Clemency Board Considering Drastic Change to Civil Rights Restoration

By: The Leagie of Women Voters Press Release
By: The Leagie of Women Voters Press Release

Tallahassee, FL - Immediately following today's Cabinet meeting, the Executive Clemency Board will vote on Attorney General Pam Bondi's proposal to undo automatic civil rights restoration for people with nonviolent felony convictions who have completed their sentences.

The finalized proposal was not made available to the public as of March 8, and despite repeated requests neither Attorney General Bondi nor her staff was willing to meet with the League of Women Voters of Florida.

The League strongly opposes any proposal that would make it harder for people with nonviolent felony convictions who have completed their sentences to get their civil rights restored. The League is especially concerned about the aspect of the proposal that pertains to voting rights.

Floridians who have completed their sentences and are once again living and working among the public deserve a say in their local, state and federal governments.

"Asking citizens to pay taxes while inhibiting their right to vote amounts to a form of 'taxation without representation,'" said Ben Wilcox, LWVF Governmental Consultant. "The League believes that such proposals should be rejected as patently unfair."

The League applauded the Clemency Board's 2007 decision to streamline the civil rights restoration process. The previous process was lengthy and complicated for those seeking rights restoration, and it was also costly for the state to administer. Returning to the pre-2007 process will disenfranchise rehabilitated citizens and move Florida backward.

Wilcox will be available after the Clemency Board meeting today at the Capitol for reaction.

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