* Two issues–allowing ex-felons (not convicted of murder or sex crimes) to vote once they have completed their sentences and making driving-while-texting a primary offense–are not typically paired. But they should be.
The reason is cut-to-the-chase simple. It’s common sense and public safety. And the “public” is us. All of us non-ex-felons and all of us non-texting drivers. We’re all at risk.
Here’s hoping the Legislature will keep in mind that nearly two-thirds of the electorate voted for Amendment 4 and can clear up any rights-restoring details without playing partisan, ideological cards. But it should also know that ex-felons who are not integrated back into society have a scary recidivism rate. It’s what happens to those who’ve paid their dues but still find themselves disenfranchised with problematic prospects for the rest of their marginalized lives. No good results.
As for drivers who text, that has to finally become a primary offense. Right now it’s still a secondary offense, meaning recklessly not paying attention behind the wheel is not reason enough to get pulled over. With the rate of distracted driving accidents ever ratcheting, it only makes sense that the state should crack down on those who would imperil the rest of us on the road.
This isn’t about doing the right, responsible thing in the abstract. This is about doing what’s in our literal self interest. It’s about all of us. How’s that for a constituency?
* It looks like Florida Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis will be naming Richard Corcoran as the next education commissioner. Corcoran, the acerbic, former House Speaker, is also a charter-school champion. I miss Betty Castor.