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Rand Paul wins praise from a top Democrat for his newest Senate bill

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., talks with delegates during the Iowa State Republican Convention, Saturday, June 14, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) won praise Tuesday for his latest legislative proposal from a surprise Senate colleague — Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

"I want to congratulate Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky," Reid said on the Senate floor.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was praised Tuesday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for his idea of letting non-violent felons vote. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Reid explained that 15 years ago, he had a similar proposal to let people convicted of non-violent crimes vote again after they serve out their sentence.

"And that's what Rand Paul said," Reid said. "He's offering legislation saying if it's a non-violent crime, they should be able to vote when they've completed their time.

"I went a little further than that with mine, but I so appreciate his suggestion."

Paul is expected to release his legislative proposal this week. On Sunday, he said on "Meet the Press" that his bill deals with "the biggest voting rights issue of our day," and said there could be a million people blocked from voting because of prior felony charges.

"[I]f we're the party of family values and keeping families together, and the party that believes in redemption and second chances, we should be for letting people have the right to vote back, and I think the face of the Republican party needs to be not about suppressing the vote, but about enhancing the vote," he said.

Paul's bill would likely have strong Democratic support, something Reid noted indirectly in his floor comments.

"I hope I don't get him in trouble with his Republican caucus for congratulating him on that," he said. "This is something that is long overdue."

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