NASHVILLE, TN – On Wednesday, February 13th, at 2:45 pm, lawmakers, Matthew Charles, advocates and re-entry experts will gather at the Tennessee State Capitol complex in Nashville to discuss new bills (SB 589 / HB 547) that will streamline the voting rights restoration process to Tennesseans with felony convictions who have completed their sentences.
The roundtable will feature the bill sponsors, State Senator Steven Dickerson and State Representative Michael Curcio, alongside Matthew Charles, a formerly-incarcerated activist who was recently released under the First Step Act, as well as prominent advocates and prisoner re-entry experts from The Equity Alliance, the ACLU of Tennessee, and Project Return. Over the course of the roundtable, participants will discuss the substance of the legislation, its potential to limit bureaucratic interference in the rights restoration process, and its impact on formerly incarcerated people living in Tennessee.
Currently, 320,000 Tennesseans with felony convictions, more than 8 percent of the state’s total voting age population, are disenfranchised by the onerous restoration process despite having already served their time and successfully completed their parole and/or probation.
The roundtable will be moderated by Colin Weaver, Director of State Affairs for Secure Democracy. Roundtable participants include:
- Tennessee State Senator Steve Dickerson
- Tennessee State Representative Michael Curcio (opening remarks)
- Matthew Charles, formerly-incarcerated activist released from prison under the First Step Act
- Tori Venable, State Director at Americans for Prosperity Tennessee
- Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of ACLU of Tennessee
- Tequila Johnson, Co-Founder and Vice President of The Equity Alliance (opening remarks)
- Bettie Kirkland, Executive Director of Project Return
The roundtable will be open to the press and the public.
WHAT: Roundtable on Restoring Voting Rights to Tennesseans With Felony Convictions
WHERE: Cordell Hull Building, 425 5th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37243
Room information: Conference Room 5C, 5th Floor
WHEN: 2:45 – 3:30 pm, February 13, 2019