UPDATED: 2019-03-21 12:00 PM
This week, a Florida House panel approved a bill that would require former felons to pay fees and fines before having their voting rights restored.
This immediately prompted criticism from voting rights advocates and those who say it undermines a new Amendment that focuses on restoring that very right and unfairly punishes those who are unable to pay and undermine the central objective of the amendment: ending permanent disenfranchisement.
However supporters of the bill contend that it’s meant to clarify and resolve questions that arise as a result of the new Amendment.
Since it’s effective date in January, the Amendment has caused some confusion. For example, it did not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, stirring questions about which crimes should be counted in those categories.
The bill, which would also clarify the relevant offenses, passed the subcommittee with a vote of 10 to 5, split along party lines — Democrats opposed.