Constitutional amendment; restoration of civil rights. (HJ604)

Introduced By

Del. Betsy Carr (D-Richmond) with support from co-patron Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate


Constitutional amendment (first resolution); restoration of civil rights. Authorizes the General Assembly to provide by general law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of felonies who have completed service of their sentence, including any period or condition of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. Currently, the Constitution provides for restoration of rights by the Governor. The proposed amendment retains the right of the Governor to restore civil rights and adds the alternative for restoration of rights pursuant to general law. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/13/2015Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/15 15100051D
01/13/2015Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/20/2015Assigned P & E sub: Constitutional Amendments
02/10/2015Left in Privileges and Elections


ACLU-VA Voting Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports legislation to amend the Virginia Constitution to repeal the Commonwealth’s felon disenfranchisement provision. The ACLU strongly supports automatically restoring the rights of all persons convicted of felonies without being conditioned on payment of fines, fees, and restitution. Supporting proposals without conditions does not absolve individuals convicted of felonies from their duties to pay the court or victims. A vast majority of disenfranchised citizens in Virginia are not incarcerated and are tax-paying citizens with jobs and families who are involved in their communities. For the purposes of voting, financial obligations should not prohibit citizens from exercising their constitutional rights. Virginia, one of the worst states in the nation for felon disenfranchisement, has an estimated 450,000, or nearly 7.3 percent, citizens who have permanently lost their constitutional right to vote.

Katrina Milburn writes:

So many people are being incarcerated and charged with felonies, like my self, because of a bad decision. If I had the $270 to pay I wouldn't have even been convicted of a misdemeanor. But I was in jail waiting on a bond and had no access or way to make that happen. I couldn't just pick up the phone and call. I grew up playing club soccer year round and was captain of my volleyball team where I was awarded The Leadership Award. I made straight A's! I have several medical conditions and no health insurance. I made desperate choices in order to receive health care. I volunteer at numerous places, Food banks, Mental Health CIT Training, Peer Support, Humane society, NAMI, and much more. I payed my dues, got off probation early, the fact that I can't vote kills me because it's a right and my opinion should matter, felony or not. I believe in this bill, as long as the person pays their dues and follows the steps should be able to vote.
"Everyone is one bad decision away from Jail" - Heather Custer, Director at NRVCS (New River Valley Community Services)