By LRC Public Information
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 16, 2014) — A bipartisan bill that would allow Kentucky voters to restore voting rights to more than 180,000 nonviolent felons has passed its first hurdle this legislative session.
House Bill 70, sponsored by Rep. Jesse Crenshaw, D-Lexington, and House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, cleared the Kentucky House Thursday by a vote of 82-12. Should it become law, voters will be able to decide by statewide ballot in the next general election (scheduled for Nov. 4) whether or not to approve a state constitutional amendment that would automatically restore the right to vote for Kentucky’s nonviolent felons.
The amendment would apply only to nonviolent felons who have served their sentences or completed the requirements of probation or parole. It would exclude felons convicted of rape, sodomy, intentional murder, or sexual contact with a minor.
Crenshaw said it’s a matter of fairness that those who have paid their debt “be able to take part in their own governance. And, ladies and gentlemen, that is what House Bill 70 does.”
HB 70 received vocal support from Rep. David Floyd, R-Bardstown, who has supported similar legislation filed by Crenshaw in past sessions. Floyd told the House that there “is no political consideration that can push aside my sense that a debt paid is a debt satisfied.”
HB 70 now goes to the Senate for consideration.