New York’s governor plans to use pardon power to restore voting rights to felons on parole

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to bypass the state legislature and grant pardons to more than 35,000 felons on parole making them eligible to vote.

Cuomo announced his plan Wednesday, report the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Democrat & Chronicle, the Washington Post and the Times Union.

Cuomo will grant pardons to current felons on parole as well as new felons as they enter the system each month.

Iowa and Virginia already use executive orders to pardon parolees. They are among 18 states and Washington, D.C., that allow parolees to vote, according to the Times, which cites information from the governor’s office. Fourteen of the 18 states currently restore voting rights for felons automatically when they are paroled. Two others never remove the right to vote.

Current law in New York bars convicted felons from voting unless they are on probation or have completed parole. Cuomo said that he had asked lawmakers to change the law, but he did not get needed support in the Senate.

“I’m unwilling to take no for an answer,” Cuomo said. “I’m going to make it law by executive order.” BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS – Original Content – ABA Journal


Where is God?

On trust, expectations, dependence, peace, contentment and thankfulness…

A dragon fly hovered over my rosebush today, and a sliver of a cloud shaped like a wishbone, floated past my front porch, as I sat journaling. There was a time I couldn’t say that, a time when the pain of life distracted me from all that was good, from seeing the simple things, and the wonder of the moment. Don’t we all experience those times, when we My Soul Clings to You_dragonflywonder instead, where has God gone?

Right now I have a friend who is on the verge of losing his house to foreclosure, he’s also lost his job, and he’s asking me, where is God? What do I say to him in his time of pain? When he looks around and the one he trusted seems nowhere to be found, when he sees his expectations of a God, who has run to his rescue so many times before become nothing, a shadow of times past.

On trust…Through my journey as a single mom two times over, I’ve found that God can be trusted. Yes, sometimes He doesn’t jump to my allegiance, sometimes he lets me experience pain and loss, sometimes He doesn’t even save me from my circumstances, or give me what I want when I want it, but I’ve found that I can trust Him to make sure I’ve endured, I’ve gotten stronger, wiser, sharper, a better steward of His goodness, I’ve learned to love despite the unloving, and with a God-sized heart. I’ve learned He has my back, I’m still here, I’m still alive and I’m finding him in the strangest of places deep inside my soul, where my expectations are lining up with His.

On expectations…Yes, I’ve changed my expectations to realize that God is the God of the unexpected. I’ve found that letting go of my expectations has made me a better person deep inside, when I follow God’s heart and expect the unexpected. Sometimes he doesn’t march to my drummer, sometimes He allows me to go through those desert places, or empty times when I long for His touch or a cold drink of water, and then eventually find it in the most unexpected place. Such as the hope I feel that the stars still twinkle above, that the sun still paints colors in the sky when it rises and sets, and that the sparkle of the dew in the morning is pretty consistent, and even tasty. That I can depend on Him for many things…He says not to worry about the things I need, but to seek Him first!

On dependence….I find dependence and freedom at the same time as I seek Him first. I make a choice to be a Mary, languishing at His feet even though I feel time is ticking away….thus my devotion, my journaling, my rest…be still oh my soul. When I find the world is totally bent on independence, and passing me by with demands such as: achieve first place, rise to the top, the early bird gets the worm, the highest bid wins..…well the beat goes on and leaves me behind. Here languishing at His feet even if it’s just for moments of time, I find dependence on One that can be depended on to hold all things together, while I breathe in a few moments of peace. While I refresh my soul with words of hope, and renew my mind with thoughts that are from Him, and therefore know without a doubt, what is His good and acceptable and perfect will, there’s my rest. It’s at those times when I write in my journal and I find the answers to some of life’s toughest questions, and I am ready to answer a friend when they ask me, where is God?

On Peace….There is a peace in knowing God is where He’s always been, He’s never left, He may back off a bit allowing my trust to grow, my expectations to change, my heart to strengthen, my soul to bloom, and for me to find peace and contentment even in a fast paced world. In this place of peace I find my purpose, and a joy that is lasting. It’s then I know I’m here to impart to others a hope and encouragement that never leaves.

On contentment….In my circumstances no matter what they may be, up or down, want or lack, good times and bad, there’s a time that comes to you, despite the struggles, when you are content. It’s a stillness that takes hold of you, and while the world is on its rush walk; you realize you’re glad you’ve stepped off the road. The direction you have taken isn’t always understood, but its void of stress, and that’s a good thing, for my health, my psyche, my family.  I find on this journey that I can thank Him even when things are tough, things are not quite looking up, and the sun is still hidden behind the cloud. Why… because I know that the last promise He gave me will see me through until I see the light as a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel.

On thankfulness….Oh I’m thankful for the dragon fly that hovered over my rosebush today, the sliver of a cloud that passed by my way, the wish that came to my heart to say, help my friend to find his way….back to You, to find the love that will always stay, and then the song that whispers inside and has its way, it sings….it is well, it is well with my soul!

Yours from the front porch, hay field to the right, Hackberries creek-side, and God ever before me…

Mommy Justice