Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried today sent a letter to her colleagues on the Executive Board of Clemency, requesting adoption of new proposed clemency rules at their next meeting on April 8.
Earlier this week, Commissioner Fried called on her Clemency Board colleagues to adopt new clemency rules proposed by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. Also this week, a federal circuit court ruled that Florida’s Amendment 4 implementing law is unconstitutional and disenfranchises Floridians. Fried lauded that court decision, stating “we don’t have to wait on litigation or legislation … we can restore voting rights immediately.”
The letter, which may be read here as well as on Twitter, reads in part:
“For fourteen months, I have requested that we adopt clemency rules that will swiftly restore rights and justice to our fellow citizens. This week, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition released proposed clemency rules that would do exactly that. These draft rules will eliminate the current backlog of applicants seeking Restoration of Civil Rights, and will prevent a future backlog from developing. These rules are precisely the direction in which we as the Clemency Board should go forth.
Therefore, I am requesting that consideration for adoption of the proposed rules be added to the agenda for the April 8 meeting of the Clemency Board. If this is not practical, I would therefore request a special set meeting prior to April 8 for consideration of these rules.
Our current clemency process has been rightfully called “crushingly restrictive” and “arbitrary and discriminatory.” Our current clemency rules are a relic of the past, serve to exacerbate the second-class citizenship of returning Floridians, and constitute voter suppression. We can replace them in the coming weeks, as we should have when we first convened fourteen months ago.”
Commissioner Fried has been a strong proponent of reforming Florida’s clemency rules, called “crushingly restrictive” and growing harder. She has repeatedly called for the adoption of new clemency rules automatically restoring civil and voting rights, through letters to her Clemency Board colleagues and town hall meetings across the state, and for clearing the backlog of 10,000 clemency applicants for Restoration of Civil Rights. This week, Fried called again on the Governor to grant Restoration of Civil Rights to the more than 600 applicants eligible without a hearing.