Bill to expunge records of non-violent felons fails to receive enough votes in committee

02/04/2015 04:58 PM

Legislation which would would expunge the record of Class D felons five years after they have completed serving their sentences failed to make it out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday because it did not have enough votes to pass due to missing committee members.

House Bill 40, sponsored by Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, could be heard again by the committee as early as next week.

Owens told committee members that the bill gives non-violent ex-felons, who have proven that they are reformed, a chance to be a productive citizen.

“I would call it the redemption bill because the individuals that we are talking about have committed only one offense, Class D felony, the lowest level that you can commit, are being damaged for life because of their inability to get licenses, to get a job and move to certain places,” Owens said.

Louisville attorney, Benham Sims, has spent the past four years in Jefferson County trying to secure expungements for convicted felons.

“It is an incredibly difficult task that those who have a record face in trying to secure employment,” Sims said. “Twenty five percent of our population has something on their criminal record. They find it difficult not to just secure employment, but even to grant interviews.”

Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, cast the lone no vote and is concerned about some of the unintended consequences of such legislation.

“The ballpark where I coach little league, we have an insurance policy that doesn’t allow us to hire felons,” Benvenuti said. “So we could be in a situation which we allow somebody to have contact with these young men and girls that play baseball and then, later, have something go wrong.”


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