The House of Delegates Privileges and Elections Sub-Committee killed the restoration of rights measure today. Governor Bob McDonnell supports automatic restoration of rights for non violent convicted felons but House republicans do not.
Governor Bob McDonnell said during State of the Commonwealth Address, just under a week ago,
“While we have significantly improved and fast-tracked the restoration of civil rights process, it’s still an executive process. As a nation that believes in redemption and second chances, we must provide a clear path for willing individuals to be productive members of society once they have served their sentences and paid their fines and restitution. It is time for Virginia to join most of the other states and make the restoration of civil rights an automatic process for non-violent offenders. This session, Delegates Greg Habeeb and Peter Farrell have introduced bills to address this issue, and I urge you to support legislation for the automatic restoration of rights for non-violent felons.”
Multiple bills were introduced and all voted down. State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Kelly, both testified in favor of the constitutional amendment.
Delegate Charniele Herring, D-Arlington, and Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia said ” keeping voting rights from people who have served their time and paid their debt to society is wrong, even Governor Bob McDonnell says we should pass this legislation.”
Here is how members of the Privileges and Elections committee voted:
The subcommittee voted on a motion to recommend that HJ 535 be “passed by indefinitely” – meaning postponed for this session. That motion passed, 6-1.
All five Republicans on the subcommittee voted for the motion. They are Delegates Jackson Miller of Manassas, David Ramadan of Dulles, Timothy Hugo Centreville, Israel O’Quinn of Bristol, and Mark Cole of Fredericksburg. Democratic Delegate Johnny Joannou of Portsmouth also supported the motion.
Voting against the motion to kill the resolution was Delegate Algie T. Howell, a Democrat from Norfolk.
The automatic restoration of rights measure will go to the Senate soon. The bill is named the “Yvonne Miller Voter Restoration Act”.
Track legislation at the 2013 Virginia General Assembly Session at Richmond Sunlight