Black Caucus Asks Gov. Scott to Reconsider Felons’ Rights Waiting Period

Black Caucus Asks Gov. Scott to Reconsider Felons’ Rights Waiting Period

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By: Jim Turner, SunshineStateNews.com

Gov. Rick Scott says he’s willing to reconsider aspects of rule he imposed governing the restoration of rights to convicted felons — one of a series of priorities established by the state’s Legislative Black Caucus.

“If somebody has a better idea or they can show me the facts I didn’t know before, I’ll look at it,” Scott said Tuesday when asked about the rule prior to meeting with caucus members. “If there is something that doesn’t make sense, I’ll look at it.”

But some members of the caucus didn’t believe Scott is that willing to revisit the issue.

Caucus member Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, said if Scott needs more information, he just has to ask.

“He’s able to get all the information he needs at the drop of a hat,” Jones said. “We pointed out there were already a number of people that were in the process of getting their rights restored and then they came in with stroke of a pen and made the decision to add additional years and it impacted every single one of those. That needed to be addressed.”

In March, Scott and the Florida Cabinet imposed a five- to seven-year waiting period for convicted felons to apply to have their rights restored.

The decision, opposed by groups including the ACLU of Florida, overturned the effort by Gov. Charlie Crist in 2007 to grant automatic restitution of rights for nonviolent felons once they completed their sentences.

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