Senate President Robert Stivers of Manchester, filed Senate Bill 298 Thursday which would ease barriers for individuals seeking to re-enter society after serving time for certain low-level felony offenses.
The 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 former offenders to be more productive citizens, pay taxes and meet family obligations as it helps them obtain and maintain employment.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce applauds 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 ensures public safety, saves taxpayer dollars, strengthens Kentucky’s workforce and helps former offenders successfully re-enter society.