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Monday 1/14: Fate of Thousands of Voters in the Hands of Seven Men

by: frankoanderson

Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 10:29:06 AM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

House of Delegates to Consider Restoration of Rights Bills Monday, Jan. 14 at 8am

As you have probably heard, Gov. McDonnell recently announced his support for an automatic process for restoration of rights for Virginians convicted of nonviolent felonies.  

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.

Recently we learned that the above-mentioned bills, as well as similar Democratic bills which have been put forth repeatedly over the years, will be on the docket of the Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee for Monday, January 14th at 8am.

These seven Subcommittee members will be considering the proposed restoration of rights amendments on Monday morning.  If you have a moment, please contact them now:

frankoanderson :: Monday 1/14: Fate of Thousands of Voters in the Hands of Seven Men

Jackson Miller, Chair (R-Manassas) Phone (804) 698-1050 Email1 Email2 facebook twitter
Tim Hugo (R-Centreville) Phone (804) 698-1040 Email facebook
Johnny S. Joannou (D-Portsmouth) Phone (804) 698-1079
Algie Howell (D-Norfolk) Phone (804) 698-1090 Email
Israel O'Quinn (R-Bristol) Phone (804) 698-1005 Email facebook twitter
David Ramadan (R-Loudoun) Phone (804) 698-1087 Email facebook twitter
Mark Cole (ex-officio voting member) (R-Fredericksburg) Phone (804) 698-1088 Email

So, my question is this:  will Governor McDonnell put his money where his mouth is?  In other words, will he pressure (or has he pressured) the members of the Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee to support any of these bills on Monday morning?  Or will he allow these bills to die in subcommittee as they have so many times in the past?

Blue Virginia blogger Paul Goldman wrote that this could be Gov. McDonnell's "Nixon Goes to China" moment.  But without his active support in the legislature, this could be McDonnell's "Bush Goes to Mars" moment.

Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee Website
Meeting information
Date of Meeting: January 14, 2013
Time and Place: 8:00 a.m./4th Floor West, GAB (General Assembly Building)
201 North 9th Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219

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Sen. Mark Herring "deeply disappointed" at subcommittee defeat of restoration of voting rights bills (0.00 / 0)

Leesburg - Democratic candidate for Attorney General State Senator Mark Herring (Loudoun & Fairfax) issued the following statement following the vote of the House Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments to defeat legislation that would have created an automatic process for restoration of civil rights for Virginians convicted of nonviolent felonies:

"I am deeply disappointed that the subcommittee defeated this opportunity to give over 350,000 Virginians a chance at redemption.  Governor McDonnell took an important stand for this issue in his State of the Commonwealth address and it is a shame that members of his own party were unwilling to follow his lead.

"There is still an opportunity this session for Virginia to join the majority of other states that make the restoration of rights an automatic process for non-violent offenders.  Similar legislation, which I am proud to co-patron, is alive in the Senate and I am hopeful it will receive bipartisan support to pass the Senate and give the House another chance to do the right thing."

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DPVA Chair: "The House Republicans actions speak louder than words" (0.00 / 0)
McDonnell's Request to Restore Voting Rights Not Loud Enough for House GOP

RICHMOND -- This morning in Privileges and Elections Sub-Committee, just under a week after the Governor called upon the General Assembly to enact legislation for voting rights restoration, the House Republicans voted down multiple bills that could do just that. Even under pressure from Governor Bob McDonnell and the presumed leader of their ticket this year, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli a restrictive version of restoration of civil rights for non-violent felons was killed in committee earlier today.

"The House Republicans actions speak louder than words, instead of finding common ground on an issue like the restoration of voting rights they are working to make it harder to vote while they think no one is watching," said Del. Charniele Herring. "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.

"The ability to vote is one of our inherent rights as Americans. Instead Republicans in the House are using it as part of their political agenda to block access to the ballot box.

"It is my sincere hope that as we move forward through this legislative session that the members of this General Assembly can work together on a range of bills that will make voting more accessible during the upcoming election. Virginians deserve a legislature that will find ways to make it easier to have their voice heard not silence them while denying them the ability to vote."

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Sen. Mark Warner: "Very disappointing" the House blocked "bipartisan legislation" on voting rights restoration (0.00 / 0)
~ on rejection of Virginia legislation on restoration of voting rights ~

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement regarding today's action by a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee to defeat legislation that would have created an automatic process for restoration of civil rights for Virginians convicted of nonviolent felonies. Sen. Warner, who served as Virginia Governor between 2002-06, initiated a streamlined restoration of rights process that restored voting privileges to 3,486 nonviolent felons - more than all of his predecessors combined:

"It is very disappointing that this bipartisan legislation has been blocked at the starting point of a two-year process that would allow Virginia voters to weigh in on a commonsense step already in place in virtually every other state.  Restoring voting privileges to people who have completed their sentences, paid their fines, made restitution and lived as law-abiding citizens is the right thing to do, and that's why I made it a high priority when I served as Governor. I encourage the Virginia Senate to move forward on its own versions of this legislation so that the House of Delegates will have another opportunity this year to consider this bipartisan approach to restoration of rights."

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Gov. McDonnell: "very disappointed in today's vote" against restoration of voting rights (0.00 / 0)
Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on House Subcommittee Vote Against Automatic Restoration of Rights Amendments

RICHMOND-Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement this morning following a House subcommittee vote against proposed constitutional amendments that would provide for the automatic restoration of rights for individuals who have committed a non-violent felony but have served their full sentences and paid all fines and fees. Governor McDonnell announced his support for the legislation during the State of the Commonwealth address, and his Secretary of the Commonwealth, Janet Kelly, testified on behalf of the Administration in support of the measures at the hearing.

"I am very disappointed in today's vote against these constitutional amendments. Once individuals have served their time, and paid their fines, restitution, and other costs, they should have the opportunity to rejoin society as fully contributing members. As a nation that embraces second chances and believes in redemption, we want more productive citizens and fewer people returning to prison. Automatic restoration of constitutional rights will help reintegrate individuals back into society and prevent future crimes, which means fewer victims and a safer Virginia.

When I ran for Governor, I pledged to institute the fastest and fairest restoration of rights process in Virginia history. We have approved more applications for the restoration of rights than any prior administration. We are acting on completed applications in 60 days or less; far quicker than prior efforts. While it is a faster process, it is still an executive branch process. A person convicted of a non-violent offense, who has served their time, and paid all their fines and costs, should be able to then regain the right to vote and begin their life again as a fully engaged member of our democracy.  A constitutional right deserves a constitutional amendment so that all applicants are treated equally across administrations.

I believe strongly, as a matter of conscience, in protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens.  And I believe that it is time for Virginia to join the overwhelming majority of states in eliminating our bureaucratic restoration process and creating a clear predictable constitutional and statutory process. I appreciate the support of Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for this measure. Our Administration will remain committed to seeing Virginia put in place an automatic restoration of rights process for non-violent felons. It is the right step to take."

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