Making higher education financial aid available to those with past conviction and changes to Board of Education move to Senate

In an effort to give Kentuckians a second chance after a previous conviction, legislation to expand access to Kentucky Education Excellence Scholarship (KEES) money passed out of the Senate Education Committee Thursday.

House Bill 25, sponsored by Rep. Killian Timoney, removes the requirement that an eligible high school student and eligible postsecondary student not be a convicted felon for KEES eligibility. Timoney stated removing the felony piece from the law removes an obstacle currently standing in the way of Kentuckians going on to higher education and bettering themselves.

Timoney noted the bill gives individuals financial aid dollars they have earned through ACT scores and grades while they were in school.

“We appreciate Rep. Timoney recognizing the importance of removing barriers for those with felony convictions to pursue education. We urge the Senate to pass the bill to help Kentuckians increase their education attainment and avoid recidivism,” Kentucky Chamber Vice President of Public Affairs Kate Shanks said Thursday.

House Bill 25 now moves to the full Senate for its final legislative step before heading to the governor.

A bill to change the makeup of the Kentucky Board of Education also moved forward Thursday. House Bill 178, sponsored by Rep. Steve Sheldon, seeks to bring balance and stability to the Kentucky Board of Education by requiring board appointments reflect equal gender representation and proportionally reflect the Commonwealth’s political affiliation and minority racial composition.

House Bill 178 passed the Senate Education Committee with a change that removes the requirement to have a nonvoting teacher and student member and now goes to the Senate on the consent calendar.

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