Voting Rights Advocates Get Vocal
Lawmakers entering the Senate State and Local Government committee passed by voting rights demonstrators on the way to their seats Wednesday. The decision not to vote on a measure restoring voting rights for most nonviolent felons led to vocal protests.
Lexingtonian Sarah Thomas was among the House Bill 70 backers who populated the room during the final regularly scheduled meeting of the Senate panel. She said not seeing the bill listed on the docket was disappointing.
"Every session we come to the last committee meeting for the Senate State and Local Government Committee with the hopes that maybe, even if it's not on the agenda, they will give us two minutes of their time and allow the bill to be heard," she says.
The committee chair, Sen. Joe Bowen, said were too many other bills to address – but that didn’t stop a small group of protesters from attempting to read a statement demanding a vote after the panel adjourned. Two demonstrators also laid on the ground before being removed by Kentucky State Police. Others broke into “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize,” a song often associated with the 60s Civil Rights Movement.
House Bill 70 has been introduced for seven years running but has been unable to pass both chambers.