Felon Expungements Bill Passes House Committee

Jan 29, 2014

A bill that would remove certain non-violent felonies from criminal records has cleared a Kentucky House committee.

Filed by Louisville Representative Darryl Owens, the bill would expunge charges after five years, as long as they don't lead to a federal criminal indictment. The bill cleared the Judiciary Committee by an 18 to 8 vote that fell largely along party lines, with only one Republican joining Democrats in support of the bill.

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will Scott testified in support of the measure, who says the state’s prison system is unnecessarily clogged with nonviolent drug offenders.

“You have a lot of people coming out of prison today who would be good people,” Scott said. “I say a lot; I’m not talkin’ about the majority. We have a lot of re-offense, a lot of recidivism that route. We know that; we expect it. But again these people can’t get hired either, and that’s all part of rehabilitation, and the information age has destroyed that. Because they can’t go West, they can’t go North. They might as well stay here."

Owens says his bill would affect about 95,000 Kentuckians.