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felon voting rights

Felons voting rights
Daniel Rivero WLRN

Gov. Ron DeSantis asked an appeals court Friday to continue preventing felons from voting while the state appeals a federal judge’s finding that a law requiring indigent felons to pay “legal financial obligations” to be eligible to vote is unconstitutional.

Florida health officials say they can’t release information about how many people have been tested for COVID-19, the coronavirus, but have confirmed there have been no confirmed cases in the state. On this week's roundup we looked at what listeners need to know about the virus, and the flu this year along with the ongoing fight over Amendment 4.

Court: Florida Can't Implement Amendment 4, Bar Felons From Vote Over Fines, Fees

Feb 19, 2020
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

A U.S. appeals court opinion unanimously upheld a Florida-based federal judge’s preliminary injunction ruling that the state cannot restrict ex-felons from voting based on financial ability to pay fines and fees.

Florida Courts Struggle To Collect Fines Owed By Ex-Felons

Feb 11, 2020

After serving two stints in Florida prison in the 1990s for felony theft and cocaine possession, Ryan Cherry returned home to his family in Orlando to start his own air conditioning business.

DeSantis' Lawyers Face Tough Amendment 4 Questions From Appeals Court Judges

Jan 29, 2020
GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE

U.S. appeals court judges challenged lawyers for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with tough questions Tuesday about limiting the voting rights of felons who have not yet paid their criminal court fines.

Weeks Before Registration Deadline, Amendment 4 Is Still A Mess In Florida

Jan 27, 2020

Lee Hoffman lost his right to vote back in 1978.

He got it back when Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2018 restoring the voting rights to nearly 1.4 million ex-felons.

Fees, Fines For Ex-Felons; Legal Recreational Marijuana

Jan 17, 2020

On Friday's Roundup, we discussed the Florida Supreme Court ruling that former felons have to first finish paying any fines and fees they still owe before they can vote. Also, voters will not get to decide the fate of recreational marijuana, but state lawmakers might.

On an afternoon in November, 17 people from across Miami-Dade County gathered in a Miami courtroom to have their voting rights restored. The hearing would be an early indication that party politics are playing a role in how a controversial state law is being rolled out.

State and federal courts are expected in 2020 to grapple with high-profile Florida issues, ranging from felons’ voting rights to medical marijuana.

Here are snapshots of five key legal issues to watch in the new year:

Democrats Criticize GOP On Amendment 4

Dec 15, 2019
tweet from Nikki Fried
twitter

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the state’s top elected Democrat, and a handful of Democratic presidential candidates spent time Friday on Twitter slamming Gov. Ron DeSantis over the way the state is carrying out last year’s Amendment 4.

Ocala dramatically blocked its newly elected councilman from taking office Tuesday night over a 33-year-old felony cocaine conviction. The case is believed to be the first time a Florida politician has been disqualified after an election because of serious crimes.

A federal judge on Tuesday excoriated lawyers representing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration, accusing the state of trying to "run out the clock" to keep felons from voting in next year's elections.

John Legend Lends Support As Florida Felons Get Voting Rights

Nov 10, 2019
People casting their votes at polling booths
WUSF Staff

Singer John Legend was on hand to lend support Friday as 18 former felons were granted the right to vote in what Miami officials called a simple and streamlined process.

Cheers erupted in a Miami-Dade County courtroom on Friday, as more than a dozen people with felony convictions had their right to vote restored by a judge.

The mass court hearing was part of a brand new process created by the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, along with Miami-Dade’s offices of the State Attorney, the Public Defender, and the Clerk of Courts.

The Florida Supreme Court began considering Wednesday whether a voter-approved constitutional amendment restoring the voting rights of felons who complete their sentences means they also have to pay court-ordered fines, fees and restitution.

Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee has sent a memo to county elections supervisors with direction about complying with a federal judge’s ruling on felons’ voting rights --- but questions remain about how the state will move forward. 

Amendment 4 restored voting rights to more than a million Florida residents with a felony conviction.

Calling the process “an administrative nightmare,” a federal judge on Tuesday urged the Florida Legislature to revamp a state law aimed at carrying out a constitutional amendment that restores voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.

A federal judge is considering whether Florida lawmakers exceeded their authority by requiring former felons to pay fines and settle other legal debts as a condition of regaining their right to vote.

Newly filed court records are shedding light on the closely watched federal court case relating to voting rights for people with felony convictions. Several groups filed lawsuits against state and local officials after Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law tying the right to vote to paying all the fines and fees related to a felony conviction.

Florida's Republican governor on Friday asked the state's high court to rule on whether convicted felons must pay all fines and fees before getting their voting rights restored in a move that competes with ongoing litigation in federal court on that same question.

Under an order from Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida counties will be required to provide Spanish and English ballots.
Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

By Associated Press

As a group of felons challenge a new Florida law that requires them to pay all fines and fees before getting their voting rights restored, their attorneys say they need a court decision well before this fall's off-year elections.

DeSantis To Sign Felons’ Voting Measure

May 8, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he will sign a controversial measure that would require repayment of financial obligations before felons’ voting rights are restored. 

Desmond Meade and Neil Volz, who work for a political committee that propelled the amendment to victory in November, called the measure “disheartening” and “disappointing.”
News Service of Florida

With two men who’ve become the faces of Amendment 4 watching from the gallery, Florida lawmakers passed a controversial measure that would require repayment of financial obligations before felons’ voting rights could be restored.

Prison bars
Michael Coghlan/Wikimedia Commons

Legislation putting into law a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to some Florida felons has won approval by a state Senate committee. 

Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who narrowly lost his bid in the gubernatorial race last year, has launched a push to register 1 million Florida residents to vote before the 2020 presidential election.

Public commenters gave lawmakers an earful today when the implementing bill for 2018’s Amendment 4 came up in a House committee meeting. The amendment allows certain felons to vote. But that raises the question which felons can’t vote?

Hookers who’ve been convicted of prostitution three times, cyberstalkers and inmates who expose themselves to prison workers wouldn’t be eligible to have their voting rights automatically restored, under a House proposal aimed at carrying out a constitutional amendment approved in November.

Meaning Of 'Murder' Key In Felons' Voting Rights

Jan 23, 2019

A key Senate panel on Tuesday began grappling with how to carry out a constitutional amendment that “automatically” restores the right to vote to felons who’ve completed their sentences.

At the outset of the meeting, Senate Criminal Justice Chairman Keith Perry vowed not to have “any kind of hindrance or roadblocks” in implementing Amendment 4, approved by nearly 65 percent of voters in November.

At the top of the to-do list for the committee: figure out the definition of “murder.”

Like many Floridians who have been convicted of a felony, Clarence Office, 61, was excited to register to vote on January 8, when the state’s Amendment 4 went into effect.

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