Virginia Gov. Northam Restores Civil Rights to 69,000 Felons

Governor Ralph Northam announced the restoration of civil rights, including voting rights, to 69,000 felons. In the Tuesday announcement, Northam said would restore the rights for anyone who had been released from incarceration.

“Too many of our laws were written during a time of open racism and discrimination, and they still bear the traces of inequity,” Northam said in a press release.

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Virginia Senate and House Disagree over How to Restore Felon Voting Rights

The Senate and the House of Delegates face a disagreement over constitutional amendments to end felon disenfranchisement. SJ 272, introduced by Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) and HJ 555, introduced by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) both effectively restore felon voting rights after the term of imprisonment is completed. However, the two bills feature different language, and on Wednesday, the Senate shot down an attempt by the House to change SJ 272 to match HJ 555. Now, the two chambers will attempt to draft a compromise bill in conference.

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