FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2016 file photo, a voter casts his primary vote in Hialeah, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

Florida House passes bill giving ex-felons voting rights

Legislation to restore voting rights to convicted felons except murderers and felony sex offenders has passed the Florida House.

The Republican-dominated House voted 71-45 Wednesday for the bill that would implement a constitutional amendment approved by voters last November. The main issue is whether legislation is needed at all, and whether the bill sets up unnecessary hurdles for ex-felons such as requiring that all fines and restitution be paid.

Republican Rep. Jamie Grant of Tampa, the main sponsor, said completion of a sentence includes probation and any financial obligations ordered by a judge. Opponents said those requirements would bar many former felons and violate the spirit of the constitutional amendment.

The bill now goes to the Senate where a similar measure is pending.

Author: Associated Press
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