As you all likely heard, the House concurred with the Senate bill and Governor Bevin will be signing the bill into law SOON. Stay posted for more coverage, including detailed information about how you can get your record cleared under this new law!
This is it! Not only did it pass the Senate, Governor Bevin in his speech last night said that he was proud of the legislation and will sign it as soon as its on his desk. The House still has to concur with the amendments, or the bill could end up in a conference committee. The likelihood of something very close to HB40, as modified by Committee Substitute 1 is good.
One touch of bad news, is that Senator Neal’s amendment to change the court costs from $500 to $250 failed. This could still be lowered by a conference committee if thats where the bill ends up.
A few other takeaways from the bill the Senate passed:
- It allows for the expungement of multiple felonies if the convictions were all part of the same event. Of course, they still have to be one of the 61 felonies covered by the bill.
- The following felonies were added from the Stivers list covered previously:
- Cultivation of Marijuana
- Tampering with Physical Evidence
- Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree and
- Burglary 3rd Degree
- Prosecutors have 60 days to respond to the petition for expungement or it gets granted automatically. Prosecutors can apply for a 60 day extension to make the time limit 120 days.
- While the fee is $500, $450 will be refunded if the expungement is not granted.
All in all, very exciting news. Stay tuned to this blog for more analysis, news about the final bill, and an exciting announcement about an incredibly easy and efficient way for you or a loved one to take advantage of this new law.
Yesterday, Sen. Neal filed an amendment to change the cost of applying for a felony expungement from $500 to $250. I’m hearing that there is still a good chance that a bill passes, and if it does happen we should know very soon. A few additional edits have been made to the Senate bill over the last few weeks. I will try to go over those tonight. Stressful times, but I remain hopeful.
If if you are interested in this issue, please, call and leave a message for your state Senator on the hotline. The toll free number is 1-(800) 372-7181. Let’s land this plane!
I’ve noticed a real spike in views of the blog in the last few days. Particularly for the posts that outline what offenses would be eligible for expungement under SB298. I hope that it is Senator Stivers’ fellow legislators coming to have a look at this important, life-changing legislation. If anyone from the Senate or House is reading this:
I understand the reality that not all offenses should be expungeable or vacatable. But please, stick with Senator Westerfield’s five year waiting period. The vast majority of Class D felons will be probated. Many of them will succeed, some won’t. But these probationary periods are generally three to five years. When you add the one to two years it takes to resolve some cases, and the five year waiting period after probation proposed by Senator Westerfield, almost every Class D felon will have gone ten years since the offense they want to expunge.
In fact, there is an easy, compromise solution: simply require a ten year waiting period from the date of the offense, or five years since completing probation, whichever is greater. In reality this will be similar to Senator Westerfield’s proposal in most cases. It will ensure that ten years has passed since the person’s last conviction, and it will obviate a lot of the PFO 2 concerns.
One more point: $500 is just too much. We know that 92% of jobs are doing background checks. We know that most will not hire felons. If we want to get people back to work, pick a lower number. I understand that AOC is underwater and needs money. But it certainly doesn’t cost $500 to store a file in a separate system and remove it from another one. The driving force of this legislation is about getting vulnerable people back to work. We have to eliminate as many barriers as we can to that goal.
Coverage here at cn|2. The bill would create a ballot initiative for the fall where the general population would vote on a Constitutional Amendment to allow lawmakers to set the standards for when felons get voting rights back. This doesn’t directly affect the expungement issue, and it would still be at least a year before we know what the requirements will be to restore voting rights, but some felons who aren’t eligible for expungement/vacation of their conviction under the new bill could have a way to regain voting rights with this approach.