Headlines – Page 7 – Florida Politics

Rick Scott says tent cities housing immigrant children are a ‘disturbing’ byproduct of ‘messed-up immigration system’

In Jacksonville Friday to locally promote his endorsements from 55 Florida Sheriffs, rolled out days before in media release form, U.S. Senate candidate Gov. Rick Scott was compelled to address other issues as well related to the ongoing quest by his “partner in the White House,” Donald J. Trump, to “Make America Great Again.”

Among this week’s news items: the President’s decision to warehouse immigrant children in a Walmart, even as he mulls building a Joe Arpaio-style tent city for overflow, just in time for the heart of Texas summer; and the President’s decision to salute a North Korean soldier, a move made all the more ironic by his deeming the American free press “Our Country’s biggest enemy.”

Since Trump’s ascension, Scott (whose New Republican Super PAC was originally set up to support Trump before being repurposed to support the Governor’s Senate run) has been peppered (often by this reporter) with questions about the President’s latest moves.

Friday was no different.

When asked about migrant kids behind housed in tent cities, and whether he supported the policy, Scott noted the practice was “disturbing,” but emblematic of larger issues.

“I want to make sure everybody who comes to this country is treated with respect, and treated well,” Scott said.

“Your heart goes out to these families that are struggling with these issues. It shows you how messed up our immigration policy is, that these things are happening,” Scott added.

“Congress has got to do their job. Got to come up with an immigration policy that works. We have to secure our borders. We have to [create] a visa program that works, we have to take care of the DACA kids. We have to come up with something that actually works,” Scott said.

Critics of the warehousing of migrant children say the policy is alien to Democratic traditions. In that context, and in light of the Pyongyang pivot from the White House, we asked Scott if America was moving away from its traditional role.

“I clearly believe in democracy. I fought, as Governor, against what the Castro brothers have done. The problems they’re creating in Nicaragua and Venezuela. We’ve got to fight for democracy all around the world … for human rights all around the world. So I’m going to continue to fight for democracy, for liberty, for peace, human rights worldwide,” Scott said.

Florida Democratic Party spokesman Nate Evans, predictably, was not sold: “Scott’s comments today further highlight his and his close ally Donald Trump’s horrible and inhumane records on immigration. From calling DACA illegal, to advocating for mass deportations, Scott has built his political career advocating for extreme immigration policies. No matter what he says, Scott’s actions speak for themselves.”

Philip Levine launches Spanish ad on schools in Orlando, Miami

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine is launching a new Spanish-language television commercial Friday in Orlando and Miami highlighting his commitments to public education in Florida.

The 30-second spot, “Escuela,” [“School,”] shows shots in a classroom and Levine visiting with students as a narrator talks about Florida public schools being underfunded and teachers underpaid, and about Levine’s pledge to raise teachers’ salaries by $10,000.

Levine concludes the ad by promising, in Spanish, that he will “put our children first.”

Levine, former mayor of Miami Beach, is in an August 28 battle for the Democratic nomination with businessmen Chris King and Jeff Greene, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham. The leading Republicans are Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.

His campaign said the Miami and Orlando commercials are being backed b a five-figure ad buy.

“Funding public education is the greatest investment we can make in our future, and as Governor, I will reverse the trend of underfunding our schools and leaving our teachers underpaid and under-appreciated,” Levine stated in a news release. “If we want to build a competitive 21st-century economy that attracts the best and brightest, it starts with giving every child a chance to succeed, no matter their background or where they come from.”

Aaron Bean, House members draw challengers

Just days before the start of qualifying for this year’s elections, Republican state Sen. Aaron Bean of Fernandina Beach, and three state House members have drawn new challengers.

Callahan Republican Carlos Slay opened a campaign account Thursday to run against Bean in Senate District 4, which is made up of Nassau County and part of Duval County, according to the state Division of Elections website.

Slay joined Bean, Democrat Billee Bussard and Libertarian Joanna Tavares in the race.

Bean had raised $204,350 for his campaign as of May 31, including $24,050 last month, a new finance report shows.

In the House, meanwhile, Beverly Hills Democrat Paul John Reinhardt opened a campaign account to try to unseat Republican state Rep. Ralph Massullo of Lecanto in House District 34, which is made up of Citrus County and part of Hernando County, according to the Division of Elections website.

