Apr 25, 2019

Florida House passes bill requiring former felons to pay before voting

Voting rights advocates in Florida at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office. Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Florida's GOP-controlled House passed a measure along party lines on Wednesday requiring former felons to pay fees and fines before having their voting rights restored, resulting in backlash from voting rights advocates who say it undermines a voter-approved constitutional amendment that allows an estimated 1.4 million former felons to vote again.

Details: The measure, now in the Senate, calls for court fines, fees and restitution to be paid before ex-felons, who've completed their sentences, can vote. According to the Miami Herald, the Senate’s version of the bill only requires restitution to be paid, "but not court fees and fines if those have been converted to a civil lien, which often happens." Nonetheless, any restrictions would prevent thousands from voting.

The backdrop: After Floridians overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment last year, only Iowa and Kentucky remained as states that permanently prohibit ex-felons from voting, unless the governors of those states approves a clemency plea. The ballot measure, which took effect in January, did not apply to those convicted of murder or sex crimes.

State Republican lawmakers quickly proposed measures they argue would provide clarification because ex-felons should repay all fines and fees connected to their sentences.

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Nikki Haley poaches top conservative from Heritage Action

Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Nikki Haley has hired Tim Chapman, the head of Heritage Action, to run her conservative policy group Stand For America, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the hire. Haley and Chapman confirmed the hire, which was first reported by RealClearPolitics' Philip Wegmann.

Why it matters: Chapman is among the most influential conservative policy leaders in the country. His hire is Haley's highest-profile outside recruitment since leaving her job as UN ambassador under President Trump.

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Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Trump has declared war on sanctuary cities

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Armed with subpoenas, lawsuits and immigration SWAT teams, the Trump administration has declared war on sanctuary cities.

The big picture: President Trump and his administration have used every available tool to try to crack down on local governments that refuse to hold immigrants in criminal custody, block immigration agents from working in county jails or deny federal authorities access to immigrants' records.