Virginia Senate Panel Backs Felons' Rights Bill - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Virginia Senate Panel Backs Felons' Rights Bill

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Legislation backed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to automatically restore nonviolent felons' voting rights has been endorsed by a Senate committee.

The Privileges and Elections Committee voted 10-5 Tuesday to send the measure to the Senate floor. The resolution calls for a constitutional amendment that would give the General Assembly authority to determine which nonviolent felony offenses would be eligible for automatic restoration of rights. Currently, only the governor can restore felons' rights after they've served their sentences.

Democrats have championed automatic restoration for years. They got an unexpected boost when the Republican governor backed the idea in his State of the Commonwealth speech. Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli also advocates approval of measure.

If it clears the Senate, the measure likely faces more resistance in the House of Delegates.

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