After the Florida Cabinet voted unanimously to impose new restrictions on felons seeking to have their civil rights restored, critics of the decision said it was made with what Howard Simon of the ACLU of Florida described as “unseemly haste.”
The specifics of the plan were not revealed till hours before the decision was made. Attorney General Pam Bondi said this afternoon that she had laid out the key parts of her plan during the previous meeting of the state clemency board in late February, including the provisions that felons should have to apply to have their rights restored and that there should be a waiting period.
There’s nothing in the constitution that entitles people to automatic restoration of their rights, said Bondi, a former prosecutor, who said the changes will be a “tremendous asset for law enforcement.”
“I met with everyone who wanted to meet with me,” she said (including Simon, last week).
Simon said he felt two weeks was not enough time to publicly air the consequences of the plan or consult with criminal justice experts.
Gov. Rick Scott, for his part, said he saw no point in delaying a decision he felt was the right one.
“A permanent loss of civil rights is part of the debt owed to society,” he said, adding that having them restored is a privilege.