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CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, media@aclufl.org(786) 363-2737

April 24, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today the Florida House voted to pass House Bill 527, which would require state and local law enforcement agencies and other entities (and their employees) to provide unlimited support to federal immigration enforcement, as broadly defined in the bill. In particular, it would require Florida law enforcement to detain individuals without a judicial determination of probable cause and would require local law enforcement to divert their already limited resources to comply with detainer arrest requests.

The companion Senate version of this bill, SB 168, is also scheduled to be heard by the full Senate, despite a statewide travel alert issued by advocates, and grave concerns held by numerous business leaders, and police chiefs.

The House also passed HB 7089, a bill that limits Amendment 4, the constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to Floridians with prior felony convictions, excluding murder and felony sexual offenses, after they complete all terms of their sentence.This bill extends far beyond what voters intended when they passed the amendment by broadening the definition of sexual felony offense and needlessly preventing individuals from having their voting rights restored if they owe any civil debt—even if they have completed their criminal sentence as ordered by the judge.

The companion Senate version of this bill, SB 7086, passed the Senate Rules committee yesterday, despite the bill’s overreaching language.

Micah Kubic, executive director, ACLU of Florida, responded to today’s vote on HB 527, stating:

“Forcing Florida law enforcement to implement ICE’s broken detainer system will disrupt the lives of Floridians all across the state. It will result in unlawfully detaining US citizens and people of color and tear families apart in Florida. Despite these concerns, many lawmakers continue to ignore this reality and allow bills like HB 527 to become state law. The truth is that local law enforcement should be focused on protecting and serving local communities—not on enforcing federal immigration law. “HB 527 will have real and harmful consequences to immigrant families, communities of color and our local law enforcement agencies. The bill is simply bad policy and we urge the Florida Senate to stop their version of this bill, SB 168, and protect the civil rights of all Floridians.”

Kara Gross, legislative director, ACLU of Florida, also responded to today’s vote on HB 7089, stating: 

“We are deeply concerned that HB 7089 is overly broad and extends far beyond the plain language of Amendment 4 or what any reasonable person would conclude the voters intended when they passed Amendment 4; and therefore, is unconstitutional. It is beyond question that the will of the people was to provide second chances and voter restoration for those who have been unjustly disenfranchised by our current system. Yet, disturbingly, this legislation will cause defacto lifetime disenfranchisement for large swaths of formerly incarcerated individuals who have completed their sentences — precisely the opposite of the entire purpose of Amendment 4. This bill merely replaces one unjust system for another.

”Florida’s citizens spoke clearly on election day – 1.4 million disenfranchised individuals deserve a second chance. This historic citizens initiative will only be thwarted by this legislation.” 

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