Rarely in these divisive political times do we see two political parties working together for the greater good. Florida’s no ordinary state, and HB 903 bill proves it. It was written by a Republican and a Democrat, and was filed on 12/6/2017.
This “Restoration of Rights” bill would allow those who have finished serving time for some felonies, and who have shown real improvement, to have certain freedoms restored.
Each case would have to be reviewed by a judge. Sex offenders and murderers are automatically denied, for obvious reasons.
For those who have made mistakes, paid for their crimes, and can prove to the court of law that they’ve changed and wish to live a better life, this bill could potentially restore their rights as a law-abiding citizen of Florida.
People tend to get worried when they hear the word “felon.” You’d be surprised how many kind felons you met this week. And you’d be surprised how many bad people you met that simply never got caught. People make mistakes, and people do change. Are you the same person you were 20 years ago? Felons are people you work with, people you chat with at Publix, parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters. They are human beings. They’re your family and your friends (and if you don’t know any, you either live a very boring life, or they just haven’t told you because you haven’t asked).
Right now those convicted felons who have paid their time are being stripped of their rights to vote and own a gun. The punishment continues. Their 2nd Amendment rights are being stepped on, as well as their natural rights to be able to defend themselves.
Cord Byrd, one of the bill’s main two writers, said this about it:
“Before I’m a Republican, I’m a constitutionalist, and that’s what my oath is to, is to the Constitution.”
Veterans are the biggest reason this bill was created.
When coming off of active duty, reintegration into civilian life can be very challenging and they often end up in the criminal justice system. Many of them were charged without any deference for what they have been through to keep us free.
Those same veterans have lived decades being good, law abiding citizens, yet they can’t get their rights back.
Many people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s just want to teach their grandkids how to hunt and shoot. But they can’t.
Even victims of sex trafficking and youthful offenders who went through unspeakable horrors have ended up in the system and just wish to get their lives back.
Now, this isn’t a free-for-all. You have to really prove, by action and example, that you deserve your rights restored. If you act like an idiot, or refuse to change your ways, then you stand no chance. The website Bearing Arms wrote a great article on this bill and they describe the safety measures built in to prevent people from abusing this potential amendment:
When it comes to the restoration of rights, it’s not something someone can get the moment they step out of prison. According to the paperwork from the state of Florida cites five to seven years of a clean record. In other words, they’re people who have kept their noses clean and aren’t likely to become recidivists.
Kim Daniels is the other main sponsor of the bill, telling Action News Jax:
“What I’ve been focusing on is people who need a second chance getting that second chance, and I think it’s a good thing that people who have paid the price, who can prove that their life is changed by going before a judge, and that’s the difference.“
WFSU News has an interview with them that you may listen to.
Florida Politics uploaded video of a press conference, which you may find below:
Of course, the best way to cut through the fat is to read the bill yourself, that way you know exactly what you’re voting for. You may read the full bill text from the Florida Senate website: