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Scott on civil rights, pill mills and insurance - scribbles

1.) Asked to respond to criticism that Scott and the clemency board rushed a decision to slow down the restoration of civil rights, Scott said it was their decision: "It's the clemency board's decision to decide what these are. We listen to public comment and it's something that we'll always be reviewing to make sure that we're fair to the citizens of this state, but I'm very comfortable that the rules that we put out are right."

But are the rules fair to felons who have completed their sentences?

"If you are a convicted felon, part of what you did is you lost your rights," Scott said. "There ought to be a process if you're going to get those rights back. And I think it's fair to the rest of the citizens in the state and they'll see a process that they know will work."

2.) Scott said his office is working on an insurance bill that will address how long a rate payer can file a claim, address the sinkhole issue and reduce the size of Citizens.

"We've got to look at all the things we can do to drive down either the existing cost of property insurance or the growth rate. One or the other, hopefully both," Scott said.

3.) Scott gave no indication that he'll let a Department of Health contract proceed despite an administrative law judge decision Tuesday that cleared up a dispute between two companies hoping to run the database. Asked twice about his plans for the contract, Scott said he would work with the Legislature to address the problem with over-prescribing drugs in Florida.

Scott repeated his concern a database with Floridians' health information could be breached and exploited. He also said he was not interested in companies initially paying for the costs of the database..

"I don't want to be participating in things that only get funded for a very short period of time and then the expectation is the state is going to pick up the funding," Scott said. "We're going to work with the Legislature to find the right approach."

4.) Scott opened the press conference still on a high from his State of the State "talk" last night. "I hope everybody enjoyed the talk last night, my first one hopefully of many. Yesterday was a pretty exciting day for me. I've never done that before."

5.) The much-anticipated high-speed rail study was released today and showed the train would have an operating surplus. Scott was shrugged it off.

"I had been briefed on their ridership study and I looked at other ridership studies and I'm still very comfortable with the decision I made that I don't want the taxpayers of the state on the hook for the cost overruns of building it, the operating costs or giving the money back if it's shut down."


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Florida is home to nearly 1/5 of our nation’s 5.5 million disenfranchised men and women. Florida fails to understand why the other 47 states in our country have allowed civil rights to be restored after due process has been served. Withholding civil rights from these individuals is kind of like paying off the debt on your home and the bank saying, Oh wait a minute; we want to wait another five years before we transfer your title to you. This is nothing more than a political maneuver to keep approximately 900,000 tax paying men and women out of the voting process. The other states that are restoring civil rights to ex-felons after they have served out their sentences are seeing a nearly 50% reduction in recidivism in their states. Isn’t this what our Florida Correctional System, and I use this word lightly, is supposed to do is help correct? Remove the correctional because this is a system and the system is broke. Look at the numbers grow. Fewer people returning to incarceration and more being reintegrated back into society is what I would call progress. Larger prison populations and a growing number of our disenfranchised citizens is moving us backwards. What is our goal here? I have said this and I will say it again that our correctional system is one of the largest corporations in our country. We spent $74 billion last year nationally. Someone has some deep pockets. In reality it is your money and it is my money and it is a poor investment. Politics and big business have no business in our justice system. The CCA needs to stay out of Florida. Governor Scott has been trying to convince everyone that bringing them to Florida makes good since. Look at the law suits that the CCA are fighting in other states before you buy into this.

Florida’s Board of Executive Clemency has passed new rules which extend the length of punishment for felons long after due process of the law has been served and sentences have been completed. Governor Rick Scott along with Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam implemented new punitive policies March 9, 2011 that obligate felons, who have already served there time and repaid their debt to society, to a longer waiting period before being considered having their civil rights restored. In many cases these rights will never be restored. Bondi addressed the need for extending the waiting periods before restoring civil rights to ex felons who have completed their sentences by issuing this statement, “I fundamentally and philosophically oppose the concept of the automatic restoration of civil rights. I believe that every convicted felon must actively apply for the restoration of his or her civil rights and that there should be a mandatory waiting period before applying. The restoration of civil rights for any felon must be earned, it is not an entitlement." If the restoration of civil rights must be earned then why do we have judges? Why do we have juries of our peers? What purpose do our courts serve?

I believe that most citizens feel that the civil rights of an individual should never be transferable. At least citizens of the other 47 states appear to feel this way. Florida has gone backwards in the stuggle for civil rights. Most people believe that once due process has been handed down by a court of law and served that it is the obligation of that state to restore that citizen to his or her former status as an American citizen. Remember forgiveness of a wrong is a two way street. Do not ever burn that bridge that someday you may have to cross.

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