BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana voters are a step closer to deciding whether convicted felons will have to wait 15 years after serving a criminal sentence before running for elected office.You might remember that the previous law was voided thanks to a successful challenge by convicted felon and once and aspiring state legislator Derrick Shepherd on very very technical grounds early this year. The new amendment will supposedly patch the constitutional flaw Shepherd found in the original.
The House passed a proposed state constitutional amendment Tuesday that would require the 15-year buffer. The amendment gained the two-thirds it needed to move to the Senate for consideration with a 79-19 House vote.
Voters passed a similar amendment, which was adopted in 1998, but the Louisiana Supreme Court voided it recently. The high court said voters approved an amendment that differed from the one passed by state lawmakers.
We have to ask, again, though. What would be the point? If people want to vote for or against an ex-offender, it seems to us that ought to be their right.