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Process starts for Amendment 1 structure changes

The early steps of implementing Amendment 1 have started, but there's a long way to go. 

Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, filed legislation Friday to restructure state funds that provide for buying and maintaining land for conservation, in accordance with the constitutional amendment, which passed in November. 

In a news release, Senate President Andy Gardiner said the fund restructuring will not affect which conservation programs receive funds. A bold-face sentence in the release makes that clear:

"The legislation does not eliminate a single program currently receiving state funding, nor does it allocate funding to any new or existing program, project, or initiative." 

There's still work to be done, though. The six bills put forward by Dean (S.B. 584, 586, 576, 578, 580 and 582) deal solely with fund structure, not with funding decisions or policy. 

Those issues -- which have generated enough public interest to bring in more than 3,800 public comments -- will be dealt with in the next few weeks as legislation works through committees.