can't vote
Still can't vote.

The State Senate Democratic Caucus is meeting this morning to discuss several issues that will be taken up by the Senate today. One of those issues is a Republican proposal called SB 7086. Tber GOP is still trying to figure out what to do with felon rights.

You might recall that Florida voters voted overwhelmingly in favor of Amendment 4 in the last election, telling lawmakers to restore the civil rights of convicted felons who have successfully served their time. Politicians will give you a million reasons why they just can’t do what they’ve been instructed to do.

Voters vote and tell the lawmakers what they want, and then politicians successfully conspire about how not to do what the people have clearly told them to do. (Yes, I said “conspire.”) How many voters thought that after medical marijuana was approved in the state, lawmakers would re-interpret “marijuana” to mean not the plant but its chemical derivative, THC? I suspect it is because there are no real repercussions for their ignoring us. And that’s on us.

So, here we go again. Nearly six months after the people spoke, Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, the sponsor of SB 7086, is leading the charge for delay. He and a number of other legislators are still squirreling around trying not to do what “the people” clearly told them to do. Instead of simply directing the Supervisors of Election to open their doors and allow ex-inmates the right to register and vote, they’re arguing about whether or not felons should have to pay restitution and other costs before they can have their rights restored. I don’t know about you, but that sounds frighteningly similiar to a poll tax to me.

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This is especially intentional since in the state of Florida (and a number of others) inmates are paid nothing for cooking, cleaning, janitorial work, washing laundry and generally doing the work necessary to keep the prisons in operation.

The matter has garnered serous national attention, because prisoners don’t just clean each other’s dirty laundry:

“Prisoner labor — with no union protection, overtime pay, vacation days, pensions, benefits, health and safety protection or Social Security withholding — also makes components for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F-15 fighter aircraft; Bell/Textron’s Cobra helicopter; and General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin’s F-16. Prisoner labor produces night-vision goggles, body armor, camouflage uniforms, radio and communication devices and lighting systems and components for battleship anti-aircraft guns, along with land mine sweepers and electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder. Prisoners recycle toxic electronic equipment and overhaul military vehicles. (www.alternet.org)”

So just to make sure we’re on the same page: Republicans want the former slave laborers to fork over some cash they likely don’t have after laboring for years in the slammer just to cast the vote the rest of us approved. Hmmm.

These are the kinds of political shennanigans that will have most of these newly restored voters voting Democratic in their first trip back to the polls– whenever Republicans decide that the will of the people gets back to center stage. According to workers.com:

“Nationally, 39 percent of African-American men in their twenties are in prison, on probation or on parole. In major urban areas, an astonishing one-half of Black men have criminal records. The U.S. imprisons more people than South Africa did under apartheid.”

So, potentially, an awful lot of Democratic votes are on the horizon. Republicans will without a doubt try to continue delaying felon voting for as long as they can– or at least for as long as the rest of us continue keeping them in their cushy jobs.

Call, write or email your state legislator and demand that they vote against
SB 7086. Insist that felons rights be restored without delay!

Stay woke!

44 COMMENTS

  1. The Orlando Advocate that’s not what I said. There are many illegal aliens locked up. Many legal aliens locked up. And anybody who says that both aren’t voting in our elections is either ignorant or complicit. There are 137% of total Americans over the age of 18 registered to vote in this country. Thata almost 70 million people. And we all know that a lot of people don’t even bother to register. Who are those ghosts? And the main stated purpose to change the law to allow felons to vote by politicians is to allow anyone residing in the US to vote with no proof of citizenship. Just as in Calif illegals can now get a license and all they have to do to vote is state on a form that they are allowed to vote. Just show that license. Not everybody is stupid and naive to be taken in by the liberal push to allow anyone who will vote for them to vote. One day Floridians hopefully will see the bill of goods they were sold by Democrats. Anything to get and stay in power right? You’re extreme partisanship is well known. And your suffering from TDS is also obvious from the opinions you publish. I would say bees but it is always opinion posing as news such as your article the “Lying King”. You do know that Hillary LOST and that Trump is YOUR legally elected President now.

  2. The Orlando Advocate why are politicians insisting on parcing sentences, unless they expect other politicians to try to sneak one by? The people least trusting of politicians these days are other politicians.

  3. Good advice. And don’t drive on a suspended license because you need to get to your low-paying job to pay the fine– if you get caught multiple times your offense can be upgraded to felony status.

