Bill to expunge some felonies draws debate

House commitee OK's bill 13-8

By Kevin Wheatley, Published:

A bill that would allow nonviolent Class D felonies to be expunged from criminal records for first-time offenders moved through a House committee Wednesday.

But some Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee questioned aspects of House Bill 64 they say could create a new protected class of individuals who cannot be discriminated against because of expunged felony charges.

Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, said the legislation aims to reintegrate in society those who have served sentences for their first Class D felony convictions, except for sexual offenses and abuse against the elderly and children. The committee passed the bill 13-8.

HB 64 would let ex-felons who qualify petition the court to have such convictions expunged from their records five years after serving their sentences.

That would restore a number of rights and privileges — such as voting, possessing a firearm and chaperoning children at school functions — that 95,000 Kentuckians have lost, Owens said.

“I can’t imagine a society that would require somebody who has been hit with a Class D felony to, for the rest of their life, be doomed to a life of unemployment or underemployment,” he said while voting for HB 64. “That’s exactly what we have.”

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott and Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown also spoke on behalf of HB 64, as did two convicted felons who would be eligible to have their record expunged should the legislation pass.

“How can one support their families, pay taxes, become productive members of society if this stays on your record for your entire life?” said Wayne Saylor, who said he was convicted of cocaine possession and has had difficulty finding work since he was laid off from IBM in 2007.

“I’m unable to chaperone my kids’ schools. I’ve been denied car insurance even though I haven’t even had a parking ticket since ’85,” Saylor said. “I enjoy the outdoors and would love to take my kids hunting like my grandmother did with me, but I can’t.”

HB 64 would protect those with expunged felony convictions from discrimination, primarily in employment and professional licensing, drawing ire from some Republicans on the committee.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, said he has supported previous efforts to allow records to be expunged of nonviolent Class D felonies, “but this bill is much, much more than that.” Hoover was one of eight Republicans who voted against HB 64.

Other Republicans on the committee also had misgivings about HB 64.

Rep. Steven Rudy, R-West Paducah, said while he thinks expunging nonviolent Class D felonies is “the right thing to do,” he believes it is unconstitutional to restore a felon’s voting rights by law without amending the Kentucky Constitution.

Rep. Joseph Fischer, R-Fort Thomas, raised a concern that banks and other financial institutions should be aware of applicants who’ve been convicted of theft.

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  •    Currently, there is no such thing as felony expungement in the state of Kentucky. So if you received a felony in the past, you are stuck with it for life.  Even if you have gone to college and received a Bachelor’s degree, as I have. Even if you have had your Civil Rights restored by the Governor, as I have.  You will still be destined to have crappy jobs, if you can find one at all. You are considered a “Liability” so no one will even consider you for a position. You will be turned down for housing, etc. The law needs to be changed. What’s the incentive to better ones self if your condemned for life for a mistake you made years ago?  Class D felonies are just a step above a Misdemeanor, yet the result is the same as if you were a Murderer or Sex offender when it comes to getting a job.

       There should be a law, that people who have Class D felonies and who have shown to be good citizens can have their felony expunged after 10 years. If you have jumped through the hoops, and have done what you were supposed to do, and you have turned your life around, then you should be able to get a chance at a normal life. It is my understanding that, the majority of Common Wealth of Kentucky Attorneys would pose little Resistance to such a law.

    Even if the Governor gives you a Pardon, which only means that the Governor forgives you, the felony is still on your record for all to see and judge.
    Tennessee Has passed a similar law, this site gives some details of that law. http://gadd.kc.vanderbilt.edu/tennesseeworks/new-law-allows-expunging-criminal-records-goes-into-effect-july-1-2012/

     

     

  •    Currently, there is no such thing as felony expungement in the state of Kentucky. So if you received a felony in the past, you are stuck with it for life.  Even if you have gone to college and received a Bachelor’s degree, as I have. Even if you have had your Civil Rights restored by the Governor, as I have.  You will still be destined to have crappy jobs, if you can find one at all. You are considered a “Liability” so no one will even consider you for a position. You will be turned down for housing, etc. The law needs to be changed. What’s the incentive to better ones self if your condemned for life for a mistake you made years ago?  Class D felonies are just a step above a Misdemeanor, yet the result is the same as if you were a Murderer or Sex offender when it comes to getting a job.

