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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

With Eyes on Governor, Kentuckians with Felonies Rally for Right to Vote

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019   

FRANKFORT, Ky. – People with felonies in their past are rallying in Frankfort today, calling on Gov. Matt Bevin to return voting rights to people who have been convicted of felonies.

More than 300,000 Kentuckians can't vote because of a felony conviction, according to the latest report from the League of Women Voters of Kentucky.

In November 2015, outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order to allow for restoration of voting rights through an administrative process – but his successor reversed that order shortly after taking office.

At 68, Debra Graner of Frankfort said she got involved in voting rights activism after realizing the impact not being able to vote has had on her.

"You made a mistake somewhere in your life, you've turned your life around, you've paid your dues," Graner said. "And the one big thing that you have, the one big opportunity you have to interact and do something for your community – and the Commonwealth, and the nation – is to vote. Here in Kentucky, it's taken away forever."

Kentucky and Iowa are the only states that institute a lifetime voting ban for people with felony convictions. In Kentucky, they can only have their voting rights restored through an executive pardon from the governor.

James Sweasy, a 42-year-old entrepreneur and speaker, has one felony marijuana possession charge from his early 20s. He described himself as a taxpaying citizen whose felony has followed him his entire life and taken a psychological toll.

"The main thing, at such a young age, it puts you, at least in your own mind – and also in the mind of others – in a different class," Sweasy explained. "You are now a different class of person. And it will follow you everywhere."

Since 2007, there have been several failed legislative attempts to change the Kentucky Constitution to allow for the automatic restoration of voting rights for people with felonies who have completed their sentences.



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