The Sentencing Commission Wednesday voted to once again get behind any bill that would restore voting rights to parolees, who are still serving their sentences. The commission also backed the measure last year — but it never came up for a vote in either the House or Senate. Outgoing Department of Corrections Commissioner Scott Semple, who is also a Sentencing Commission member, said allowing parolees to vote is an “important step in their return to a normal and productive life.” The bill didn’t receive much attention last year in the midst of the budget crisis that dominated most of the session, but it was a priority for the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.
A deal was brokered to let them debate the bill for a limit period of time in the House last year, but it never got called for vote.
Currently, someone on probation can have their voting rights restored, but someone on parole cannot. The bill would have given the estimated 4,600 individuals on parole the right to vote.