Rand Paul Wants To Reinstate Voting Rights For Convicted Felons
Rand Paul, though???
Via Courier Journal:
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul told a largely black audience Monday in Louisville that he will push to restore the voting and gun-ownership rights of felons who have completed their sentences — and he will urge state Senate Republicans to follow his lead. Currently in Kentucky, felons must petition the governor to get their voting rights restored.
“I am in favor of letting people get their rights back, the right to vote … Second Amendment rights, all your rights to come back,” he said. “I know of one man who 30-some-odd years ago had pot plants in his closet in college, got a felony conviction in college, still can’t vote, and it’s plagued him his whole life trying to get work.” The Republican’s comments came at the Plymouth Community Renewal Center in western Louisville as he spoke with community leaders about issues that affect African Americans. Additionally, as he has done in the past, he called for doing away with mandatory minimum sentences in the federal criminal justice system, saying they are often too harsh.
Scott Cox, a Louisville criminal defense lawyer and a former federal prosecutor, said anyone convicted of a felony in either state or federal court can petition the governor to restore their rights to vote, run for office and serve on a jury.But gun rights can only be restored following a background check by the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, but those checks haven’t been funded for decades, he said in an interview.
Paul said during the meeting in western Louisville that he believes felons should have their rights restored automatically — either immediately after completing their sentences or at some specified point after the sentences are served.
He said he plans to talk to leaders in the Kentucky Senate about their opposition and would be willing to travel to Frankfort to testify in favor of legislation to restore voting rights. During an hourlong discussion Monday, Paul listened as black leaders talked about issues that hinder African Americans’ ability to get a leg up and fully participate in the community.
Much of their concern centered around helping black men who committed crimes but have turned their lives around. Don Smith, who runs an organization that tries to place felons in jobs, said he favored legislation that would allow felons who had completed their sentences and probations to say on job applications that they are not felons. He said acknowledging that you were convicted of a felony often prevents people from getting jobs.
He said those who have committed crimes also have trouble renting apartments and sometimes must live with family members in public housing, putting them at risk of being evicted for violating their leases. Felons aren’t allowed to live in public housing.
Paul also expressed support for state and federal tax breaks for businesses that bring jobs to disadvantaged communities.
Hmmmm…Rand just trying to get black people to vote for him in 2016. SMH.