Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 120955
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File Number: 120955 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-493-12 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: REINSTATE AUTOMATIC VOTING RIGHTS NON-VIOLENT FELONIES Introduced: 5/11/2012
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 6/5/2012
Agenda Date: 6/5/2012 Agenda Item Number: 11A22
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION URGING THE GOVERNOR AND CABINET TO REINSTATE THE AUTOMATIC RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS FOR CITIZENS CONVICTED OF NON-VIOLENT FELONIES WHO HAVE COMPLETED THEIR SENTENCES
Indexes: LEGISLATURE
Sponsors: Audrey M. Edmonson, Prime Sponsor
  Barbara J. Jordan, Co-Sponsor
  Jean Monestime, Co-Sponsor
  Dennis C. Moss, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 6/5/2012 11A22 Adopted P

County Attorney 5/11/2012 Assigned Jess M. McCarty

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION URGING THE GOVERNOR AND CABINET TO REINSTATE THE AUTOMATIC RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS FOR CITIZENS CONVICTED OF NON-VIOLENT FELONIES WHO HAVE COMPLETED THEIR SENTENCES

BODY
WHEREAS, the Florida Constitution currently prohibits a person who is convicted of a felony from voting until the personís civil rights are restored, Article VI, Section 4, Florida Constitution; and
WHEREAS, a person who is convicted of a felony in Florida loses civil rights permanently unless and until he or she successfully completes a lengthy clemency application process and is granted restoration of civil rights by the Governor, Cabinet and the Board of Executive Clemency; and
WHEREAS, Florida is one of only a few states in the U.S. that bans citizens with felony convictions from being able to vote even after such citizens have completed their sentences and paid their debt to society, unless civil rights are restored; and
WHEREAS, the Florida ban dates back over a century to the Jim Crow era; and
WHEREAS, it is estimated that more than 628,000 Floridians with felony convictions who have completed their sentences cannot vote; and
WHEREAS, prior to 2007, a citizen with a felony conviction could not vote unless he or she went through a lengthy clemency process to have his or her civil rights restored; and
WHEREAS, in 2007, then-Governor Charlie Crist and the Cabinet changed the process to allow for automatic restoration of voting rights to certain nonviolent felons once they had completed their sentences; and
WHEREAS, last year, Governor Rick Scott and the current Cabinet reversed the prior policy and imposed a policy providing that a person convicted of a nonviolent felony has to wait five years after completing his or her sentence and a person convicted of a violent felony has to wait seven years before beginning the lengthy clemency application process; and
WHEREAS, state budget cuts have also significantly increased the delay of clemency applications getting reviewed, such that it can take years for an application to be reviewed even after the five- or seven-year waiting period has ended; and
WHEREAS, restoring civil rights to certain felons may help to reduce repeat offenders; and
WHEREAS, a report by the Florida Parole Commission shows that a released felon whose civil rights are restored is less likely to commit a new crime than other released felons; and
WHEREAS, the Governor and Cabinet should revisit their decision last year to repeal the 2007 automatic restoration of civil rights and impose additional waiting periods,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Urges the Governor and Cabinet to reinstate the 2007 criteria for automatic restoration of voting rights for citizens convicted of non-violent felonies who have completed their sentences.
Section 2. Directs the Clerk of this Board to send a certified copy of this resolution to the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, and Chair and Members of the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation.
Section 3. This Board directs the County's state lobbyists to advocate for the passage of the legislation and action set forth in section 1 above, and authorizes and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to include this item in the 2013 State Legislative Package.



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