Reinhardt joined Massullo and Democrat James Henry in the race.

Massullo had raised $42,850 for his campaign as of May 31.

In Central Florida, Orlando Republican Scotland Calhoun became the first candidate to open a campaign account to challenge Democratic state Rep. Amy Mercado of Orlando in Orange County’s House District 48.

Mercado had raised $40,743 for her re-election bid as of May 31, a finance report shows.

In Southwest Florida, Cape Coral Democrat Narcissus Estrella Magturo opened an account to try to unseat House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, an Estero Republican, in Lee County’s House District 76. Magturo joined Rodrigues and Democrats Neilson Croll Ayers and David Benjamin Bogner in running for the seat.

Rodrigues raised $164,510 for his campaign account as of May 31.

Formal qualifying for legislative races starts at noon Monday and will continue until noon June 22.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Irma insurance losses close to $10 billion

Insurance loss estimates from Hurricane Irma have hit $9.7 billion, up by more than $1 billion since April, according to the latest numbers posted by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Insurers also advised the state agency that the number of claims had reached 987,767 from the massive and deadly September storm. The was up more than 54,000 from when numbers were previously updated in April.

Officials said they expected claims to be made for more than a year after the storm, as property owners are able to get complete assessments of the damages.

Erin VanSickle, deputy chief of staff in the Office of Insurance Regulation, said to the agency’s knowledge, no insurer has indicated difficulty in paying claims.

The state agency doesn’t release data by individual insurance companies, asserting protection of trade secrets. The numbers also don’t include most agriculture losses, which the state has estimated at $2.5 billion, or damage inflicted by the storm on government facilities, including buildings, roads, parks and beaches.

Insurance companies had closed 91.5 percent of residential claims but just 68.4 percent of commercial-property claims, according to the numbers, which were as of Tuesday.

Of the 823,733 residential claims filed, 491,273 had been settled with some payment and 262,809 resulted in no money changing hands. Insurance officials have noted the amount of damages often fail to reach policyholders’ hurricane deductibles.

On the commercial side, nearly 40 percent of the 58,544 claims failed to result in insurance payments, while nearly 30 percent had seen money paid.

Across the state, the top counties for damage claims were Miami-Dade with 125,636, Collier with 88,934, Broward with 80,958 and Lee with 79,804.

Nearly 20 percent of the claims in Miami-Dade County had yet to be closed, while 33 percent had been closed without any payments.

Broward County had the next highest percentage of open claims, at nearly 15 percent.

Collier was at 89.5 percent closed, Orange County was at 93 percent, and Duval County stood at nearly 95 percent.

Irma made landfall twice in Florida on Sept. 10. It first hit Cudjoe Key, less than 30 miles northeast of Key West, and later hit Collier County before running up the peninsula.

Overall, 16 counties each had more than 20,000 insurance claims.

Orange County had seen 73,982 claims filed and Duval, which suffered major flooding from the St. Johns River, had 36,830 claims.

Monroe County, which comprises the Florida Keys, had seen 30,767 claims, of which 57 percent required insurance payments and just over 10 percent of the claims remained open.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

‘I don’t believe in polls,’ says Gwen Graham

Former Rep. Gwen Graham continues her campaign for Florida Governor this week, and on the heels of her endorsement from the Florida Education Association, she is doing what’s logical: workdays and appearances predicated on the theme of education (the “backbone of [her] campaign”).

Jacksonville on Thursday morning was no exception; the candidate was doing one of her workdays at a local Early Head Start program.

In that capacity, Graham had a lot of playtime with toddlers (perhaps a prerequisite for the Legislative Session), and served them lunch (chicken nuggets, sweet potato fries, and fruit).

While Graham’s approval rating with Northwest Jacksonville toddlers is sky-high, less certain is her stature with Florida voters.

A poll this month showed Graham fading against Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, down 32 to 16 percent, cratering in Miami and Tampa and running in a tie for third with Chris King in Orlando.

That didn’t outwardly concern Graham. 

“I don’t believe in polls. You can find a poll to tell you whatever you want a poll to tell you,” Graham said. “I’m not at all concerned about any poll or any individual. I feel really positive about where our campaign is, and we’re going to win this race.”

We asked her if she was the “frontrunner,” but she didn’t like that term.

Graham is up on television, with major buys in Orlando and Tampa. However, she said poll numbers didn’t drive the ad buy.

“We were ready to get up on TV when the timing was right. We’re running the smartest campaign. It was just the right timing,” Graham said, before observing that “campaigning is a different process than it was 40 years ago.”

“What we do everyday is we wake up and hopefully have an opportunity to talk and learn from Floridians what their challenges are, because that’s what this election is about. It’s about having a governor who cares about Floridians again,” Graham said.

While TV is “important,” Graham cited the importance of social media and new media as other ways to reach voters.

Meanwhile, Graham has found herself outflanked to the left by three of her opponents on the issue of cannabis legalization.

Graham noted that she was the first candidate to come out in favor of a Special Session on medical marijuana.

“Anytime there’s an opportunity to alleviate pain and suffering, we should not only take advantage of it, but should make sure it’s available immediately,” Graham said.

“We also have a real crisis in the state in opioid addiction,” Graham added. “Let’s get medical marijuana implemented.”

“I think the conversation about legalization is one we ought to have. It’s one that I want to have. But to take this in a incremental approach so we can get medical marijuana implemented,” Graham said.

Graham does advocate decriminalization of “minor amounts of marijuana, 20 grams or less.”

The Graham campaign has been predicated on bringing together traditional Democratic constituencies, and the candidate has the endorsement traction to prove it.

The question of whether that is a winning strategy with voters in 2018 will be answered before August ends.

Police chiefs back Rick Scott while firefighters back Bill Nelson

In dueling endorsements that may illustrate their bases among executives and rank-and-file, the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Gov. Rick Scott announced the endorsement of the Florida Police Chiefs Association while the re-election campaign of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson touted the backing of the state firefighters union.

On Thursday Scott’s campaign declared that this is the first time the Florida Police Chiefs Association, which includes more than 900 top law enforcement executives, has endorsed in a federal or U.S. Senate race.

Also on Thursday Nelson’s campaign declared that the Florida Professional Firefighters representing more than 25,000 firefighters and emergency medical services responders, endorsed him in part because of Scott’s opposition to a firefighters’ pay raise in 2015.

In a news release issued by Scott’s campaign, Amy Mercer, executive director of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, said, “Gov. Rick Scott is a true friend and partner to law enforcement across the state and it is an honor to offer our endorsement of his bid for the U.S. Senate. Today’s endorsement is a historic milestone for the Florida Police Chiefs Association as the first endorsement of a candidate for U.S. Senate. Gov. Scott has demonstrated leadership in the face of immense challenges over the past seven and a half years, and unlike many career politicians in Washington, when Governor Scott makes a commitment, he follows through. Gov. Scott has been a champion for public safety and a great friend to the law enforcement community, and we look forward to continuing to work with him to protect our families and communities once he is a member of the U.S. Senate.”

In a news release issued by Nelson’s campaign, James Tolley, president of the Florida Professional Firefighters said, “For those who are willing to risk their lives every day to protect millions of Floridians, it’s so important to have the support of leaders we know will support us, our work, our benefits and our families and Senator Nelson has been a tremendous advocate for Florida’s firefighters. Sen. Nelson has been steadfast in his support of firefighters and first responders, working to protect our health care and benefits. Senator Nelson led the fight in Congress to secure funding for training and vital equipment and technology to keep our firefighters and first responders safe on the job. When our benefits have been under attack, we know Sen. Nelson will always have our back in fighting for us and the support we need to do our jobs.”

Quote from a 20-year-old Chris King has him apologizing today

The old adage says everything a candidate has ever said, written, or done, and everything he has ever been becomes fair game once he’s running for public office.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King is wrestling with that now, wrestling with a single quote that could be read with anti-Semitic overtones, attributed to him back when he had been a 20-year-old Harvard University sophomore, bitter over losing a close and contentious 1998 campus election for Undergraduate Student Council president. The newspaper article containing the quote is making the rounds today in Florida.

