BOSTON (WWLP) – Rights of incarcerated individuals was the topic of discussion at a hearing this week at the State House.

On Thursday, lawmakers heard a bill that would restore voting rights to those currently incarcerated on felony charges. Advocates before the Election Law Committee argued that restoring voting rights to those serving time for felony convictions would be an extension of criminal justice reform.

Senator Liz Miranda and Representative Erika Uyterhoeven are the lawmakers behind the bill. The constitutional amendment which took away voting rights to those serving time for felony convictions was added 23 years ago after a statewide ballot question was approved.

“One of the biggest things to me is that it’s a fundamental human right. It’s absolutely actually in our laws that the role of Department of Corrections, and the corrections commissioner is to ensure that people are rehabilitated and are able to participate in civil life in a meaningful way and I think there’s no better way to do that then restoring the right to vote,” said Rep. Uyterhoeven.

Paul Craney of the Massachusetts Fiscal alliance believes the will of the voters should be upheld. He shared in a statement that read in part, “Senator Liz Miranda and State Rep. Erica Uyterhoeven’s amendments to overturn 23 years of precedent and overturn the overwhelming will of the voters is incredibly harmful to our elections and the victims of crimes.”

Although the hearing was open to all comments, the Election Law Committee only heard from those in support of the measure. Massachusetts is not alone in this movement, California and New York both have similar bills before their legislature.