(1) There is created the Acquisition and Restoration Council.
(a) The council shall be composed of 10 voting members, 4 of whom shall be appointed by the Governor. Of these four appointees, three shall be from scientific disciplines related to land, water, or environmental sciences and the fourth shall have at least 5 years of experience in managing lands for both active and passive types of recreation. They shall serve 4-year terms, except that, initially, to provide for staggered terms, two of the appointees shall serve 2-year terms. All subsequent appointments shall be for 4-year terms. An appointee may not serve more than 6 years. The Governor may at any time fill a vacancy for the unexpired term of a member appointed under this paragraph.
(b) The four remaining appointees shall be composed of the Secretary of Environmental Protection, the director of the Florida Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the executive director of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the director of the Division of Historical Resources of the Department of State, or their respective designees.
(c) One member shall be appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture with a discipline related to agriculture including silviculture. One member shall be appointed by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with a discipline related to wildlife management or wildlife ecology.
(d) The Governor shall appoint the chair of the council, and a vice chair shall be elected from among the members.
(e) The council shall hold periodic meetings at the request of the chair.
(f) The Department of Environmental Protection shall provide primary staff support to the council and shall ensure that council meetings are electronically recorded. Such recording shall be preserved pursuant to chapters 119 and 257.
(g) The board of trustees has authority to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this section. (2) The four members of the council appointed pursuant to paragraph (a) and the two members of the council appointed pursuant to paragraph (c) shall receive reimbursement for expenses and per diem for travel, to attend council meetings, as allowed state officers and employees while in the performance of their duties, pursuant to s. 112.061. (3) The council shall provide assistance to the board in reviewing the recommendations and plans for state-owned conservation lands required under s. 253.034 and this chapter. The council shall, in reviewing such plans, consider the optimization of multiple-use and conservation strategies to accomplish the provisions funded pursuant to former s. 259.101(3)(a), Florida Statutes 2014, and to s. 259.105(3)(b). (4)(a) By December 1, 2016, the council shall develop rules defining specific criteria and numeric performance measures needed for lands that are to be acquired for public purpose under the Florida Forever program pursuant to s. 259.105 or with funds deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund pursuant to s. 28(a), Art. X of the State Constitution. These rules shall be reviewed and adopted by the board, then submitted to the Legislature for consideration by February 1, 2017. The Legislature may reject, modify, or take no action relative to the proposed rules. If no action is taken, the rules shall be implemented. Subsequent to their approval, each recipient of funds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall annually report to the department on each of the numeric performance measures accomplished during the previous fiscal year. (b) In developing or amending rules, the council shall give weight to the criteria included in s. 259.105(9). The board of trustees shall review the recommendations and shall adopt rules necessary to administer this section.
(5) An affirmative vote of five members of the council is required in order to change a project boundary or to place a proposed project on a list developed pursuant to subsection (4). Any member of the council who by family or a business relationship has a connection with all or a portion of any proposed project shall declare the interest before voting on its inclusion on a list.
(6) The proposal for a project pursuant to this section or s. 259.105(3)(b) may be implemented only if adopted by the council and approved by the board of trustees. The council shall consider and evaluate in writing the merits and demerits of each project that is proposed for acquisition using funds available pursuant to s. 28, Art. X of the State Constitution or Florida Forever funding and shall ensure that each proposed project meets the requirements of s. 28, Art. X of the State Constitution. The council also shall determine whether the project conforms, where applicable, with the comprehensive plan developed pursuant to s. 259.04(1)(a), the comprehensive multipurpose outdoor recreation plan developed pursuant to s. 375.021, the state lands management plan adopted pursuant to s. 253.03(7), the water resources work plans developed pursuant to s. 373.199, and the provisions of s. 259.032, s. 259.101, or s. 259.105, whichever is applicable.