A House committee tried a last ditch effort to restore voting rights for former felons by attaching a version of House Bill 70 to a Senate bill that was dying in the House. Senate Bill 58 proposes a constitutional amendment that would give most felons who have completed their sentences their voting rights back immediately when their sentences are finished and they are no longer on probation or parole. It would, however, allow the legislature to enact through statute a waiting period of up to three years. The bill passed the House by an 85-13 vote and now goes to the Senate. “This is a ‘Hail Mary’ pass,” said state Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, who favors the bill.
The House wants to get the bill passed this year as a going away gift to state Rep. Jesse Crenshaw, D-Lexington, the lon-time champion of the legislation who is retiring at the end of the year. The original bill, House Bill 70, has stalled in the Senate after the two bodies passed the measure but in different forms.
The House rejected the Senate bill because it would have placed in the constitution a five-year waiting period and would have disqualified a former felon if he got so much as a misdemeanor.
But instead of taking up the measure again and throwing the bill into a conference committee where the two sides could work out their differences, the Senate claimed the House wouldn’t budge from its position and refused to deal with it at all.
Full Article: House tries ‘Hail Mary pass’ to save felon voting bill.