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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Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 32,000

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 and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 32,000 people around the world — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths, per data from Johns Hopkins.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections, with more than 125,000 by noon on Sunday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. surpassed on Saturday evening.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 685,623 — Total deaths: 32,137 — Total recoveries: 145,706.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 125,313 — Total deaths: 2,197 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week.
  6. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Fixing America's broken coronavirus supply chain

Polowczyk speaks at a coronavirus briefing at the White House, March 23. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The senior Navy officer now in charge of fixing America's coronavirus supply chain is trying to fill the most urgent needs: ventilators and personal protective gear. But barely a week into his role at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he's still trying to establish what's in the pipeline and where it is.

Driving the news: "Today, I, as leader of FEMA's supply chain task force, am blind to where all the product is," Rear Adm. John Polowczyk tells Axios.

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