Voting Rights of Felons Changed
The state legislature passed a bill changing the voting rights of felons.
Under current law felons who don't serve prison time but only receive probation still maintain the right to vote. But those who spend time in prison are stripped of their right to vote until after they have finished their sentence and any parole.
Republican State Senator Larry Rohden says House Bill 1247 changes the law so that anyone convicted of a felony looses the right to vote until their debt to society is paid.
"Weather you're on parole, suspended sentence or you have a debt to society part of that debt is loosing that right to vote weather you're in prison or not," says Rohden.
Opponents argue that a large percentage of the 37-hundred people currently on probation in South Dakota are Native American and that this bill disenfranchises an important voting block.
Those against the bill also argue that it's better to increase the number of those who can vote rather than decrease them.
Proponents argue that the bill is not retroactive so it won't take away the right to vote from anyone who now has it.
The bill passed the senate and is now headed for the Governor's desk.