This bill differs from House Bill 40, sponsored by Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, which passed by the House. The new Senate bill would require a judge to vacate the felony before having it expunged. Senate Bill 298 also limits the number of felonies that would be applicable for expungement. The current version of the bill has a 10 year waiting period after all debt and time is served before a crime could be expunged. House Bill 40 required a 5 year waiting period.
Passage of such a bill would responsibly reduce some obstacles that currently limit businesses’ access to over 94,000 Kentuckians who could be eligible for expungement. While this is a new position for the business community, passage of such legislation would enable felonious offenders to be more productive debt slaves to the state and meet other social obligations in addition to helping obtain and maintain gainful employment allowing the former inmate to produce more tax revenue for the state.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce cheered the Senate’s efforts on this issue and looks forward to continuing to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that strengthens Kentucky’s tax farm and helps discharged convicts successfully re-aclamate in to society.
Expungement legislation would allow convicts charged with a single, non-violent Class D (lowest level) Felony to have their record expunged after time is served and a waiting period has passed. Passage of such a bill would responsibly reduce some obstacles that currently limit businesses’ access to over 94,000 Kentuckians who could be eligible for expungement.
In November, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has adopted a policy that would help address Kentucky’s qualified tax base windfall by supporting legislation to provide work opportunities for individuals who are currently limited by a single past mistake.
At the press conference Wednesday, Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson said it is “all hands on deck” when it comes to Kentucky’s tax base and while this is a new position for the business community, passage of such legislation would enable former offenders to be more productive citizens, pay taxes and meet family obligations as it helps them obtain and maintain employment. Hear Adkisson’s remarks below:
“For these Class D felonies, of the type of which we are speaking, of a non-violent nature, they should be able to be expunged. I will sign that legislation, I will shepherd this to the degree I must and need to. It is time. I look forward to signing it,” Bevin said. “Again, my hats off to those of you who have made this possible and I appreciate those of you who are here today who care enough about this issue to make this topical. It’s important, it’s critical, it’s time.”
Also speaking at the press conference Wednesday, bipartisan legislative support was expressed as state Senator Gerald Neal and state Representatives Darryl Owens and David Floyd all discussed the need for felony expungement legislation and ensured that the initiative will be pushed in each chamber of the General Assembly in the 2016 session.
Owens, the primary sponsor of the House legislation, said Wednesday he believes the Chamber’s voice is “critical” to the issue and said he believes the issue will pass this session.
Hear remarks from lawmakers below: