Paul pushes to restore state felon voting rights as part of push to reform sentencing

09/16/2013 06:50 PM

Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul told community leaders in West Louisville on Monday that he will be stepping his call for federal reforms to criminal sentencing and pledging to support a state effort to restore felon voting rights.

Paul has been talking about the concept of reforms to mandatory minimums for several months, saying someone should not have to lose their rights for life for a youthful mistake.

But while appearing at a town-hall-like event at the Plymouth Community Renewal Center in West Louisville, Paul added a new layer to his argument saying that felon voting rights should be restored.

“As part of that, I’m also going to be introducing something to restore voting rights for people who were convicted of felonies but have not been convicted again for 5 years,” Paul said.

However, Kentucky would need to have it’s own voting restoration legislation, something that some lawmakers, led by Louisville and Lexington House and Senate Democrats, have tried unsuccessfully to pass in previous sessions

Paul said he’s going to do what it takes to speak to state Senate Republican leaders.

Paul also talked with west Louisville residents about tax problems including tax liens and economic freedom zones in which taxes would be lowered to try to encourage business in the area.

(With video by Nick Storm)

Jacqueline Pitts

Jacqueline Pitts joined the cn|2 political team in June 2012. A graduate of WKU, Jacqueline grew up in Nashville, TN and is looking forward to having a front row seat to Kentucky politics. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqueline_cn2. She can be reached at 502-792-1114 or


  • Bruce Layne wrote on September 17, 2013 01:39 PM :

    The Kentucky General Assembly has increasingly made misdemeanors into felonies. In addition to reclassifying existing crimes, many new crimes have been created by new legislation, and infractions that would have been misdemeanors in previous years are now felonies. There has even been a bill introduced to expand Kentucky’s three classes of felonies by adding two new additional classes of felonies. The new felonies would be used to reclassify even more misdemeanors.

    It seems that there is a strong push to make more felons. Why? Probably several reasons. The Prison Industrial Complex is a powerful lobbying group, and more felonies results in more jail time. They’re in the incarceration business and business is good!

    Felons lose many rights in our society. There are powerful factions (who never need to worry about a felony conviction other than the rarely prosecuted white collar crime) who would like to see fewer people voting and fewer people exercising their right to keep and bear arms.

    After you pay your debt to society, your rights should be restored.

    When a 20 year old does something stupid such as a nonviolent marijuana charge and gets a felony conviction, they are ejected from society. In addition to not voting or having the right to self defense, it becomes very difficult to find a decent job or rent a house or apartment. Often, their only viable option is to fulfill society’s expectation of them, and earn their felony status.

    The current treatment of felons doesn’t help them recover from mistakes they made. It forces them to make more bad mistakes. That’s bad for them and their families, but it’s also bad for all of society.

  • Cumberland Gap wrote on September 17, 2013 04:42 PM :

    Rand Paul was also quoted by the newspaper present in the West End covering him as saying “I really don’t care if anybody pays taxes.” He also wants to restore the gun rights of felons released from prison. I know he is an anti-tax crusader in order to gain quick popularity but if we don’t pay taxes how do we get those aircraft carriers to move? Or get those cops to the scene of the crime?

    Bruce, the reason why more felonies were made statutory is because the conservatives were pushing for a more law and order approach, get tough on crime.

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