The case remains in federal appeals court, but, until the resolution of that case, former felons in Florida may be required to pay any and all outstanding court fines and fees before being allowed to register to vote.
Judge Hinkle ruled, “that the State can condition voting on payment of fines and restitution that a person is able to pay but cannot condition voting on payment of amounts a person is unable to pay.”
US District Judge Robert Hinkle expanded a prior ruling to cover an estimated 1.4 million former felons in Florida, allowing them to vote without paying fines and fees related to their convictions.
A federal appeals court ruled that a Florida law requiring former felons to pay off restitution, court fees, and fines before voting again violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.
The ruling follows a 2018 amendment to Florida’s constitution restoring voting rights to former felons upon completion of sentences and probation.
On. Dec. 18, 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation to restore voting rights to those who are on probation or parole after completing prison sentences. The law will take effect in Mar. 2020. Previously, voting was allowed only after completion of probation or parole.
Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order on Dec. 12 reinstating the vote of people convicted of nonviolent felonies who had finished their sentences. His father issued the same order as governor in 2015, but it was overturned by incoming governor Matt Bevin. Iowa is now the only state that has a total ban on voting by former felons.
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People convicted of felonies in Colorado who have completed their prison sentences but are on parole can now vote.
On June 27, 2019, Florida’s governor signed a bill into law that requires that people convicted of felonies must pay restitution, court fees, and fine before the right to vote will be restored. The right to vote was restored to most people with prior felonies by statewide vote (Amendment 4) in Nov. 2018.
Nevada restored the vote to former felons upon completion of their prison sentence, parole, and probation.
US Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders reignited this debate last month. Find quotes from Sanders (pro), as well as Professor John Lott, Jr. (con), New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie (pro), and the Boston Herald Editorial Board (con), among others.
Our new topic explores the pros and cons in the debate over making birth control pills available over-the-counter (OTC). 9.1 million women (12.6% of contraceptive users) use birth control pills, which are the second-most commonly used method of contraception in the United States. Proponents say making the birth control pill available over-the-counter would lower teen pregnancy rates, provide contraceptive access to medically underserved women, and ease access to a health-improving drug with decades of safe use. Opponents say making the Pill over-the-counter would raise the cost of contraception for women, pose a danger to teens’ and women’s health by removing the doctor’s visit requirement, and limit what options are made available.
Our new website presents the top pro & con arguments and quotes, a history of the debate, a video gallery, the prescription status of birth control pills around the world, and a list of drugs switched from prescription to OTC status.
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On Nov. 6, 2018, Florida voters passed Amendment 4 (64%-36%), automatically restoring the vote to people with prior felony convictions (other than murder and sex offenses) once they have served their terms of incarceration and completed all parole and probation.