EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is from 2017. The bill was postponed, withdrawn from consideration and ultimately died in Florida's Criminal Justice Subcommittee in March 2018.
A new bill filed earlier this month could make it easier for convicted felons to have their voting and gun rights restored.
The bill, HB 903, was filed on Dec. 6 by State Rep. Cord Byrd (R-Neptune Beach) would allow judges to restore the rights of felons after they've completed prison sentences and probation.
Florida currently prohibits convicted felons from owning firearms or voting.
"Currently, the average wait time for Restoration of Rights is over 9 years, with some as long as 11 years," Byrd wrote in a Facebook post. "Over 22,000 applications are pending, with only a few hundred being processed each year. Clearly the system is broken."
Under the bill, people convicted of felonies would have to petition a county judge to have the rights restored.