Crime victims' bill passes in Kentucky House

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) -- For the last two years, advocates and legislators have been hard at work introducing a bill that would amend Kentucky's constitution. Marsy's Law would ensure constitutional rights for crime victims in the state.

Passing in the Senate several weeks ago, the bill was up for a vote in the House today.

Kentucky is one of 14 states that doesn't provide constitutional level rights to victims.

"This is not for politics, this is not for praise, but it's because it's simply the right thing to do, Mr. Speaker," said Representative John Blanton, (R) District 92.

Legislators and advocates of Marsy's Law gathered this afternoon at the Capitol.

"It would finally guarantee crime victims the common sense, constitutional rights that they deserve," said Representative Blanton.

The bill is supported by dozens of organizations and agencies across the state.

"Nearly 40,000 Kentuckians who signed a petition asking us to pass Marsy's Law, so that it could be placed on the ballot in November," said Representative Blanton​.

On Wednesday, members of the House casted their votes.

"87 members voting I, three members voting no. Senate bill 3 is passed."

The outcome ensued a standing ovation, and smiles of relief all around.

"There was no debate in either chamber, no questions, no oppositions to it, and a whole lot of folks stand with it," said Senator Whitney Westerfield, (R) - District 3.

"I want to say thank you to both of our bill sponsors. Senator Westerfield, who has put in countless hours of work on this bill," said Ashlea Christiansen, State Director for Marsy's Law.

The victims present in Frankfort were especially grateful.

"On behalf of my brother who was murdered, my family and myself, and crime victims everywhere- this is big, this is important to us. And I am so so very thankful," said Melissa Buchanan, family member of murder victim.

Now it's up to the voters in November who will see Marsy's Law on their ballots.

"It's time for Kentucky to show the rest of the country that Kentuckians support constitutional rights for crime victims. Now it's our chance," said Christansen.

Senate Bill 3 was the first out of the senate this year, and also the first to make its way all the way out of the process.

Senator Westerfield said this fact speaks to the significance of it and the bipartisan voice it has.



 
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