       There should be a law, that people who have Class D felonies and who have shown to be good citizens can have their felony expunged after 10 years. If you have jumped through the hoops, and have done what you were supposed to do, and you have turned your life around, then you should be able to get a chance at a normal life. It is my understanding that, the majority of Common Wealth of Kentucky Attorneys would pose little Resistance to such a law.

    Even if the Governor gives you a Pardon, which only means that the Governor forgives you, the felony is still on your record for all to see and judge.
    Tennessee Has passed a similar law, this site gives some details of that law. http://gadd.kc.vanderbilt.edu/tennesseeworks/new-law-allows-expunging-criminal-records-goes-into-effect-july-1-2012/

     

  • I think that any rehabilitation training that felons receive upon release should be directed toward a trade rather than college. The reason I say this is, Even if they do get a college degree, no one will hire them. Another reason is, if they do complete college, and find that there are no jobs to be had, because of their felony, they cannot get government funding after receiving a bachelors degree. Yes they can take out Stafford Loans that must be repaid, but as for the BOG and FASFA Grants, you are not eligible. No one is after their Bachelors degree. Those Stafford loans would not even cover 1 class in some schools, forget books. Without government funding they will not be able to attend a trade school, because they have to have money to get into that school and pay for classes, books, gear, etc. If it was a drug charge or assault charge they received, the school may not take them anyway.
    People always say that education is the way to rehabilitate felons, well, if you owe $40,000 to a university and can't find a job to pay it back, how did that degree help them?
    Really the same applies to students coming out of High school. I see a lot of students who graduate from college with bachelor’s degrees, Business, Criminal Justice, Teaching Certificates, etc, and they have to take unskilled labor jobs, working right beside people with GEDs. That's pretty much a waste of 4 years and lots of money. While people with skilled trades in areas where there is a demand are making lots of money. Much more than college graduates in lots of cases. If you have students graduating every semester from a university, and they stay in that area, the job market is saturated; even employers who don't discriminate against felons can choose who do I want to work for me, the one with the 3.0 grade point average or the one with the 4.0 GPA? So they can pick from the cream of the crop. But, if it was the felon who had the highest GPA, and the most education and training, and was best qualified for the job, they would be kicked to the curb because of that felony. Just to be on equal ground, you have a clean record, or you will not be hired.

  • This law would allow Class D Felons to get jobs and become productive citizens, not a burden on the system and society. No matter what your standpoint is on this topic there is something that you have to consider. The recidivism rate for felony offenders is high. That is in part due to the fact that those felons who would otherwise be productive citizens cannot find jobs to support themselves or their families. Giving low risk felons a chance at a new beginning, is a good incentive for felons not to re-offend, because, they know that if they do well during the 5 - 10 year period, they will have a chance at a good life. When people are pushed into a corner and they are out of options, they may do things that they would not normally do.
    For example: if a person’s family is hungry, and they can’t get housing or A  job, that person may do something that they would never dream of doing had circumstances been different. It may be a bad choice, but between the choice of going hungry, being homeless and broke, and not being employable or eligible for state or government help, that person may have very limited options to survive. They may take the point of view for example,       “ What am I supposed to do, I can’t eat, I have no way to pay rent, I have no way to feed my family, I am not employable, I have 2 options, break the law to get money or lay down and DIE.” Most likely they are not going to lie down and die. So then the cycle continues. A person, who made 1 mistake years ago, has now graduated up to more serious crimes. Now there's is a good chance that, that person will probably evolve into a persistent felony offender. We can break a big part of this cycle by convincing the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote on and pass HB 64.

