State Watch

Nevada governor signs bill to restore voting rights to convicted felons

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) on Wednesday signed into law a pair of criminal justice reform bills, including one that restores voting rights to convicted felons following their release from prison. 

“I just signed two criminal justice reform bills that will restore fairness and justice to thousands of Nevadans,” Sisolak said on Twitter following the signing. “I’m so excited about the positive impact these bills will have on our communities, especially communities of color.”

The first measure Sisolak signed, known as Assembly Bill 431, immediately grants the right to vote to felons released from prison or discharged from parole or probation. The law will replace one that granted certain felons the right to vote two years after their prison release, The Associated Press noted

{mosads}Sisolak said the legislation, which is set to go into effect on July 1, will re-enfranchise about 77,000 state residents. 

The other measure Sisolak signed into law will streamline the process for sealing low-level marijuana convictions. The AP reported that the law allows a person to ask a court to seal records for any offense that has since been decriminalized. 

“As we look toward the future of legal cannabis, it’s time also to provide a better future for these Nevadans,” the first-year governor said on Twitter. 

The moves from Sisolak come as discussions around voting rights and marijuana decriminalization gain attention among state legislatures.

Florida voters in November approved an amendment automatically restoring voting rights to approximately 1.5 million felons released from prison in the state. The Florida House passed a bill last month that would make felons pay all court fees and costs in addition to restitution before becoming eligible to vote. 

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