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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Israeli election: Netanyahu has momentum despite corruption case

Netanyahu campaigns with a friend behind him. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enters Israel's third elections in 10 months with momentum — and with his corruption trial looming just two weeks after the vote.

Why it matters: Israeli politics have been deadlocked for nearly a year as Netanyahu and his centrist rival, Benny Gantz, grapple for power. Monday's vote could provide the breakthrough, or set Israel on course for yet another election.

Go deeperArrow12 mins ago - World

Democrats lay out demands for coronavirus funding

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement Thursday outlining their demands for coronavirus funding, including a guarantee that the eventual vaccine is affordable.

The big picture: Pelosi criticized the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak, calling it "chaotic" and chiding President Trump for "name-calling" and "playing politics." She added at a press conference that bipartisan congressional leaders are nearing an agreement on emergency funding.

Coronavirus updates: Japan closes schools and Saudi Arabia bans holy site visits

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health