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UPDATE: Voting Rights Restoration Bill Clears House Floor: 82-1215 Jan

Rep. Crenshaw presents HB 70. Rep. Hoover is in lower right frame.

Rep. Crenshaw presents HB 70. Rep. Hoover is in lower right frame.

Jan. 16 – House Bill 70 cleared the House floor with an 82 – 12 vote this afternoon. Rep. Jesse Crenshaw presented the bill followed by comments by Representatives David Floyd, John Tilley, Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, and Rep. Brad Montell, who voted “yes” on this legislation for the first time.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. It has failed to receive a hearing there in the past, but there seems to be some changes there. Two Senate leaders, Senator Brandon Smith and Senator Dan Seum, have expressed support. Also U. S. Senator Rand Paul has supported voter rights restoration and several news media outlets have indicated he has an interest in testifying in support of HB 70.

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Rep. Crenshaw

Rev. Patrick Delahanty testified in support of House Bill 70 before a House committee on Tuesday, January 14. Rep. Jesse Crenshaw of Fayette County has championed this legislation for many years.

This bill seeks to make automatic the restoration of voting rights to ex-offenders who have fully completed the sentences imposed on them by the court. Those who committed crimes of intentional murder, rape, sodomy or sexual intercourse with a minor are NOT included in this automatic restoration of voting rights. All those convicted of other felonies are included.

The Conference has supported this legislation since it was first introduced 8 years ago because our faith (#2240, Catholic Catechism) teaches that citizens have a moral obligation to vote. This is an act so central to carrying out our duty as citizens that it seems unjust to us to deny persons who are returning to society to build new lives this right to participate in their government. Furthermore, studies have found that when the right to vote is restored, former criminals are less likely to commit additional crimes.

Rep. Hoover

During the hearing, Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover also testified in support of the legislation and you can view that by clicking here.

After the meeting, a spokesperson for U. S. Senator Rand Paul said he plans to speak to Senate Republican leaders and urge that they move this bill. Several news outlets are reporting he has indicated that he wishes to testify in the Senate committee when HB 70 is heard.

One source mentioned the possibility of amending the bill to include voter ID requirements.

If HB 70 is adopted by both chambers it will be placed on the ballot in November 2013 elections and Kentucky voters will decided if the amendment to the Kentucky Constitution should be adopted.

For news reports on this House Committee meeting click on the name of the news outlet: The Courier-Journal; the Lexington Herald-Leader; the State Journal; and WPFL-FM 89.3.

Photos: courtesy Kentucky Legislative Research Commission

 

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