Voting Rights News | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Voting Rights News

A day in the life of a first-time citizen lobbyist

January 21, 2014 at 11:05am

Last week, I began my internship with the Madison County chapter of KFTC. I am currently a student at Eastern Kentucky University, where I will complete my B.A. in their Criminal Justice next semester. As I am one of a seemingly small minority in that program that does not intend to seek employment in a law enforcement career, but would rather find a more social justice focused vocation, I find that KFTC and I share a great many ideas and opinions on our current criminal justice system.

In this blog entry I hope to show exactly what the average lobbyist experiences, and what anyone can help to accomplish by joining an organization like KFTC.

Voting Rights – grassroots persistence leads many to believe this is the year!

January 16, 2014 at 11:07am

Optimism was high as people from all over Kentucky participated in a Voting Rights Lobby Day and Rally at the capitol on Wednesday.

“We met with a couple of senators and representatives. The attitude was totally different today than it was last year,” said Rev. Alonzo Malone of Louisville. “The whole theme today was hope. I was really encouraged. The whole day symbolized hope.”

Malone was one of dozens of people who met with nearly 50 legislators during morning lobbying. They reminded House members of an upcoming floor vote on House Bill 70 (as early as today), which passed out of committee on Tuesday. They pushed senators to see that the bill gets a hearing and vote in the Senate this year.

Voting Rights amendment passes unanimously out of house committee

January 14, 2014 at 12:58pm

lobby8

HB 70, a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to most former felons, just passed unanimously through the Kentucky House Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments. It has passed the House chamber seven times before with wide bi-partisan support, but has stalled in the Senate. Momentum is building for this to be the year. Thanks to bill sponsor Rep. Jesse Crenshaw and committee chair Rep. Darryl Owens for their leadership in advancing this important measure. As minority floor leader Rep. Jeff Hoover said today, the bill is "a matter of fairness." We look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow in Frankfort for a lobby day and rally in support of voting rights in Kentucky.

Ex-felons join Frankfort rally seeking to restore their voting rights

January 13, 2014
Lexington Herald-Leader

Teddi Robillard-Smith and hundreds of people will show legislators how important it is to pass House Bill 70, which has been sponsored by Rep. Jesse Crenshaw for many years, and Senate Bill 15, both of which would allow former felons convicted of non-violent crimes to automatically regain their right to vote.

Jefferson County co-hosts Citizen Lobbying 101

December 17, 2013 at 03:18pm

How does a bill become a law in Kentucky? What’s the best way for people to arrange a meeting with their legislators? How can ordinary citizens hold lawmakers accountable?

These questions, and more, were brought to the forefront during Jefferson County's citizen lobbying training on Wednesday, December 11, which took place at the First Unitarian Church in Louisville.

Images that are often associated with the word “lobbyist” are those of corporate lackeys treating policymakers to expensive drinks over a round of golf. It’s a misconception that was quickly broken as community organizers from throughout the state shared their lobbying experiences on both local and state levels.

Singing for Democracy from Lexington to Lynch

November 15, 2013 at 05:53pm

CKY Singing for Democracy We didn’t go to the polls this year, but KFTC members are building a better Democracy and New Power everyday. To keep Democracy alive in November, hundreds of KFTC members gathered in kitchens, living rooms, churches, and community centers to celebrate, vision, and build toward the Kentucky we all deserve. Among the nearly 50 events that occurred on Tuesday November 5th, were at least a couple that really made some noise in celebration and song.

‘Singing for Democracy’ events have become a tradition of the campaign to restore voting rights to former felons in our Commonwealth. So on (no) election day, communities in Lexington and Lynch gathered to sing out in praise and celebration for Voting Rights and Democracy! 

Presentation of Appreciation to City CouncilsIn the coal camp town of Lynch in Harlan County, over 30 people gathered in the Eastern Kentucky Social Club for food, fellowship, and three musical performances by their neighbors and friends. Between music, KFTC members shared stories of local work to build up their home communities through energy efficiency and generation, as well as plans for the road ahead to restore voting rights to nearly 250,000 former felons in 2014. City Council members, mayors, clerks and neighbors spent the evening together, celebrating and building toward a healthier Democracy at home and across Kentucky. The evening’s performers included Stanley Sturgill, Erica Eldridge, and the Mt. Sinai Spirituals, all of Lynch. Rutland Melton, of Lynch, presented Benham and Lynch City Councils with certificates of appreciation for their work with the Harlan Co. chapter to get energy upgrades on homes and city buildings in both towns. 

Senator Carpenter visits Madison County chapter

November 3, 2013 at 10:47am

Last Monday, October 28, the Madison County chapter invited state senator Jared Carpenter to Berea for a lobby meeting, where the senator and KFTC members discussed the upcoming legislative session, including the possibility of Carpenter’s support for KFTC legislative priorities. The meeting began with a brief talk by Carpenter about his own legislative priorities, which included encouraging the growth of industry and infrastructure in Madison County and stopping the heroin trade in Kentucky, which he believed could be done with “tougher punishments for the folks producing and selling heroin.”

Task force hears testimony on voting rights bills

October 22, 2013 at 03:13pm

For the first time, some members of the Kentucky Senate got to hear testimony on the issue of restoring voting rights to former felons.

Myrna Perez

The Interim Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs, with members from both the House and Senate, heard testimony on bills that would allow Kentucky voters to amend the state constitution to automatically restore voting rights to former felons once they’ve served their debt to society.

Southern Kentucky Update

October 1, 2013 at 08:00pm
Southern Kentucky

On September 24, Southern Kentucky KFTC members came together for their regular monthly chapter meeting with many big updates and even bigger plans for the next few months.

Steering Committee representatives updated members on the recent steering committee retreat held in Whitesburg, which provided both an orientation to newly elected representatives and an exciting start to our Fall Fundraising campaign. Several local members have agreed to participate in our Power Builders program, joining members all across Kentucky to celebrate KFTC’s focus on growing a healthy democracy as we raise funds, awareness, and members. To see how to join in this HUGE event, visit our KFTC POWER BUILDER page.

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