Senate President files two felony expungement bills

03/04/2016 02:49 PM

FRANKFORT – Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester filed 2 felony expungement bills on Thursday, the last day bills could be filed in the Senate, which would allow those convicted of Class D felonies to have their convictions expunged.

Stivers, who has spent considerable time crafting the legislation, says Senate Bill 298 and Senate Bill 299 will work together in concert to bring the desired result when it comes to expunging the record of persons who have committed certain non-violent crimes.

“The first one will allow the General Assembly to set parameters on automatic restoration of civil rights,” Stivers said. “It’s not to set it at one year, 5 years, 20 years. Just to give us the authority to come back and set those parameters if we so desire.”

“In no way would it interfere with the governor’s ability (to expunge),” he continued.

The second component is an expungement mechanism which would allow, after a period of time, those convicted of certain crmies to seek the judgement and their sentence to be vacated and expunged on a conviction.

It also sets up the ability to expunge misdemeanors.

“Because the current statute allows only for an expungement of one misdemeanor, this would allow expungement of all misdemeanors after a period of time,” Stivers said.

Smart on Crime Spokesman Russell Coleman said the legislation would ease barriers for individuals seeking to re-enter society after serving time and/or paying fines for certain criminal offenses.

“Kentucky Smart on Crime applauds the Senate’s leadership on this issue and looks forward to continuing to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that enhances public safety, saves taxpayer dollars, strengthens Kentucky’s workforce and helps former offenders successfully re-enter society,” Coleman said.

“Kentucky Smart on Crime is dedicated to finding common ground on modernizing our criminal justice system,” he continued. “These proposals provide us with a chance to make re-entry more successful for thousands of Kentuckians.”

The Kentucky Smart on Crime coalition consists of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, ACLU of Kentucky, Catholic Conference of Kentucky, Kentucky Council of Churches, Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Kentucky Center for Economic Policy and Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

The bills are expected to be heard in committee as early as next week.


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