ORLANDO, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking the Florida Supreme Court's opinion on whether convicted felons must, in fact, pay all fines, fees, and restitution before getting their voting rights restored.
- DeSantis wants state high court's opinion on Amendment 4 terms
- He asks whether "completion of all terms" means paying all fines
- Several lawsuits filed, which were combined into single federal case
- READ IT: Full text of governor's letter to the Florida Supreme Court (PDF)
The Republican governor requested the opinion in a letter dated Friday and addressed to Chief Justice Canady and the justices of the Supreme Court of Florida.
"I request your interpretation of whether 'completion of all terms of sentence' encompasses financial obligations, such as fines, fees and restitution... imposed by the court in the sentencing order," DeSantis wrote.
"I, as Governor of Florida, want to ensure the proper implementation of Article VI, section 4 of the Florida Constitution and, if applicable, chapter 2019-162, Laws of Florida. ...
"I will not infringe on the proper restoration of an individual's right to vote under the Florida Constitution," DeSantis said in the letter.
Last November, 64.5 percent of Florida voters voted for Amendment 4, which restored the voting rights of more than a million of the state's felons. Those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses weren't eligible.
Months later, the Florida Legislature passed a bill restricting those restored rights, requiring felons to pay all restitution and costs before they can register to vote. DeSantis signed that bill into law in June.