Some felons sentenced to life in jail would be eligible for parole hearings under a bill approved Wednesday by the Louisiana Senate.

The vote was 29-5.

Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Metairie, sponsor of the legislation, said his proposal would offer relief to inmates who were convicted when tougher laws, since changed, were on the books.

Martiny said that, during the 1990s, the state enacted a law known as “three strikes and you’re out.”

That statute required life sentences, with no chance for parole, for those convicted of three felonies regardless of type.

Martiny said the law has since been changed to apply to three felonies involving crimes of violence.

“But there is a group of inmates that were caught in the interim that, if they had been convicted at an earlier date, before three strikes and you are out, or after we fixed it, they would not be subject to life imprisonment without parole,” he told the Senate.

Martiny said a bill similar to his plan was passed a few years ago but vetoed by then-Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The legislation would apply to life sentences without a chance of parole for offenses committed between June 29, 1995, and June 15, 2001.

The inmate also would have to have served 15 years in custody.

The bill would exclude those convicted of three felonies when the two previous ones involved violence, some sexual offenses and certain drug crimes.

The proposal, Senate Bill 24, next faces action in the state House.

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