Felons' Rights Restoration

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Governor Charlie Crist and other state
officials have approved a plan to restore voting and other civil rights to felons who have finished their sentences.

All but the most violent felons would avoid the need to get on a long list for a hearing before the board, which sometimes takes years.

The board voted three-to-one with Attorney General Bill McCollum, another Republican, strongly objecting.

Crist has made it clear since before he was governor that he was in favor of making it easier for felons who have done their time to vote. He pushed the measure forcefully, and rejected McCollum's assertion that it was welcoming the worst of the worst back into society too easily.

Still, Crist's plan was a compromise, carving out murderers and other violent felons who would still have to either go before the board for a hearing or at least be subject to review.

Voting with Crist for the plan were Republican Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson and state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat.