Bill Text: FL S0430 | 2018 | Regular Session | Introduced

Bill Title: Restoration of Civil Rights

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Failed) 2018-03-10 - Died in Criminal Justice [S0430 Detail]

Download: Florida-2018-S0430-Introduced.html
       Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 430
       By Senator Thurston
       33-00627-18                                            2018430__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to restoration of civil rights;
    3         providing a short title; providing findings and
    4         purpose; creating s. 944.294, F.S.; providing for
    5         automatic restoration of a former felon’s civil
    6         rights, other than the right to own, possess, or use
    7         firearms, after completion of his or her sentence of
    8         incarceration and supervision; providing conditions
    9         for and exemptions from automatic restoration;
   10         providing for education concerning the civil rights of
   11         people who have felony convictions; amending s.
   12         944.292, F.S.; conforming provisions; amending s.
   13         944.705, F.S.; requiring release orientation program
   14         instructions to include restoration of civil rights;
   15         providing retroactive applicability; providing a
   16         contingent effective date.
   18  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   20         Section 1. Short title.—This act may be cited as the
   21  “Restoration of Civil Rights Act.”
   22         Section 2. Findings and purpose.—
   23         (1)FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that:
   24         (a)The exercise of civil rights is a fundamental aspect of
   25  citizenship. Restoring civil rights allows former felons to
   26  participate in public service, serve on juries, and pursue
   27  chosen occupations.
   28         (b)Restoring civil rights helps felons who have completed
   29  their sentences to reintegrate into society. Their opportunities
   30  to fully participate in society reinforce their ties to their
   31  communities and may help to prevent recidivism.
   32         (c)Under current law, all persons convicted of felonies
   33  permanently lose many civil rights unless they receive
   34  discretionary executive clemency.
   35         (d)The restoration of civil rights through the clemency
   36  process is cumbersome, costly, and produces long delays. The
   37  clemency process imposes administrative burdens on the state and
   38  economic burdens on state taxpayers and should be reserved for
   39  extraordinary cases. Streamlining the restoration process for
   40  the majority of former felons will advance administrative
   41  efficiency, fiscal responsibility, fairness, and democracy.
   42         (2)PURPOSE.—The purpose of this act is to strengthen
   43  democratic institutions by enabling persons who have completed
   44  their felony sentences to become productive members of society
   45  and to streamline procedures for restoring civil rights.
   46         Section 3. Section 944.294, Florida Statutes, is created to
   47  read:
   48         944.294Restoration of civil rights.—
   49         (1)A person who has been convicted of a felony, other than
   50  a felony specified in subsection (3), shall have his or her
   51  civil rights that are lost as a consequence of a conviction of
   52  that felony restored upon completion of his or her sentence.
   53  However, this subsection does not apply to restoration of the
   54  right to own, possess, or use firearms.
   55         (2)For purposes of this section, completion of sentence
   56  occurs when a person is released from incarceration upon
   57  expiration of his or her sentence and has fulfilled all other
   58  terms and conditions of the sentence or subsequent supervision
   59  or, if the person has not been incarcerated for the felony
   60  offense, has fulfilled all terms and conditions of supervision
   61  imposed on him or her.
   62         (3)(a)A person is ineligible for restoration of civil
   63  rights under this section if he or she was convicted of a crime
   64  defined by any of the following:
   65         1.Section 782.04, relating to murder.
   66         2.Section 782.07(3), relating to aggravated manslaughter
   67  of a child.
   68         3.Section 794.011, relating to sexual battery.
   69         4.Section 826.04, relating to incest.
   70         5.Section 827.071, relating to sexual performance by a
   71  child.
   72         6.Section 847.0145, relating to selling or buying of
   73  minors, otherwise transferring or obtaining custody or control
   74  of minors, or offering to do the same.
   75         (b)A person is ineligible for restoration of civil rights
   76  under this section if he or she was convicted of treason or if
   77  his or her impeachment has resulted in conviction, as referred
   78  to in s. 8, Art. IV of the State Constitution.
   79         (4)This section does not impair the ability of a person
   80  convicted of a felony to apply for executive clemency under s.
   81  8, Art. IV of the State Constitution.
   82         (5)A court shall, before accepting a plea of guilty or
   83  nolo contendere to a felony without trial or, if a trial is
   84  held, before imposing sentence for a felony, notify the
   85  defendant as follows:
   86         (a)If the felony is specified in subsection (3), that
   87  conviction will result in permanent loss of civil rights unless
   88  he or she receives executive clemency under s. 8, Art. IV of the
   89  State Constitution.
   90         (b)If the felony is not specified in subsection (3), that
   91  conviction will result in loss of civil rights until the
   92  defendant completes his or her sentence and that civil rights
   93  will be restored thereafter, except for the right to own,
   94  possess, or use firearms.
   95         (6)The Secretary of State shall develop and implement a
   96  program to educate members of the public, attorneys, judges,
   97  election officials, and corrections officials, including parole
   98  and probation officers, about the requirements of this section,
   99  ensuring that:
  100         (a)Judges are informed of their obligation to notify
  101  criminal defendants of the potential loss and restoration of
  102  their civil rights as required by subsection (5).
  103         (b)Accurate and complete information about the civil
  104  rights of people who have been charged with or convicted of
  105  crimes, whether disenfranchising or not, is made available
  106  through a single publication to government officials and the
  107  public.
  108         Section 4. Subsection (1) of section 944.292, Florida
  109  Statutes, is amended to read:
  110         944.292 Suspension of civil rights.—
  111         (1) Upon conviction of a felony as defined in s. 10, Art. X
  112  of the State Constitution, the civil rights of the person
  113  convicted shall be suspended in Florida until such rights are
  114  restored by a full pardon, conditional pardon, or restoration of
  115  civil rights granted pursuant to s. 8, Art. IV of the State
  116  Constitution or by restoration of civil rights pursuant to s.
  117  944.294.
  118         Section 5. Paragraph (g) of subsection (2) of section
  119  944.705, Florida Statutes, is redesignated as paragraph (h), and
  120  a new paragraph (g) is added to that subsection, to read:
  121         944.705 Release orientation program.—
  122         (2) The release orientation program instruction must
  123  include, but is not limited to:
  124         (g)Restoration of civil rights.
  125         Section 6. This act applies retroactively to all persons
  126  who are eligible for restoration of civil rights under the terms
  127  of the act, regardless of whether such persons were convicted or
  128  discharged from sentence before the effective date of this act.
  129         Section 7. This act shall take effect on the effective date
  130  of SJR __ or another amendment to the State Constitution which
  131  authorizes, or removes impediments to, enactment of this act by
  132  the Legislature.