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February 27, 2019 3:51pm

Key GLI-backed expungement bills advance in Frankfort

Two key pieces of legislation that would make major improvements to Kentucky’s expungement laws and help to develop and grow the Commonwealth’s workforce are advancing through the General Assembly. Senate Bill 57, sponsored by Senator Jimmy Higdon, passed the Senate 35-2 this afternoon. House Bill 159, sponsored by Representative Jason Petrie, currently awaits a full vote in the House, following its approval by the House Judiciary Committee last week.

GLI has long recognized the positive impact of expungement on workforce development and economic growth. Expungement removes unnecessary and harmful barriers to workforce participation, reduces recidivism rates, and empowers individuals with criminal records to be self-sufficient, productive citizens. In the historically-tight labor market we are currently experiencing, it is more important than ever that we ensure that anyone who wants to work can work. Expungement is a key tool in making that happen.

In 2015, GLI became the first chamber of commerce in Kentucky to support Class D felony expungement, and our members were strong advocates for House Bill 40 in 2016. Since passage of House Bill 40, more than 1,200 individuals have had Class D felonies expunged from their records and are now able to seek out new career and employment opportunities. Senate Bill 57 and House Bill 159 continue the important work started by House Bill 40 by streamlining expungement processes, improving access to expungement, and expanding eligibility.

  • Senate Bill 57 would expand the list of offenses eligible for expungement and establish a new system for dealing with state filing fees that could allow more individuals to have access to expungement in Kentucky.
  • House Bill 159 would amend state law requiring individuals whose charges have been dismissed or who have received an acquittal to petition the courts for an expungement. Under this bill, judges would be authorized to concurrently expunge such records at the time of the order without requiring any action on the part of the individual. The House Judiciary Committee approved House Bill 159 on February 20.

Business and community leaders from throughout Greater Louisville urge passage of both of these bills in the 2019 session. Let’s continue removing barriers to workforce participation and improving Kentucky’s business competitiveness.