“I was nailed to the cross,” King was quoted in a Newhouse News Service story published on Feb. 28, 1999, in the Times-Picayune of New Orleans and perhaps elsewhere. “And most of the editorial staff that was so hard on me, the vast majority were Jewish.”

Today King does not specifically recall making the statement quoted in the Newhouse News Service story, but he is not disputing it. He apologized for it on Thursday and disavowed any anti-Semitic overtones as not of his beliefs.

That story and a number of others were published after a fall, 1998, election at Harvard that had been so controversial that it drew the attention of numerous outside media, including the Orlando Sentinel from King’s hometown.

The comment attributed to him about the editorial staff had been a reference to the staff of the campus newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, which had editorialized against King’s candidacy, in part because he was well-known as an evangelical Christian.

“This quote from when I was 20 years old is completely at odds with my beliefs. It was a hurtful and stupid comment and I apologize,” King stated in a written response issued by his campaign Thursday.

He and his gubernatorial campaign now are accusing one of his opponents, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, of digging up and circulating the 19-year-old newspaper story, including to Jewish supporters, as payback for King’s charges in Saturday’s debate that Levine is a bully.

Ironic, King’s campaign suggested.

But that doesn’t entirely dismiss the problems of a newspaper story that seems to have King blaming Jews for his election defeat.

In speaking to Florida Politics Wednesday evening, the reporter who wrote that story, Jonathan Tilove, recalled not being bothered at all by King’s quote, and not thinking it was anti-Semitic. Tilove now is a political reporter for the Austin American-Statesman. He is Jewish.

Tilove included the quote in a package of two stories that he wrote about issues of reverse diversity in America’s top universities. The main story was headlined, “Diversity Dilemma: In the Ivy League, White Christians More Underrepresented Than Blacks.” The King quote was included in the sidebar story, headlined “Issue More Than Skin Deep at Harvard: Religion Plays Role in Recent Election.” That story began with this sentence: “If Jewish students are overrepresented at Harvard University, they are way overrepresented at the Harvard Crimson.” King’s episode and quote were used as an illustration.

In no way in the article does Tilove treat King’s comment as anti-Semitic.

“The whole point of that story – I wrote about race and diversity – the point of that story was that the least diverse thing about Harvard was the lack of evangelical Christians,” Tilove said. “So the whole point was: that he might have a point.”

Reporter Mark Pinsky also covered the episode in 1999, for the Orlando Sentinel, and subsequently interviewed King in-depth for a book that Pinsky published in 2006, A Jew Among Evangelicals. That book includes a whole chapter on King and what happened at Harvard. Pinsky covered politics and religion for many years, and has written several books exploring the intersection of religion and modern American culture. He also is Jewish.

“When I interviewed him, he said nothing like that to me,” Pinsky recalled Wednesday. “My first reaction is, it is out of character to what I know he [King] believes. But who is to say? I wasn’t there.”

Pinsky added, “Speaking as a journalist and a Jew, I don’t find the quote all that offensive.”

King’s 1998 campaign for Undergraduate Student Council president, which was vaguely “values based” according to reports at the time, had exploded into a controversy about potential Christianity in student government affairs: reportedly through little or no fault of King’s. Harvard was then, as now, a liberal university where the institutions were fiercely secular. But times were changing. Tilove and Pinsky both reported at the time, and other articles in the Crimson and the Wall Street Journal in late 1998 and early 1999 concurred, that Christian student groups were growing and tensions were building on campus.

There had been rumors during the 1998 campaign – denied by King at that time, in interviews since, and today – that he might be planning to make his presidency a Christian administration, to preach to other students. The Crimson warned voters about the possibility.

Tilove, Pinsky, and the Crimson all reported at the time, and Pinsky expanded in his 2006 book, that King not only did not campaign on religion, but that he had made efforts to keep his religion out of the campaign. Others brought it up though. Before anyone knew it, anonymous leaflets were distributed on campus accusing King of secretly planning a theocracy at Harvard. The Crimson mentioned the prospect in its endorsement of his opponent, but the paper also had other, unrelated, criticisms of King.

King lost by 100 votes, out of about 3,000 cast.

