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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/2/20

Bloomberg Bucks Can Strike a Blow Against "Modern-Day Poll Tax" in Florida

Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is throwing his money around as he tries to push Uncle Joe Biden and the other "moderate" candidates off the campaign stage. No doubt he will also take aim at Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren before he finds other ways to spend his billions.

Bloomberg may even make it into future Democratic presidential primary debates. On Friday, the Democratic National Committee announced a rules change governing who qualifies for the national tv production set for Nevada this month. His presence sets up a necessary debate about the positive and negative influences money plays in our democracy. click here

To date, Bloomberg is climbing in the polls by spending his fortune on digital and conventional advertising. He is also making investments in Democratic causes. click here

Bloomberg, or his groups, have given $5 million to Fair Fight Action. click here and click here

They have also spent millions in Virginia to support gun violence protection efforts and candidates who back climate change policies. click here and click here

But I can't find anything online to indicate his support for the voting rights of returning citizens in Florida. So, it's time he sends a big check to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. ridarrc.com/ This organization helped convince Florida citizens to vote to change their constitution in 2018. Almost 65% of voters approved Amendment 4, which returned the franchise to returning citizens who "complete all terms of their sentence," including parole and probation.

But this apparently simple language is subject to political and legislative debate and legal wrangling. That's because of SB 7066, a Florida law that requires returning citizens to repay fees, fines and restitution imposed by a judge before they can register and vote. The Republican governor signed the legislation about six months after voters decided to change the state constitution. Repaying criminal justice debt first will prevent many of an estimated 1.4 million returning citizens from registering and voting.

That's where Bloomberg and his money come into play. In a Nov. 26, 2019 article, Ezra Marcus wrote:

"A benevolent billionaire could simply pay off fees for all felons in Florida. In July, Meade's advocacy group, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, created a fundraising campaign to help felons in Florida pay off outstanding fines. So far, they've raised only $250,000 out of the $3 million they asked for. There's no immediately available estimate of how much paying off all the fines would cost, and the number is likely higher than the campaign's current goal. But it's certainly a number that would be a mere drop in the bucket for someone like Bloomberg, whose net worth tops $50 billion.

"In one fell swoop, he could vastly improve chances for Democrats in Florida. It might even get his name on television."

click here

What do you say, Mr. Bloomberg?


(Article changed on February 3, 2020 at 11:30)

 

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Steve Schneider Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter Page       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Steve Schneider lives in Hollywood, Fl. He is learning about issues involving election reform and voting rights. He registered to vote when an election official appeared at a high school class he took senior year. He thinks registering to (more...)
 

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Steve Schneider

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Michael Bloomberg isn't my first or second choice in the Democratic race. I don't have a third choice.

But I'm wondering: am I playing into Bloomberg's hands by suggesting he spend some money to help restore the voting rights of returning citizens in Florida? Is it possible to divorce the good things he is doing with his money from his attempt to win the Democratic nomination for president?

I'm also wondering if the other Democratic candidates will address Bloomberg's spending habits if he continues to climb in the polls?

Submitted on Sunday, Feb 2, 2020 at 7:23:54 PM

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Scott Baker

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Makes a lot of sense. And it might tip Florida to the Democrats, even if not Bloomberg. The Republicans are certainly worried about it enough to re-impose this latter-day Poll Tax to prevent ex-felons from voting.

Submitted on Sunday, Feb 2, 2020 at 7:57:22 PM

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Steve Schneider

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Hello Scott,

My preference is that Michael Bloomberg does not beat out Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic nomination. Should Sanders or Warren win the nomination, I hope Bloomberg will keep his word and continue to invest his fortune in progressive causes across our country.

From a quick online search, I can see that Bloomberg is giving money to boost Planned Parenthood, climate change advocates, and environmental and nature organizations such as the Sierra Club. Bloomberg or his groups are also donating lots of money to organizations fighting gun violence, as well as Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight Action voting rights effort.

I want him to continue doing this for the rest of his life. I say, G-d bless him, even if he is not my choice for president. Let him keep doing something that will last for years.

Submitted on Monday, Feb 3, 2020 at 12:35:52 PM

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