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Senate OKs bill to restore voting rights for some felons

Dozens To Gather At Capitol For Felon Voting Rights Rally
Posted at 5:19 AM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 05:23:31-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Senate on Thursday approved a proposed constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for some felons who have completed their sentences.

The measure passed on a 29-7 vote and now heads to the House, the Courier Journal reported. If approved there, it would be placed on the statewide November ballot for voters to decide.

It would amend Kentucky's Constitution to allow felons to have their voting rights restored after serving their full sentence, as long as they were not convicted of treason, sex crimes, violent crimes or crimes against children.

The version clearing the Senate would leave it up to the legislature to determine how voting rights would be restored and if it would include a waiting period.

Democratic Sen. Reginald Thomas voted against the bill, saying it did not go far enough and should have enshrined an automatic restoration of voting rights after a felony sentence has been completed.

Soon after he took office in December, Gov. Andy Beshear restored the voting rights of about 140,000 nonviolent felons through an executive order, fulfilling a campaign pledge.

However, voting rights advocates want this to extend automatically to former felons going forward, and not rely on the whims of individual governors.

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The legislation is Senate Bill 62.