So a major question that I’ve been getting from everyone who is using the site is “when does the bill go into effect? When can I get my felony expunged?” According to the clerk’s office here in Fayette County, the answer has been “sometime in mid-July”. I decided to investigate myself to determine when felony expungement would go into effect. Generally, new laws (which are not passed as emergency legislation) get their effective date set by the attorney general’s office. Attorney General Beshear’s office has not (that I can tell) issued their annual opinion about when new legislation goes into effect, but a little research indicates that the exact date will be Friday July 15th, 2016.
How do I know this? Section 55 of the Kentucky Constitution states:
No act, except general appropriation bills, shall become a law until ninety days after the adjournment of the session at which it was passed, except in cases of emergency, when, by the concurrence of a majority of the members elected to each House of the General Assembly, by a yea and nay vote entered upon their journals, an act may become a law when approved by the Governor, but the reasons for the emergency that justifies this action must be set out at length in the journal of each House.
“[U]ntil ninety days after the adjournment” (emphasis added), as used in Section 55 of Kentucky’s Constitution (above), indicates that the day of adjournment (meaning the day of final adjournment for the session, termed “adjournment sine die“) is to be excluded in computing the 90-day period. It follows that the 90th day shall be included in the period, in order that 90 full days shall expire after final adjournment, before certain legislation passed during the session becomes effective.
Therefore, the appropriate calculation is ninety days after sine die (which this year was April 15th). Therefore Friday July 15th. There remains the question of whether people seeking an expungement under HB 40 will be able to apply early for the required certificate of eligibility from AOC. I’ve got an email out on that and will let everyone know as soon as I hear back.