In a troubling development, Colorlines reported, the Florida House of Representatives is considering legislation that would force formerly incarcerated residents to pay a fine before having their voting rights restored. This comes following voters’ approval of the Voting Restoration Act, better known as Amendment 4, during last year’s midterm elections. Amendment 4 effectively restored voting rights for residents with a felony conviction.
Critics say the bill will unfairly burden those unable to pay and slow down or reverse the progress made by the amendment’s passage.
“Amendment 4 passed with broad support from people all over the state and from all walks of life,” said Desmond Meade, president of Art for Justice grantee the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. “Any legislation proposed should neither limit the rights created by Amendment 4 nor infringe upon the will of Florida voters.”
The bill passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee by a vote of 10-5.