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New Measure Passes in Florida That Has Former Felons Tickled Pink

This is certainly interesting.

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One of the major issues on the ballot for Florida voters on Tuesday was Amendment 4, which would restore a former felon’s right to vote in elections if they had already served their full sentence and were not convicted of murder or sexual crimes.

Where’s what the new amendment actually says:

This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.

Trending: American Music Icon Dead at 72; Was Set to Tour This Summer

Before this ballot initiative passed, felons in Florida could only have their rights restored by appealing to the governor. However, in February a federal judge ruled that it was unconstitutional to leave this decision to the sole discretion of a partisan politician. During his two terms in office, former Gov. and now Sen.-elect Rick Scott had restored the voting rights of roughly 3,000 felons who had served out their sentences. His predecessor, Democrat Charlie Crist, had granted this right to 150,000 felons during his single term in office.

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CNN, citing data from the nonprofit Sentencing Project, estimates that this new ruling could make 1.5 million more people eligible to vote. To put that in context, 13 million Floridians registered to vote for the 2018 midterm elections. 64.47 percent of the 7.9 million people who voted on this measure voted in favor of it. This amendment received support both from liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, and rom Freedom Partners, which is funded by libertarian billionaire Charles Koch.

This is one of those issues that a lot of folks on both sides of the aisle are split on. Many folks, both Democrat and Republican, feel that if you commit a felony there are serious, long lasting consequences, which includes the forfeiture of the right to have a say in who governs you and what kind of laws are passed.

Others feel that every human being has a God-given right to decide who governs over them, regardless of whether or not they may have made some bad choices in the past.

At the core of the issue is whether or not a human being should be punished indefinitely for making a one time mistake. These are individuals who didn’t commit violent crimes. Should they be denied the right to vote forever due to that one offense?

Or have they paid their debt to society and thus should be restored as full citizens? It seems more consistent with conservative values to say that a person who has paid their debt to society and didn’t commit a violent crime should be restored to full citizenship.

If rehabilitation is really the goal of prison time, that’s the only outcome that makes sense.

Source: TheBlaze

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American Music Icon Dead at 72; Was Set to Tour This Summer

Rest in peace, amigo.

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When it comes to gritty guitars and even grittier songs, there is no act quite like that little ol’ band from Texas. ZZ Top mainlined American blues standards directly into the electric era of 1970’s rock, and then reinvented the genre once again with the synthesizers of the 1980’s.  From there, the band toured the world incessantly, bringing their grimy grooves and unforgettable stage presence to audiences from Dusseldorf to Delaware. Now, just weeks before the band was set to take to the road once again, one member of the holy triumvirate of honky-tonk has passed away. Dusty Hill, the bassist for ZZ Top, has died. He was 72. Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard of the Texas-based trio issued a statement to Variety on Tuesday, writing: “We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top’. We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C.’” And then, echoing the sentiments of music fans the nation over: “You will be missed greatly, amigo,” the statement added. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, so we’ll just leave you all with a classic. Make sure to turns those speakers up, y’all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5WB5ouP-8c  

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Mask Mandates Coming Back to Capitol Hill After CDC Switcheroo

This isn’t likely to go over well with some lawmakers.

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With the “delta” variant now raging in some parts of the country, and breakthrough infections of vaccinated individuals continuing to be reported, the CDC has made a stark decision, stating that even vaccinated folks should be wearing a mask when they are indoors or in parts of the country with high COVID transmission rates. This has now prompted the House of Representatives to bring back a previously criticized policy themselves. Capitol Attending Physician Brian Monahan said late Tuesday that the House of Representatives is reinstating its mask mandate – and therefore the threat of fines to members who don’t comply – following updated guidance from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the delta variant of the coronavirus. The White House also appears to be going back to mandated masks. A White House press representative was seen Tuesday swapping a sign saying people are required to wear masks if unvaccinated with another saying masks are required regardless of vaccination status. Monahan didn’t leave much room for interpretation. “For the Congress, representing a collection of individuals traveling weekly from various risk areas (both high and low rates of disease transmission), all individuals should wear a well-fitted, medical-grade filtration mask (for example an ear loop surgical mask or a KN95 mask) when they are in an interior space,” Monahan said in a letter sent to congressional staffers. The move will almost certainly see pushback from the far right side of the aisle, where the mandating of masks has been a very unpopular policy, and a point of contention in almost every arena in which it has been implemented.

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