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Florida lawmaker seeks to target money to hard-hit counties

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Money voters designated for land and water projects would help the recovery effort from Hurricane Michael, under a bill proposed Friday.

The measure (SB 376) by Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, would designate at least $50 million a year from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to counties -- Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Wakulla, Walton and Washington -- that sustained damage in the October hurricane.

The trust fund receives money under a 2014 constitutional amendment that required setting aside a portion of documentary-stamp taxes for land and water conservation.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis directed the state Division of Emergency Management to speed money to Panhandle communities that are being swamped financially by “massive” amounts of debris from Hurricane Michael.

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