With less than two weeks until the end of Florida’s annual legislative session, lawmakers continue to advance legislation (HB 7089/ SB 7086) aimed at implementing a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for up to 1.5 million former felons.
In the 2018 election, Florida voters approved Amendment Four, which restores the voting rights of to up to 1.5 million ex-felons in the state who have completed all terms of their sentence and who were not convicted of murder or felony sex crimes.
The implementation bills supported by Republican lawmakers would demand payment of fines and fees associated with a felony sentencing before voting rights could be restored. Opponents of those proposals have likened such restrictions to a poll tax and say the amendment passed by voters is designed to be self-executing.
Lawmakers in the Florida House debated the legislation late into the night, Tuesday, and may vote on the bill today. The Senate version of the bill passed its final committee stop Tuesday and now heads to the Senate floor.