Statement on SB 7086 passing Senate Criminal Justice Committee

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.In response to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee passing SB 7086, the Senate’s version of legislative overreach on Amendment 4, LWV Florida president Patricia Brigham released the following statement:

Let’s call SB 7086 what it is: An attempt at voter suppression.

This effort suppresses the vote by ignoring the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted to enfranchise returning citizens when they cast their ballots in favor of Amendment 4 in 2018.

While Criminal Justice Chair Keith Perry gave the bill a fair hearing today, the semantical game playing of some of the committee members was an affront to the 5.1 million voters who knew what they were voting for in November; for example, quibbling about the difference between murder and homicide.

The language of Amendment 4 was clear and unambiguous: Attempted murder and manslaughter — while incredibly serious crimes — are by definition, not murder. Yet lawmakers have unnecessarily inserted a debate about these terms into the “conversation.”

This is exactly why Floridians have grown so cynical about the legislative process.

Proponents of the bill are saying they are “honoring the intent” of voters, however they are fooling no one. SB 7086 clearly intends to undermine and thwart the will of Florida voters. Unsurprisingly the bill passed along party lines. It is disappointing that partisan politics is again subverting the will of an amendment that an overwhelming majority of voters approved.

As SB 7086 continues to move through the legislative process, we will remain steadfast in our commitment to giving the 1.4 million returning citizens the second chance they deserve.

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