  4. No issue with the working, but since the judge set the fines and restitution at the time of sentencing, these new “bills” must be adding something new. Recognizing that they already have the original fines to pay, introducing NEW legislation to deal with restitution before voting sounds a lot like a poll tax to us. Not you?

  5. True. So why are politicians introducing bills to talk about things that were decided by the judge years ago when the sentences were handed down? They MUST be different things. Sounds like a poll tax coming.

  6. The Orlando Advocate , the judge sets the punishment.. time to serve, fines, restitutions, … the convicted person has not paid his or her debt to society though until release from custody and probation, fines, and restitution, if any, has been met….

  7. Didn’t the judge decide the time to be served and the fines to be paid at the time of sentencing? Why are politicians now involved in this process? Mighty suspicious if you ask us.

  8. You’re absolutely right. But imposing restitution after-the-fact is mighty suspicious, don’t you think? After all, didn’t the judge set the time to be served and the restitution to be paid at the time of initial sentencing?

  9. The amendment called for 5 years, and many inmates have already been waiting for longer than that. And yes, they should pay restitution, but the judge determined all of that at the time of sentencing. Why are politicians now involved in something the judge decided when the inmate was first locked up?

  10. No argument here. But didn’t the judge set the fines at the time of sentencing? Why are politicians talking about restitution after the judge has ruled? And why should that be okay with the rest of us?

  11. Isn’t setting the fine the job of the judge?????? So exactly which fine are we talking about? The one the judge imposed at the time he sentenced them? Or the one cooked up by some lawmakers now that its time to let them vote?

  12. Agreed. Just don’t keep delaying the bill to prevent ex-cons from ever voting. Remember, Amendment 4 was written so as to not require implementation by the Florida Legislature. Even Bill Galvano, the president of the Florida Senate, says it’s “self-executing”. Black ex-cons, white ex-cons– race is not the real issue (you can be forced to work as a slave no matter what color you are). At the time of sentencing, every defendant is told by the judge what the full and complete punishment is. Adding new requirements after they get out is simply unfair, not right and– bottom-line– kind of suspicious.

  13. You’d probably have no problem telling a white cop to kiss your a** and get off your property. You really think a black man could do that? If so, you’re delusional. And while we’re on the subject, the prisons are not just filled up with black offenders. Below are the official stats from the Florida Department of Corrections 2017-2018 Annual Report. (So a call for ex-felons to be allowed to vote is a call for your sisters and brothers to be allowed to vote, too):

    White Male 10,918 39.1%
    White Female 2,498 8.9%
    Black Male 10,521 37.7%
    Black Female 809 2.9%
    Hispanic Male 2,851 10.2%
    Hispanic Female 188 0.7%

  14. It’s called “felon rights” because only people who have been incarcerated lose their right to vote– not because they are still incarcerated, The problem is not in setting the requirements. It’s the DELAY in setting the requirements. And yes, when the wrongdoing ex-con is finally set free (including a whole lot of white ex-cons, too) they have NO MONEY after their time of punishment is over. Paying restitution should not be tied to voting– just like paying fines for violating DUI laws or driving without insurance (which is also “breaking the law”) is not tied to voting.

  15. Will Stone fortunately we all have the right to believe what we want. I wouldn’t take that right from a citizen. Agree or disagree with me, it’s your right.

  16. Most of the comments here show a lack of knowledge about what is contained in the over whelming ammendment. Noone incarcerated gets to vote and requirements of the sentence must be satisfied first. Those are facts. Politicians ignored what voters wanted. That’s the issue and it will happen again.

  17. Paul Ergler no the right wants to deny voters all over the country from voting. NC, FL, TX, GA and gross gerrymandering are factual examples. Name calling doesn’t add to the issue

  18. I believe in 2nd chances. After fully completing all restitution they should have a 10 year period to show they are worthwhile members of society. After that they can petition to regain the ability to vote.

  19. As the amendment that was passed by the voters said “after completion of sentence ” the sentence includes fines, probation, possible court costs, and possible restitution!

  20. The poor little felons, the government’s picking on them and ignoring the voters? the Democrats are crying like morons. how about the Democrats ignoring voters about the wall? I seen was all Democrats are worried about everybody’s rights except the taxpayer we need term limits immediately

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