A partisan firestorm erupted in the waning days of this year’s legislative session after Republicans tacked onto the elections package provisions aimed at implementing the voter-approved constitutional amendment that restores the voting rights of felons who have completed their sentences.
The House’s party-line, 71-45 vote drew a rebuke from backers of the amendment, who called the bill “a failure to live up to the bipartisan commitment” demonstrated by the 61 percent of voters who approved Amendment 4.
The House Judiciary Committee Palm Coast’s Paul Renner chairs on Tuesday passed a crime bill that eases some punishments and makes it easier for felons to reintegrate society but also passed a restrictive interpretation of Amendment 4 and felons’ right to vote.
Paul Renner, Flagler’s GOP representative and future Speaker of the House, is being dishonest and disingenuous in his defense of a bill that would make felons’ right to vote dependent on paying back all financial obligations.
In 46 other states, the right is restored either immediately or on completion of probation. Florida stands out for harshness, accounting for a quarter of America’s disenfranchised.
The quick death of the discussion item is a reflection of the polarizing effects of Amendment 4, which has ardent anti-tax advocates–including politicians elected on limited government platforms–rallying around it while some local government representatives strain to explain how it would short-change revenue.
Amendment 4, Florida’s so-called “Hometown Democracy” amendment, is an attempt to give voters a voice in major local development initiatives. It’s also rife in misinformation.
Charles Rinek, president of the Flagler Home Builders Association, outlines the many reasons why Amendment 4 — the so-called “Hometown Democracy” amendment — will undermine the state’s economy and democratic process.
The latest on 7-year-old Nate in ICU; St. Pete Times Goes for Crist, Everglades’ sugardaddy deal goes through, Amendment 4 and sex offender hysteria, plus the Yukon, SNL at 35 and Art Blakey at 91 and more.
The Flagler Palm Coast Civic Association’s forum featured contrasting views on ballot proposals that would affect class sizes, development laws, and two local taxes.