NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new bill proposed by a Brooklyn lawmaker has sparked widespread outrage from fellow lawmakers throughout New York State.
State Sen. Kevin Parker of Brooklyn has introduced legislation that would give inmates still serving time inside the state’s prison system the right to vote in all elections.READ MORE: Paterson Mother Charged With Murder In 7-Year-Old's Death
Parker’s bill — listed as S6821 in the State Legislature — would allow voting by inmates in correctional facilities and also establish a program to help inmates register to vote.
The Brooklyn Democrat argues that the bill will “help fight felony disenfranchisement in New York state,” according to the bill’s memorandum.
Only two states, Maine and Vermont, allow prison inmates to vote. New York is one of over 20 states who restore a felon’s voting right only after they complete their prison sentence — Parker is now trying to change that.READ MORE: 3 Teens Charged In Manhattan Subway Attacks, Police Release Video Of New Suspect Believed To Be Group's Lookout
The move has enraged many New York lawmakers — many within the state’s Republican party — who see the move as pandering to criminals.
“This is a shameful display of governance that’s insulting not only to law-abiding citizens across New York, but members of law enforcement and the criminal justice system who worked diligently to get these dangerous predators off the street,” Assemblyman Steve Hawley of Batavia declared, via The Batavian.
“Once again, New York progressives are showing their true colors and prioritizing lawbreakers and criminals over our law-abiding citizens,” Assemblyman and former Niagara Falls city judge Angelo Morinello added, via the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal.
At least one state official is urging for calm, saying the controversial bill is a long way from becoming a law.MORE NEWS: Pro-Palestine Protesters Block Traffic On Gowanus Expressway
“Just because a bill is introduced doesn’t mean it will pass the Senate,” State Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy said, via the Timesunion.