January 3, 2019

Not So Fast? Too bad, Voters Have Spoken [Tallahassee Democrat]

This post was last updated on December 8, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Amendment 4 calls for an automatic restoration of voting rights for people charged with felonies who have served their time. Despite its unambiguous verbiage and a looming effective date — January 8, 2019 —  a successful and statewide uniform implementation of Amendment 4 is still uncertain.

Some state leaders, like Governor-elect Ron DeSantis, are proposing some type of legislative action, because the current infrastructure lacks the proper tools to effectively support the voting registration of felons. This unfortunate hurdle could have been avoided if Florida lawmakers had made a stronger commitment to restoring felons’ civil rights and established a well-streamlined process. For years, the state’s civil rights restoration process has been plagued with backlogs and red tape.

When it comes to criminal justice reform, Florida tends to operate with a “not so fast” mentality — a pattern of behavior by policymakers who have consistently sidelined the need for comprehensive reform of the state’s criminal justice system.

Read more on tallahassee.com

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