Florida wrestles over felon voting rights restoration

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida lawmakers approved a bill to implement a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights for most felons who’ve completed their sentences.

A Senate committee approved the measure Monday, but opponents say the bill is too strict. Florida voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment in November.

At issue is what constitutes the completion of a sentence. Republicans say it includes paying restitution and court costs, while advocates for former felons say it should be completing a prison sentence, probation and parole.

Republican Sen. Keith Perry supports a bill that would make fulfilling all financial obligations included in a judge’s sentence a requirement before an ex-felon can vote.

But Perry and a Democratic senator on the Senate Criminal Justice Committee both said felons who completed prison sentences and supervision should go ahead and register while lawmakers sort it out.

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