The Wall Street Journal, and some other national conservative voices sought in 1999 to cast King’s experience as a case study of liberal elites persecuting Christians. King actually ran in the 1998 election as a liberal Democrat who admired former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley [who was then running for president,] and King lost to a conservative Republican. Pinsky quoted him as saying in 1999, “I don’t want to be a poster boy for the Christian Coalition.”

In his written statement issued Thursday, King said the whole episode helped shape who he is today.

“Then, as now, I was a committed progressive Democrat and committed to my Christian faith. Some people have found that combination unusual. In the closing days of that student election, anonymous fliers charged that I was motivated to take over institutions to promote my religious views. A series of other accusations about my faith followed.

“As a young person I was hurt by the personal nature of these attacks,” he wrote.

“Following the election, some national news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, picked up on the story and there was a flurry of interest. Several other publications wrote stories. Back then, I thought I was the subject of religious intolerance. I spent time in college and since then learning and thinking about things that divide us. We see so much of this in the world today. People feel isolated by divisions in an increasingly factionalized world – whether by their faith, their race, or their identity.

“Too often, the reaction is to retreat further into our tribes, rather than reaching out across the divides to find our common humanity. We have to reach out. It’s the only way we move forward. More than that, we lose out on so much of what makes us strong and great if we don’t,” King’s statement continued. “That’s the philosophy that’s underpinned my life since then and will define the kind of leadership I’ll provide for Florida.”

King’s campaign manager Zach Learner and campaign spokesman Avery Jaffe released a joint statement Thursday that read in part:

“As proud Jewish Americans, we object to the Levine campaign’s political use of our faith to try and squeeze our campaign into silence as we shed light on the mayor’s record as a Trump-like bully.

“Hours after Chris called out Mayor Levine’s long and well-known record of bullying at a recent debate, a Levine staffer approached allies of our campaign to scare them out of supporting Chris.”

Levine’s campaign responded with a statement from Christian Ulvert:

“Our campaign is squarely focused on the mayor’s progressive record of championing, and passing, the first city-wide living wage ordinance in Florida, fighting for LGBT rights, reforming the city’s police department and taking on sea level rise and climate change with real action.”

Ashey Moody

Jacksonville, Collier sheriffs latest to endorse Ashley Moody for AG

Ashley Moody is adding the endorsement of two more Florida sheriffs, now with 42 of 49 Republican sheriffs supporting the former Hillsborough County circuit judge as the state’s next Attorney General.

New endorsers are Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and Sheriff Mike Williams of Jacksonville, according to an announcement Thursday from Moody’s campaign.

“Judge Moody is the tough and honest Attorney General that Florida needs. As Sheriff, I understand the importance of prosecuting criminals and keeping them off our streets,” Rambosk said. “Judge Moody will do just that and that’s why I’m supporting her.”

Williams added: “I recognize and value the dedicated hard work required to keep our communities safe. We need an Attorney General that will help us do just that. I support Ashley Moody for Attorney General. She will be the partner that our law enforcement community needs.”

“As the only former prosecutor in this race vying to be the state’s top prosecutor, I understand firsthand the need for meaningful partnership with our sheriffs in order to aggressively fight crime and keep our residents and tourists safe,” Moody’s campaign said.

In addition to endorsements, Moody is also showing robust fundraising, with nearly $450,000 raised between her campaign and committee accounts last month. She took in $271,500 through her committee, Friends of Ashley Moody, with the balance raised via her campaign account — besting the other two Republicans in the race to replace Pam Bondi this November.

Bondi, term-limited from running again, has also endorsed Moody’s campaign.

Other Republicans in the race include Pensacola Rep. Frank White, who reported $97,000 in outside money last month; Jacksonville Rep. Jay Fant showed just $1,640.

As reported earlier by Florida Politics, White had emerged as a big self-funder in the race — adding another $1.25 million into his campaign last month. This seven-figure “investment” adds to his already immense self-funding effort, giving him an advantage in on-hand cash.

Adam Putnam says public safety ‘not at risk’ in license snafu

Although his department issued concealed-weapons licenses to 291 applicants who should have been disqualified, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday the breakdown has been corrected and there was no threat to the public.

“Public safety was not at risk,” Putnam told reporters after a state Cabinet meeting. “Two-hundred and ninety-one people who should not have gotten a license to carry a concealed weapon did so, but they were revoked as a result of the processes that we put in place.”

