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Proposed legislation would add more conditions to Amendment 4

Florida Legislative Black Caucus is pushing back
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Posted at 6:35 PM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 18:35:36-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Last November, Florida voters approved Amendment 4, which restores the right to vote to most people who've completed felony sentences.

New proposed legislation would add more conditions and that's not sitting well with some at the Capitol.

The Florida Legislative Black Caucus is pushing back against two bills that they say are ignoring the will of the people.

Voters approved Amendment 4, but the caucus says these proposals are just getting in the way.

Both the House and Senate versions have conditions before an ex-felon can vote. One includes fees and fines that weren't court-ordered.

That's where the Caucus draws the line.

The group says that's putting a price on the right to vote and adding barriers to an issue Floridians were clear about.

"I truly believe when you're free from confinement, you must be free for opportunity," said State Representative Clovis Watson, Jr., member of Florida Legislative Black Caucus. "If not, you're still confined, just not between prison walls. We need to offer opportunity to those who have made mistakes to be reintroduced in society as equals and certainly an opportunity to vote."

Here's what the governor's communications director told ABC News last week:

"While he has not publicly weighed in on the bills, Governor DeSantis has stated that the legislature must provide clarity and structure to be able to properly implement Amendment 4."

Some Caucus members say the bills promote a sort of "poll tax," and that the governor should issue an executive order to waive the fees and fines.