A Florida judge agrees with environmentalists that lawmakers didn't follow the wishes of voters who overwhelmingly approved a land preservation proposal

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge agrees with environmentalists that lawmakers didn’t follow the wishes of voters who overwhelmingly approved a land preservation proposal.

Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled from the bench Friday that the state was using money voters dedicated to conservation land purchases and their management for other purposes.

The ruling came before a scheduled July trial.

In 2014, 75 percent of voters supported a constitutional amendment to dedicate 33 percent of an existing real estate tax for land preservation, or roughly a billion dollars a year.

Several environmental groups joined together to sue the state, claiming that it was using money on state agency operations and salaries instead of land acquisition.