In response to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee passing its proposed committee bill CRJ 19-03 favorably on Tuesday, LWV Florida President Patricia Brigham offered the following statement:
“The League understands and respects the need for the state to clarify and define certain terms related to the implementation of Amendment 4. However, this bill seeks to redefine “completion of a sentence” to include court fines and fees that are not part of one’s original sentence. We urge state legislators to meet with any of the dozens of voter rights organizations that contributed to the passage of Amendment 4, in a good faith effort to rectify the problematic language in this bill.
“In his emotional defense of this bill in committee today, Committee Chair Representative James Grant said to ‘take us at our word’ that state legislators are not in any way attempting to subvert the will of the voters. The reality is that the Florida Legislature has earned a reputation of spending millions of taxpayer dollars in defense of indefensible noncompliance with the intent of voter initiatives through the years. We have seen this time after time, after time, after time: the class size amendment, the Florida lottery, Florida Forever, Fair Districts.
“We suggest the Legislature begin a new chapter in our state’s history — one where Floridians can expect their will to be obeyed, rather than skirted via semantical arguments. We remain committed to ensuring that the will of the voters goes unimpeded. We look forward to having productive conversations with legislators to make sure that happens.”