Voting Rights passes House, 75 -25. On to the Senate!
House Bill 70, our bill to restore voting rights to former felons who have served their debt to society, has just passed a vote on the House floor 75 to 25.
Please thank your representative if they voted yes (see how they voted).
That's an overwhelming majority, but some of the new legislators just elected last year tended to vote no, perhaps proving that this is an educational issue and it takes a while to get through to people about it.
Representative David Floyd (R) spoke on the House floor in favor of voting rights, asking "Are felons forever comdemned or can they be restored? ... I think if you've served your debt to society, you've served your debt to society. I want the people of Kentucky to vote on this and that's what HB 70 does."
Leading up to the vote, we had a few citizen lobby teams in Frankfort today including several former felons who connected with legislators and told their stories. Jason Smith and Sean O'Donley, former felons from Elizabethtown, got to talk to many legislators.
This was O'Donley's first day as a citizen lobbyist in Frankfort. He doesn't have the right to vote, but has been fighting to get it back for the past 6 months. He was all smiles for much of the day, excited about citizen lobbying and how relatively easy it is to get through to legislators and be heard.
"I had no idea it was like this or that people could just flag down their representative and have a conversation with them. It's kind of exciting."
"He's a Republican and I'm more of a Democrat." said Smith, gesturing to O'Donley. "But I don't care who people vote for nearly as much as I care about whether they're allowed to vote. And we should all be allowed to vote."
Please take two minutes and call the legislative message line, 1-800-372-7181, leaving a message for your own senator plus "Senate Leadership" and the "Senate State and Local Government Committee members." A good, simple message is "Please support HB 70."