Kentucky Smart on Crime on Tuesday applauded the Senate’s passage of a bill designed to ease barriers to reentry for former criminal offenders.
“We are thrilled that a measure that has been more than a decade in the making is on the verge of becoming law,” Kentucky Smart on Crime spokesman Russell Coleman said. “This common-sense measure is a testament to the bipartisan cooperation demonstrated by Governor Bevin, House and Senate members. We especially want to thank Governor Bevin, Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield, and Senate President Robert Stivers for their thoughtful leadership and Rep. Daryl Owens and Rep. David Floyd for their longstanding and passionate advocacy on affording Kentuckians second chances.”
The Senate voted to pass House Bill 40, which would allow individuals to apply to have certain felony offenses expunged from their records after completing their sentences. The measure excludes certain offenses and prevents individuals from seeking expungement more than once. It gives victims an opportunity to be notified and authorizes judicial discretion to grant the expungement.
The majority of both Republicans and Democrats in Kentucky support easing barriers to reentry, according to a poll of Kentucky voters conducted by the Tarrance Group in January.
“Our coalition has been focused on supporting measures that take a smart on crime approach,” Coleman said. “We know the status quo simply isn’t working. This measure seeks to save taxpayer dollars, reduce the recidivism rate and make our communities safer.”
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 bill, which was amended in the Senate, now goes back to the House. Kentucky Smart on Crime expects House leadership to concur with the Senate’s changes.