Several Virginia papers and the Washington Post are running an AP story about Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell setting a faster pace in restoring the right to vote to non-violent felons in the Commonwealth than his predecessor Tim Kaine. The Post story is titled “Law-and-order Gov. Bob McDonnell sets record pace for restoring civil rights of former felons.” I am not sure what “former felons” means but I was shocked by what I learned in the article.
AP writes “McDonnell took office in 2010 and, with little fanfare, charged his administration with accelerating the process, vetting applicants through the secretary of the commonwealth, Janet Vestal Kelly, and his legal counsel, then providing applicants a response within 60 days.” It is almost unbelievable that convicted felons can get an answer from the Governor in 60 days. Law abiding citizens of the Commonwealth appear to have taken a back seat to McDonnell’s “Restore the Vote, No Felon Left Behind” program.
The Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has responsibility for creating and updating regulations governing the criminal justice system in Virginia. A system that includes at least 41,000 private security registrants, including security officers, K-9 handlers, private investigators, and locksmiths, who make their living protecting the private sector in Virginia. On December 22, 2010 DCJS submitted a “Comprehensive Revision - Regulations Relating to Private Security Services” to the Governor’s office for approval. The regulations have sat in the Governor’s office for 1 year 4 months and 16 days or 502 days total.
These regulations have a real impact of small business and the jobs of law abiding citizens. It is a shame McDonnell values the votes of convicted felons over the hard working people of Virginia.