Voting rights bill for Louisiana ex-felons wins passage - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Voting rights bill for Louisiana ex-felons wins passage

By MELINDA DESLATTE
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Convicted felons in Louisiana still serving probation and parole, but out of prison for five years, will be able to get their voting rights restored, after years of fighting for the change.

A 54-42 House vote gave final passage Thursday to the bill by Rep. Patricia Smith, a Baton Rouge Democrat who faced repeated defeat for the proposal until now.

It took three votes this session before Smith could even get the measure out of the House. But ex-felons seeking passage of the legislation spent hours talking to lawmakers and walking the halls of the Louisiana Capitol, building support.

Current law required completion of probation or parole, leaving some unable to ever get voting rights restored.

Gov. John Bel Edwards intends to sign the bill.

House Bill 265: www.legis.la.gov

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