Here is the link for what will likely become the Kentucky Class D Felony Expungement bill. Here is great coverage from CN2. It still has to be passed, but as it was authored by the Senate President, and our Governor has already voiced his support, it looks like we will, at the very least, get this bill. I appreciate the foresight of Senator Stivers and Governor Bevin to push for this, but I have a few thoughts.
Here are my initial reactions:
- Ten years after completion of the sentence is just TOO long. There is no empirical reason to pick ten years. The only basis for this number is the number of fingers on two hands. The reality is that most Class D felons will wait a year to be sentenced after being convicted, and then serve a lengthy probation or parole. While better than nothing, this bill restricts relief to people who have long since aged out of their prime wage earning years. If we want people who make a mistake when they are young to be contributing members of our economy, the right path isn’t to wait until they are 35 to allow for expungement. Forcing people out of the mainstream economy for 15 years just continues to create new felonies.
- A $500 application fee is steep. While I understand the budget shortfall, the amount of tax revenues that can be generated from getting former felons to higher paying jobs surely must outweigh the short term gains of the few lucky people able to save the high fee.
- Class D Trafficking SHOULD be expungeable. The felon-creation-industrial-complex started as a reaction to the war on drugs. The vast majority of people who will benefit from this bill were addicted to drugs. To deny petty traffickers the possibility of expungement seems to miss the point. I know that this bill is politically unpopular. Be HARD on high-level traffickers. The dime-bag -selling addicts who cleaned their habits a decade ago deserve a second chance.
I’ll be back tomorrow to offer the plain-language list of offenses that are expungeable under this bill. I do want to say that I sincerely appreciate that Senator Stivers authored this bill. It’s not perfect, and hopefully, after debate, we will get something better. I know he is walking a tight-rope with his constituents and I do appreciate him putting his neck out on this.
More tomorrow friends.