Lawmaker: Ky. should give non-violent felons a second chance and Louisville needs work on race relations

05/09/2013 08:29 AM

Kentucky is restricting thousands of its citizens from certain job opportunities because it doesn’t allow record expungement for non-violent felons, said Democratic Rep. Darryl Owens of Louisville.

Currently, more than 60 different professions have some sort of restrictions against ex-felons. Owens says he hope there could be some movement on this issue in the 2014 session, especially now that some Republicans, such as GOP Senate Caucus Chairman Dan Seum of Louisville, have called for changing the law as well.

“I don’t think there is one legislator who has not been approached by someone in their district who has been negatively impacted by what they say is a dumb or stupid mistake that they made as a young person,” Owens said (at 7:20).

Owens also talked on Pure Politics about what he described as a troubling trend at a Louisville nightlife hot spot that has raised questions about ongoing race relations in Louisville and Kentucky, as a whole. Jason Osborne, a former University of Louisville basketball player, was arrested at Fourth Street Live! after being escorted out of one of the restaurants by police on April 28.

As WFPL reported , Owens and fellow state Rep. Reginald Meeks were both present for Osborne’s arraignment. Owens said he and Meeks wanted to express their concerns about the problems they hear about coming from Fourth Street Live! since it first opened in 2004.

“After six o’clock in the evening, I don’t go down there [to Fourth Street Live!] because I have heard enough stories that I would not be comfortable going down myself or with a friend or a guest for fear that something may happen,” Owens said.

Owens said he believes city leaders have not done enough to address the issues and that officials, such as Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, need to take action in these situations by with the people involved by saying “enough is enough”.

“The interesting comment I have received from a number of people is that it is our tax dollars, and we don’t feel welcome,” Owens said (at 2:15). “Perception is reality, if they perceive it that way shouldn’t we do something to make everyone feel that they are welcome and you will be treated like everyone else and there wont be any descriptive treatment?”


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