voting rights

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A key state legislator on the ex-felon voting rights issue says Gov. Matt Bevin contradicted his own logic on two high-profile issues addressed through executive orders.

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A bill seeking to amend Kentucky's Constitution to restore voting rights for non-violent felons sailed through the state House Thursday.

Unlike past years, the proposed ballot issue may have a chance in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer says it may be an issue "whose time has come," with some changes.

Felon Voting Rights Bill Passes Ky. House Committee

Jan 14, 2014
lrc.ky.gov

A bill that would restore voting rights for non-violent felons has passed a Kentucky House committee.

The measure is Rep. Jesse Crenshaw's latest attempt to put approximately 130,000 felons back on the voting rolls. Similar efforts have repeatedly stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. But Crenshaw says he hopes that his bill will fare better this year due to support from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

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Advocates who have pushed unsuccessfully for years to restore voting rights to convicted felons after they've completed their sentences are hopeful that support from Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will provide a needed boost.

Lexington resident Tayna Fogle had her voting rights restored by former Govs. Paul Patton and Ernie Fletcher. Fogle said the initiative seems to be energized heading into January’s legislative session.

Saying Kentucky state senators have been the historical roadblock, Democrat Gerald Neal of Louisville has pre-filed a bill to restore voting rights to certain former felons.

Movement on the proposal comes weeks after U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., spoke out in favor of restoring felons' voting rights at the state and federal levels, which many observers argue is an indication the GOP may be changing its view on the issue.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul found a receptive audience in a mostly African-American Louisville neighborhood as the tea party favorite spoke in favor of giving judges more sentencing flexibility and restoring voting rights for felons.