Three bills seeking to improve Kentucky’s criminal justice clear Senate committee

As Kentucky works to reform its criminal justice system and lower prison populations, legislation that would increase the felony theft threshold for the first time since the 1990s passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

Sponsored by Rep. Ed Massey, the House Chair of the Judiciary Committee, House Bill 126 would raise the felony theft threshold from $500 to $1,000, which would aim to remove barriers to individuals who have made mistakes, according to Massey.

The legislation would bring Kentucky into more conformity with other states for some crimes as well as hold individuals more accountable for mistakes in some areas where a felony does not result in jail time but a misdemeanor does.

House Bills 402 and 404, also sponsored by Rep. Massey, would raise the felony threshold for flagrant nonsupport and make changes to areas of the child support system.

Massey said the issue was brought to him by the Child Support Commission and noted it has been over 15 years since the state has updated guidelines. He said two additions have been made to House Bill 404 to deal with shared parenting issues by adopting language being used in Indiana. Part of House Bill 404 won’t go into effect until 2022 to allow the state to work with family court judges and to ensure child care support is going where it needs to go.

House Bill 402 simply raises the felony threshold for flagrant nonsupport from $1,000 to $5,000.

House Bills 126, 402, and 404 all now move to the full Senate.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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