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Senator Tommy Norment
P.O. Box 6205
Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 259-7810

Kalia Sokos
Legislative Aide

Zach Le Master
Senior Staff Assistant
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Senator Norment introduces Constitutional Amendment to automatically restore vote to non-violent felons

Williamsburg, Virginia, 1 September 2016: Senate of Virginia Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) filed legislation today to amend the Constitution of Virginia to allow those convicted of non-violent felonies to have their political rights automatically restored after all the terms of their sentence have been completed.

Senator Norment's proposed amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 223, would restore the right to vote to those convicted of non-violent felonies, provided they have completed the entirety of their sentence and any probation, and have paid in full any fines, court costs, and restitution. The amendment also assigns to the General Assembly the responsibility of defining offenses that would be classified as violent. Those convicted of violent felonies would not be qualified to vote.

"There is only one right way to automatically restore the vote to those convicted of non-violent felonies who have completed their sentences and paid their fines and restitution," Senator Norment said. "That right way requires an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia, approved by the General Assembly and the people of Virginia.

"I believe those convicted of non-violent felonies deserve a second chance. This amendment would give them that opportunity. But, they would first have to complete all of the terms of their sentence, including paying their fines, court costs, and any restitution. These were the conditions required by all of Governor McAuliffe's predecessors.

"This amendment would guarantee those who have their right to vote restored are truly deserving of that second chance. And to ensure the unnecessary drama that ensued after Governor McAuliffe issued his unconstitutional rights restoration order on April 22 does not repeat itself, this amendment would remove the executive from the rights restoration process.

"I will be presenting this legislation in the 2017 General Assembly session and hope that my fellow legislators will join me in supporting it."

To be adopted, amendments to the Constitution of Virginia must be approved by the General Assembly in two successive sessions with an intervening election and then receive an affirmative vote from the people of Virginia in a general election. Senator Norment's proposed amendment would, therefore, have to be approved during the 2017 and 2018 General Assembly sessions and then receive a positive vote from Virginians in the November 6, 2018 general election.

Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. represents the 3rd District in the Senate of Virginia. The 3rd District includes Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, and New Kent Counties, the City of Poquoson, and portions of Isle of Wight, James City, Surry, and York Counties, and the Cities of Hampton and Suffolk.

Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Tommy Norment