation is not required for enforcing any violations hereof, but nothing in this section prohibits the establishment by law or pursuant to law of more restrictions on the use of nets for the purpose of catching or taking any saltwater finfish, shellfish, or other marine animals.

(g) If any portion of this section is held invalid for any reason, the remaining portion of this section, to the fullest extent possible, shall be severed from the void portion and given the fullest possible force and application.

 

Section 6. Disposition of conservation lands.

The fee interest in real property held by an entity of the State and designated for natural resources conservation purposes as provided by general law shall be managed for the benefit of the citizens of this State and may be disposed of only if the members of the governing board of the entity holding title determine the property is no longer needed for conservation purposes and only upon a vote of two-thirds of the governing board.

 

Section 7. Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

 

(a) Effective on July 1 of the year following passage of this amendment by the voters, and for a period of 20 years after that effective date, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall receive no less than 33 percent of net revenues derived from the existing excise tax on documents, as defined in the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, as amended from time to time, or any successor or replacement tax, after the Department of Revenue first deducts a service charge to pay the costs of the collection and enforcement of the excise tax on documents.

(b) Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes:

(1) As provided by law, to finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land, water areas, and related property interests, including conservation easements, and resources for conservation lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat; wildlife management areas; land that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II, Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space; rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational enjoyment of conservation lands.

(2) To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to Article VII, Section 11(e).

(c) The moneys deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as defined by the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, shall not be or become commingled with the general revenue fund of the State.

 

Section 8. Dedicated Funds.

(a) There is established within the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

(1) the ARTIFICIAL REEF DEVELOPMENT FUND: which shall be responsible for the siting and development of artificial reefs within the coastal waters of Florida, as well as for monitoring and evaluating such reefs and their recreational, economic, and biological effectiveness.

(2) the SAVE THE MANATEE TRUST FUND: which shall be responsible for managing and protecting existing manatee populations by increasing manatee food sources where food is a limiting factor, determining conflicts between public use and manatee survival, maintaining sufficient genetic variability in existing populations, and undertaking management and enforcement activities that protect manatee habitat.

(3) the SAVE THE FLORIDA PANTHER TRUST FUND (formerly known as the "Florida Panther Research and Management Trust Fund"): which shall be responsible for managing and protecting existing Florida Panther populations by increasing panther food sources where food is a limiting factor, determining conflicts between public use and panther survival, maintaining sufficient genetic variability in existing populations, and undertaking management and enforcement activities that protect panther habitat.

(4) the FLORIDA COASTAL PROTECTION TRUST FUND: which shall be responsible for the prevention of, and cleanup and rehabilitation after, a pollutant discharge, to prevent further damage by the pollutant, and to pay for damages.

(b) The Commission is hereby authorized to receive donations for deposit into the aforesaid funds. Additional funding for the funds shall be provided by law. Additional dedicated funds within the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission may be established by law.