With an overwhelming vote of 33-5, the Senate passed an amended version of House Bill 40 Tuesday afternoon—a bill seeking to ease barriers for individuals seeking to re-enter society after having been convicted of a single non-violent Class D felony.
The version of House Bill 40 that passed requires a judge to vacate the felony before having it expunged and limits the number of felonies that would be applicable for expungement.
The majority of the provisions in the substitute come from Senate Bill 298 introduced by Senate President Robert Stivers. The main difference between President Stivers’ proposal and the bill that passed the Senate is the waiting period for getting a felony vacated or expunged. The bill that passed this afternoon has a five year waiting period, the number that was in the original version of House Bill 40, while Senate Bill 298 had a ten year waiting period.
Many supportive Senators stated that the process of having a judge vacate the sentence provides more employer protections than the original version of House Bill 40 as a business would not be liable for any potential issue if the record does not show that an offense ever occurred.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has pushed for common sense felony expungement legislation this session to give people with low level offenses a second chance and get them back into the workforce.
“Our view on workforce is that we need all hands on deck,” Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson said. “We are proud to join the broad coalition of organizations looking to help these individuals get back into the workforce.
The amended version of House Bill 40 now heads to the House for concurrence before the final two days of session.