Mar 23, 2019

Florida Republicans propose 2 bills in which former felons pay to vote

Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images

Democrats are calling 2 Republican-led bills in Florida's state legislature — that require former felons to pay a range of fees before they can submit their votes — a modern-day "poll tax" that discourages voting altogether, CNN reports.

The state of play: After a statewide referendum passed in the 2018 midterms restoring 1.4 million Floridian ex-felons' voting rights, Republicans quickly retorted, describing the law as ambiguous. The state House Criminal Justice Committee passed a bill on Tuesday that would order felons to repay court fines and reparations, including "any cost of supervision or other monetary obligation." A comparable bill was introduced in the state Senate's Criminal Justice Committee with a vote anticipated for Monday. The proposed fees are expected to range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, according to Lisa Foster, the co-director of the Fines and Fees Justice Center, an organization that works to cut fees in the U.S. justice system.

Why it matters: The a flood of more than 1 million new voters could significantly impact Florida voting outcomes, which are already often decided by slim margins.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee on Wednesday, including the gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a Wednesday evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus updates: South Korea case count tops 2,000

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.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. 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.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

Syria's darkest chapter

Family room without a family, in Idlib. Photo: Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The worst humanitarian crisis of Syria’s brutal civil war is colliding today with what could be the war’s most dangerous geopolitical showdown, after at least 29 Turkish troops were killed in an airstrike.

The big picture: The fighting is taking place in Idlib in northwest Syria, where a ferocious Syrian and Russian offensive has displaced 1 million civilians and infuriated Turkey, which borders the region.

Go deeperArrow7 hours ago - World