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First Coast Connect

9/26/19: Fees, Fines For Ex-Felons; Moving Abroad; TEDXJacksonville; 1 True Match

Bill Bortzfield/WJCT News
A sign directing people to a Jacksonville voting precinct is pictured.

Florida voters passed Amendment 4 last year to restore voting rights for 1.4 million people in the state who had a felony conviction but had served their prison sentences. 

In enacting that amendment, the state Legislature and the governor required those people to first pay any fines and fees they owed the courts before they could cast a ballot.

Freelance journalist Claire Goforth investigated the issue in “In Florida, Fees, Fines From Felonies Means Disenfranchised,” a piece she wrote for the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, and found the costs are sometimes so exorbitant that voting is still out of reach for many.


The number of American citizens thinking about leaving the U.S. to live overseas has recently spiked. A Gallup poll says 16% of Americans are now thinking about becoming expatriates, a record high. The reasons they give range from high medical costs to gun violence and an extremely partisan political climate.

Thinking about it is one thing, but one local couple took the plunge. Former Florida Times-Union columnist Philip Milano and his wife, Robin, a teacher, did some research, filled out a lot of paperwork and emigrated to a coastal town on the Mediterranean in Spain a few weeks ago. Before he departed, Milano joined us to discuss his decision.

Credit Tiffany Manning/TEDx Jacksonville
TEDx Jacksonville 2016


TEDxJacksonville is returning, and this year’s theme is POP. Rawan Al-Kharboosh of the Mayo Clinic, a 2019 TEDxJacksonville speaker; and Sabeen Perwaiz, executive producer and co-organizer of TEDxJacksonville, joined us with a preview.

1 True Match

“Cuffing season,” that time of year when singles look to cuddle up with a new romantic interest, is almost upon us. So, we asked Jacksonville matchmaker Renee Richel Steilberg to join us with some advice for singles hoping to find their “1 True Match., 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @heatherschatz.

First Coast Connect first coast connect
Heather is the senior producer of WJCT 89.9 FM talk shows including First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, the Florida Roundup and What's Health Got to Do with It?