A few weeks ago I wrote about the broader policy work on felony expungement.  That work has continued to develop over the course of the 2016 session and reached a fever pitch on March 17th when, for the first time, such a bill was heard before a Senate committee.  You can view the archived KET footage of the Senate Judiciary committee meeting on House Bill 40 here:

(HB40 testimony, comments & questions cover roughly the first 75 minutes.)

After that lengthy committee debate, the bill "passed favorably" on to the next phase of the process, the full Senate.  It is my hope that HB40 as amended in committee meets with favorable passage on the Senate floor today.  Because the bill was changed in the Senate it must return to the House for them to choose whether to "concur" with the changes.  If so, the bill is done and heads to the Governor's office.  If not, the bill may then go to a "conference committee," just like the budget process, for members of both chambers to hammer out a compromise for final passage.

Since I went over several of the considerations in my earlier post, I'll simply hit the highlights here:

  • Includes only 61 of Kentucky's nearly 400 Class D felonies, but captures 70% of the Class D felon population
  • Requires a 5 year waiting period to apply that only begins when the felon is completely "served out" and "off paper," no longer reporting to the Court or Probation & Parole
  • Judicial discretion is applied through a hearing involved in every case during which the Commonwealth on behalf of the victim(s) and the citizens can be heard and object
  • The record is vacated then expunged, meaning that in the eyes of the law the felon is viewed as having never committed the felony at all.  Only the AOC keeps an index of the petitions/records for expungement for the sole purpose to determining one's eligibility for expungement relief
  • You only get to ask for this once. Ever.  Nothing else can be pending and you cannot have priors.

A few handy documents for you are linked below: