Poliy & Legislative Committee STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

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Karina

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on: October 28, 2006, 01:08:58 AM
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE OF THE POLICY and LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE (herein known as "the Committee")

   To assist our Board of Directors in determining if an issue is of significant statewide impact to merit action or statement on the part of FNPS. This determination will be based on how closely the issue fits within the FNPS mission “to preserve, conserve and restore native plants and native plant communities”

DISCUSSION OF COMMITTEE PURPOSE

The power of any group lies in its ability to focus and advocate for the most far-reaching and significant topics within its area of expertise. Once focused, collaborations with other groups of like mind, but of different areas of knowledge become possible and powerful. Conversely, the power to affect events is lost if a group strays too far from its knowledge base and fragments the group’s advocacy effectiveness.
   FNPS can best serve preservation, conservation and restoration of native plants and native plant habitats by bringing the discussion of statewide issues to the FNPS Board of Directors. While supportive of our chapters in their local endeavors, the Society can better serve all FNPS members by focusing on issues that have regional or statewide ramifications. Therefore, it’s not any plant, any time, any where, but rather all plants within the larger context of natural systems throughout Florida.
   We hope that our membership participates in this process by bringing topics to our attention that meet these criteria. We welcome your input.

PROCEDURE FOR ARRIVING AT DETERMINATION THAT AN ISSUE IS OF STATEWIDE SIGNIFICANCE

•   Upon receiving a request for consideration, the Committee will meet or a conference call will be arranged to discuss the issue. Committee members must receive relevant information prior to this meeting/call.
•   If the Committee feels it is necessary, a Vetting Team (those with special knowledge on the issue) can be formed to consider the issue under the auspices of the Committee.
•   The Committee (or the Executive Director at the request of the Committee) is responsible for sending the Vetting Committee all available and relevant information on an issue and providing a requested response date.
•   The Vetting Committee reports its conclusions and findings to the Committee, which then makes a determination on statewide significance
•    Both the Committee and the Vetting Committee may work with the Executive Director to access relevant information and resources.
•   The Committee will determine the following recommendations about each issue:
      1. Tabled (no decision, target date set to revisit the issue)
      2. No Action (issue is not approved for Society level action)
      3. Eco-Alert (the issue is accepted for Society action)
   
•   If the Committee determines its recommendation will be an Eco-Alert, it is the Committee's responsibility to outline a general course of action to the FNPS Executive Committee. The outline may include a general policy statement and a call to action for the membership and suggested actions.
•   However, it is not the responsibility of the Committee to develop a full program of specific action items like letters, website descriptions, e-mail alerts, recommended letter writing points, or any other specific actions. It is the responsibility of the Committee to develop FNPS organizational policy – not an advocacy program. We encourage the membership to work with the Executive Director to develop a specific advocacy program for an issue.
•   In all determinations, the Committee recommendations are to be accompanied by a written summary of the issue, research involved in the determination, including input from Vetting Committee, if available, and from members and chapters if provided to the committee.
•   The committee makes recommendations to the Executive Committee of the FNPS Board of Directors, who then present their decision and recommended action to the full Board of Directors of the Florida Native Plant Society.

GENERAL AREAS CONSIDERED TO BE OF STATEWIDE SIGNIFICANCE:

1.   Any Florida legislative action that affects our state environmental land acquisition program known as Florida Forever, which includes Florida Communities Trust and/or any other state agency funded through Florida Forever (DEP). This includes, but is not limited to, any legislation affecting funding of the program. It also includes the urgent necessity to continue the Florida Forever program beyond its sunset of 2010.

2.   All state and local land acquisition efforts for preservation and conservation.

3.   Any statewide policy changes that enhance improve or further natural resource system protection within recognized preserves and/or reserve or state park refuge.

4.   Development issues that are regional or have statewide significance in that they affect a change in Florida policy towards land acquisition, natural resource systems or waters of the state. But only if the issue clearly relates to the FNPS mission to preserve, conserve and restore native plants and native plant communities.

5.   Any state legislative, state agency or state university action that would affect the viability (or lack thereof) of native plants and native plant communities. This includes, but is not limited to, state policy on exotic invasive species, water conservation, listed plant species, and cataloging of native plant communities.

GENERAL AREAS CONSIDERED NOT TO BE OF STATEWIDE SIGNIFICANCE:

1.   Issues that are primarily related to managing the way a local jurisdiction grows or the methods it uses to plan growth. Unless it can be shown to meet criteria number four in the previous section.
2.   Issues that are primarily transportation related unless the issue is of at least regional significance and would impact an established preserve/reserve/state park refuge/or a functional ecologically sensitive ecosystem.

3.   Issues that involve local jurisdictional ordinances or land development codes.

FNPS ORGANIZATION POLICY EFFECT ON LOCAL CHAPTERS

Please note that the Committee is insistent that any issue deemed an Eco-Alert must represent the mission of FNPS. Other organizations do a wonderful job of alerting the public to conservation issues on a national and global level. The intent of the Committee is to alert our membership to issues that directly impact the preservation, conservation and restoration of Florida native plants and their natural communities.
•   The above FNPS policies and procedures DO NOT preclude a local FNPS chapter from advocating for a local issue. However, our (and your) IRS tax status of 501 (c) (3) specifically prevents FNPS and its chapters from supporting, endorsing and/or campaigning for any political candidate. It also specifically prevents FNPS from being a political action committee (PAC).
•   The FNPS stated purpose is to accomplish our mission to preserve, conserve and restore native plant and native plant communities primarily through scientific research and public education.
•   It is recommended that advocacy by local chapters emphasize information, science and education of all involved parties.
•   Although FNPS chapters can advocate for a local issue, at no time may a chapter or member represent FNPS unless the Board of Directors has declared an official position.
•   The Society encourages each chapter to develop a procedure similar to this for determining if an issue is of significance to your chapter.
 
CRITERIA FOR RAISING A LOCAL ISSUE TO STATEWIDE AWARENESS

   We hope that our membership will bring issues to the Committee for consideration. If you wish to have your issue considered, please answer the following questions in writing and submit to Committee Member: Ben Mercadante by email at natives01@earthlink.net

1.   Issues must be of a specific nature. What is your issue? Please describe.

2.   How does your issue specifically affect the preservation, conservation and/or restoration of native plants and/or native plant communities?

3.   For an issue to be declared by the Society as having statewide significance, it must affect more than your local jurisdiction. What is it about your issue that you believe makes it of statewide significance?

4.   What action would you expect from FNPS should this issue be determined of statewide significance?

5.   What action will you and your local chapter take should this issue be determined of statewide significance?
Karina Veaudry