The problem, first reported Friday by the Tampa Bay Times, has led to heavy criticism of Putnam amid his campaign for governor. His comments Wednesday were similar to other statements he has made in recent days to address the controversy.

The issue began in February 2016 when a Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services employee stopped logging into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to see if applicants seeking state licenses to carry concealed weapons or firearms should be “flagged” for issues like drug abuse, involuntary mental confinements, dishonorable military discharges or undocumented immigrant status.

The problem wasn’t discovered until March 2017 when an investigation began that revealed 365 applications merited further review, leading the department to revoke 291 of the licenses. The employee who failed to carry out the background reviews was fired.

Putnam said there is no indication that any of the disqualified people who received concealed-weapons licenses were involved in criminal activity while they had the permits.

“Any time that anyone who has a concealed weapon license is arrested we are made aware of that. That reporting occurs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, depending on the arresting agency,” Putnam said.

Although information is slower coming from arrests made outside of Florida, Putnam said there were “no flags” on the people who should not have been licensed. “We have not received information on any of the 291,” he said.

Putnam also emphasized that all the applicants were run through three databases, which are managed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, including two that are based on fingerprints and the so-called NICS, which is based on names of applicants.

“I am absolutely committed to public safety and managing this program accurately and thoroughly, which is why frankly I am so disappointed that there was a breakdown and why we have taken actions to make sure this wouldn’t happen again,” he said.

Since the problem was discovered, Putnam said his agency has “strengthened the information flow and technology transfer” with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on background checks.

The Office of Inspector General in Putnam’s agency issued a report on the review breakdown last June. But it did not become public knowledge until Friday when it was reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

Putnam deflected questions on whether his agency should have alerted the public to the problem. He said, “stacks of inspector general reports” are issued routinely in state government but are not publicized, although the reports are available as public records.

As to how the breakdown occurred with the now-terminated employee, Putnam said: “It was the dumbest thing in the world. It happens to anybody with a computer. She emailed IT (information technology) and said my password isn’t working. And they emailed her back with instructions on how to fix the problem.”

But the former employee failed to follow through on the advice, Putnam said.

“I dropped the ball – I know I did that,” she told the investigators. “I should have been doing it and I didn’t.”

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Committee backing felon rights restoration raised $400K in May

The committee backing a 2018 ballot initiative that would automatically restore voting rights to Florida’s nonviolent ex-cons brought in more than $400,000 in contributions last month.

Floridians for a Fair Democracy received numerous small-dollar contributions from Floridians, though nearly all the $409,220 raised last month came through just three checks.

At the top of the report was a $200,000 check from The Sixteen Thirty Fund, an advocacy group that has sponsored dozens of local, state and federal advocacy campaigns since it was founded in 2009.

That contribution was followed by a pair of $100,000 checks from Cale Bonderman and Zoe Bonderman, who appear to be children of Texas billionaire David Bonderman.

Cale Bonderman is a musician and songwriter who heads up indie band Cale and the Gravity Well; Zoe Bonderman is listed an “owner and CEO.” Both Bondermans gave $100,000 to Floridians for a Fair Democracy in February as well.

May also saw the committee spend $227,762, including nearly $100,000 in payments to Ohio-based EMC Research, $40,000 to New York-based Mercury Public Affairs for consulting work, and a long list of other expenses including payroll for paid staffers.

That left the committee with $452,575 in the bank heading into June. Floridians for a Fair Democracy has raised nearly $5.5 million since it was formed in October 2014, though all but $100,000 of those funds were raised in the past 18 months.

Earlier this year, the felon voting rights amendment gathered enough signatures to make the Nov. 6 ballot, where it will appear as Amendment 4. It is one of 13 amendments, including eight amendments proposed by the Constitution Revision Commission, that will go before voters in the fall.

A recent survey conducted by EMC and North Star Opinion Research found nearly three-quarters of Florida voters in support of restoring voter restoration rights to felons. Amendments need at least 60 percent approval to be added to the state constitution.

Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Restoration Amendment, would restore voting rights to Floridians with felony convictions once they complete all terms of their sentence — including parole, probation, and restitution if imposed by a judge.

Those convicted of murder or sexual offenses would be ineligible.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons