Proposal to allow felons to vote faces tough battle

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Some lawmakers are pushing for a change in the state constitution that would return voting rights to convicted felons when their sentences are served. But the legislation isn't given much of a chance in the session that begins next month.

A Senate bill to restore voting rights for felons died without a vote last year, and the hottest topic of the upcoming session is expected to be another proposed amendment, one to allow casino gambling.

Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Stengel, who favors the measure, said it faces opposition from legislators who want to appear tough on crime.

Democratic Representative Darryl Owens of Louisville heads the House committee that will take up the measure and is sponsoring it along with Democratic Representative Jesse Crenshaw of Lexington. Owens says he believes it can be passed, and notes that the rules allow for two constitutional amendments to begin in the House.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)