Rand Paul to testify before state Senate panel in February on restoring felon voting rights

01/23/2014 01:37 PM

Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will testify before a state Senate committee next month in favor of a House bill that would allow automatic restoration of votes to non-violent ex-felons once they’ve served their time.

Paul told Pure Politics on Thursday his staff is still trying to nail down a date in February for him to appear in Frankfort. Paul testified last year in favor of a bill to lay the groundwork for regulation of hemp growing in Kentucky.

But Paul said he wasn’t sure whether his support for restoration of felon voting rights can sway enough Republican votes for the measure to pass. Similar proposals have passed the House before but always stalled in the Senate. House Bill 70 that would change the constitution to allow the automatic restoration of voting rights to non-violent ex-felons passed the House last week 75-25.

Under current law, former felons must file a petition with the governor to ask for their rights to vote back after serving their sentences.

Democratic Rep. Jesse Crenshaw is carrying the bill in his final session before he retires. He said he did not know how much Paul’s support would help in getting the constitutional amendment through the Senate. It would require 23 of the 38 votes in the Senate to pass.

(For more on what Paul said during and after a town-hall-style meeting in Lawrenceburg on Thursday, tune in to Pure Politics on Time Warner Cable’s cn|2 network at 7 p.m./6 Central).

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