House Bill 40: Expungement for Class D Felons

House Bill 40: Expungement for Class D Felons

FRANKFORT – An effort to help potentially tens of thousands of Kentuckians truly put their past behind them cleared a key legislative milestone on Friday when the Kentucky House voted to broaden eligibility for criminal expungement.
Similar measures have passed the chamber numerous times, but there is hope that this year’s legislation will be successful, given the increased bipartisan support it has received.
In short, House Bill 40 would make it possible for many citizens with a Class “D” felony on their record to have it expunged five years after completing all aspects of their punishment, just as we do now with misdemeanors and violations. Class “D” is the lowest of the four felony levels.
Those who had been convicted of a sexual offense or a crime involving abuse or neglect of an adult or child would not be eligible, and neither would those who have been convicted of or charged with another crime.
For those who do qualify, prosecutors and victims involved in the case would be notified as the court considers expungement. This legislation would also apply to those who were charged with a felony but not indicted by a grand jury, and expungement could include multiple Class “D” felonies if they occurred as part of the same crime.
If this were to become law, applicants would still have to provide full disclosure of their criminal record when otherwise required by state and federal law.
The main goal behind this bill is to give many Kentuckians a better chance to re-integrate into society after they complete their sentence and maintain a clean record during the waiting period. Many are still paying a price even decades after the original offense, and it is causing them to lose out on jobs, housing and other opportunities like volunteering in school.
The passage of that legislation may have been the chief highlight last week in the House, but there were other actions as well that, either directly or indirectly, will have an impact on the work legislators are trying to do.
On Thursday, for example, many gathered in the Capitol Rotunda as part of the 12th annual Children’s Advocacy Day. This event is designed to spotlight those areas where the state is making progress and where challenges remain.
One positive step we have taken is increasing the income eligibility for preschool this year, a move estimated to help up to 5,000 young children. Last year, we increased the age and height requirements for booster seats, and this year, a lot of focus will be on what more we can do through the state’s budget.
On a related education matter, the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research came out with a report this month underscoring just how far our schools have come since undertaking major reforms a little more than a quarter-century ago.
In 1990, we were near the bottom among the states in the percentage of adults 25 and older without a high school diploma or college degree. Now, we are exactly at the national average when it comes to the percentage of working adults having at least a high school degree, and we exceed the national average in the percentage having a two-year college degree.
When compiling those factors and several others – such as 4th and 8th grade scores in math, science and reading – the UK report says Kentucky outperforms eight states, trails 15 and is statistically similar to the remaining 26. While we are not satisfied with where we are, it is good to see just how far we have come in little more than a generation.
The General Assembly’s work is shortened this week due to the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday, but the flow of legislation through the House is set to begin picking up considerably. Next Tuesday, meanwhile, we will receive Governor Bevin’s two-year budget proposal, kicking off what will be our biggest task this year.
I want to thank those who have taken time to let me know their views as we near the one-fourth mark of this year’s 60-day legislative session. If you would like to join them, you can address correspondence to Room 366B, Capitol Annex, 702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, KY 40601; or you can email me [email protected]
To leave a message for me or for any legislator by phone, please call 800-372-7181. For those with a hearing impairment, the number is 800-896-0305.
I hope to hear from you soon.

Paid for by Rick Rand for State Representative, Regina Rand, Treasurer