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March 18, 2020 4:45pm

Senate moves bills on key GLI priorities: workforce, criminal justice, and substance abuse

This afternoon, the Kentucky State Senate advanced three key GLI bills addressing issues such as workforce development, criminal justice reform, and substance abuse.

Recovery through Employment. By a 31-0 vote, the Senate passed Senate Bill 173. This legislation, sponsored by Senator Matt Castlen, would encourage businesses to retain employees with substance use disorders and help them get treatment by providing clear guidelines on how employers can help staff access treatment. The bill would also relieve employers of certain liabilities after the employee successfully completes a treatment program. Senate Bill 173 passed with a floor amendment from Senate President Robert Stivers. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

Automatic Expungement. The Senate passed House Bill 327. This legislation, sponsored by Representative Kevin Bratcher, would require courts to automatically order the expungement of criminal charges that result in an acquittal or dismissal. House Bill 327 would help more Kentuckians find employment and ensure more individuals with past run-ins with the law are able to get their records expunged. Senator Mike Nemes carried the bill on the Senate floor. Because the Senate made changes to the bill, it now heads back to the House for a final procedural vote before going to the Governor.

Probation Reform. The Senate passed House Bill 284. Sponsored by Representative Derek Lewis, this legislation will support workforce development and reduce incarceration rates by incentivizing more individuals on probation to work and pursue educational and training opportunities. Similar to House Bill 327, the Senate made changes to it, so the bill will return to the House for a final procedural vote.