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Nevada lawmakers clash over restoring rights to some felons

File photo: SBG

Several bills in the state Legislature are sparking debate over when someone's debt to society comes to an end.

The most contentious might be Senate Bill 125, which would restore several civil rights, including the right to vote and serve on a jury, for people convicted of certain felonies after one year of probation or parole.

The bill contains some exceptions, and it would not apply to those convicted of Category A felonies or violent crimes.

Currently, offenders don't regain their right to vote until their full probation or parole has ended, or they are released from prison.

"Inmates and people who have done time in jail are people too, and they're our residents and citizens of this community," said Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno.

The bill has been sponsored by Democratic leaders in both chambers and passed the Senate on a party-line vote. It will head to the Assembly, and if passed there it heads to Gov. Brian Sandoval's desk.

Republican Assemblyman Ira Hansen voted against the bill in committee on Tuesday, saying provisions in Nevada law already allow for the right to vote to be restored.

"I think it's a safe prediction, I think [Sandoval] will veto it in a heartbeat," Hansen said.

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