Senate panel OKs felon voting rights bill with conditions

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FILE – In this Oct. 22, 2018 file photo, people gather around the Ben & Jerry’s “Yes on 4” truck as they learn about Amendment 4 and eat free ice cream at Charles Hadley Park in Miami. With a single vote Tuesday, Nov. 6, Florida added 1.4 million possible voters to the rolls when it […]

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

The Senate Judiciary Committee cleared the measure Monday. Like its House counterpart, the bill requires not only that eligible felons complete their prison sentences but also that they satisfy all fines, fees and victim restitution.

Opponents say those conditions were not contemplated in the amendment approved last November by voters, are unnecessary and some have likened them to a form of poll tax. They contend the felon voting rights amendment took immediate effect in January with no additional legislation needed.

Felons convicted of murder or felony sex offenses would be ineligible to regain voting rights under the bills. The Senate bill faces an additional committee vote.

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