  • Lots of people push education for felons. A college degree will get you nowhere if you are a felon.  Non-Felons with degrees are having a hard time finding jobs. I'm a felon, 3.9 GPA, Deans list, Bachelors Degree, Etc, and can't pass a background check, or make it into an interview if I mark FELON on the application. Plus, I'm overqualified for McDonald's types of jobs, so no luck there either.  Also, you can’t make a “living wage” working as a hamburger slinger at Mc Ds. Maybe if you were a manager you could. So, you are going to have to have better job opportunities just to be able to survive. Some may say “Start your own business and be SELF EMPLOYED”.  Well, in order to be self employed, you have to have “MONEY” to start a business, whether it be a brick and mortar business or Just a Landscaper who mows. Business and tools, and mowers, and insurance, and operating costs all cost MONEY. So where is a person who can't get a job supposed to get that money? Banks only give loans to those who don't need them. For example, those who have a lot of collateral to back up the loan. So, how is this felon supposed to fund this business? I guess he could try to do one BIG SCORE / Illegal Activity and then go legit.  Of course that would mean that he / she would have to Rob, Steal, Burglarize, Deal drugs, commit fraud, or something worse to get that money to go legit.  But hey, He/she just funded “going into business for themselves” the only way they could.  Do you want to be the one that they have to rob to go Legit? I believe I would just pass the law so that the felon could earn A chance at a better life.

  • Currently, there is no such thing as felony expungement in the state of Kentucky. So if you received a felony in the past, you are stuck with it for life.  Even if you have gone to college and received a Bachelor’s degree, as I have. Even if you have had your Civil Rights restored by the Governor, as I have.  You will still be destined to have crappy jobs, if you can find one at all. You are considered a “Liability” so no one will even consider you for a position. You will be turned down for housing, etc. The law needs to be changed. What’s the incentive to better ones self if your condemned for life for a mistake you made years ago?  Class D felonies are just a step above a Misdemeanor, yet the result is the same as if you were a Murderer or Sex offender when it comes to getting a job.

       There should be a law, that people who have Class D felonies and who have shown to be good citizens can have their felony expunged after 10 years. If you have jumped through the hoops, and have done what you were supposed to do, and you have turned your life around, then you should be able to get a chance at a normal life. It is my understanding that, the majority of Common Wealth of Kentucky Attorneys would pose little Resistance to such a law.

    Even if the Governor gives you a Pardon, which only means that the Governor forgives you, the felony is still on your record for all to see and judge.

    Tennessee Has passed a similar law

  • For first time offenders, the bill is a godsend.  When in today's society, taking a leak at night in a parking garage after the bars close is a sex offence when no children are around,  and where unemployment among felons is 50% for the first nine months after release, it only makes sense economically to get these people working again so they don't commit other crimes.   

    Perhaps they could attach a good parenting bill so parents who let their children run amok will be responsible for their children's future actions since never instilled any self control into their kids. 

    In any case, everyone makes a mistake.  A person who pays their dues that society requires of them at their time of conviction and hopefully recieves the necessary rehabilitation while in prison ( and if not, it's because we've all refused to allow our tax dollars to go towards these programs and we deserve what we get) should be allowed to return to society and have a chance for a life.    Stealing a loaf of bread to feed one's family should not end up forever ruining someone's life, someone's family's life and most likely will result in the children having little respect for society and run an increased risk of being criminals themselves.  Don't jump to the worst non-violent crimes to say no.  Why Class A-C crimes were not in the bill.  Find a way to say yes to those who would benefit from something like this.   

  • Have we, as a society, fallen so far from grace that we are unable to see a good thing when it passes by our very noses? We pass judgment based on criminal checks, but rarely stop to consider the person. We’ve all made mistakes – some of us have made bigger mistakes, but are we not all human? Can we not stop passing judgment on our fellow man and take the time to understand?



     

  • Crime is not a mistake!----I do agree with the voting rights. But I believe businesses have the right to ask/know if they are hiring somebody at their bank, who was a prior thief.-----Its a sad but true fact many become 2 time offenders.-----I am a Christian to, but Jesus is not the one hiring these people.-----So lets say I work at a daycare and steal $5,000 from the after school program, or I worked at a previous bank where I embezzled $20,000, or at a gas station and decide to keep the night deposit for myself.-----Those are NOT mistakes, they are conscious CHOICES they made.

  • House bill 64 should include those who have a sex felony record, that happen ony once. Give people a second chance in life. The children of these sexuality felonies are also punished for what their parents and grandparents did. These familys and children can not go and enjoy public events and these children are hurt when someone tell them that cannot be them. Children need thier parents and grandparents in thier lives. Also, we need people to work and live where they want to, without having a sitgma on thier records for rest of thier lives. Everyone needs a second chance. He without sin cast the first stone.  In memory of my loving son Sonny

  • You two are absolute geniouses. I aqm sure you never made the first mistake in your life. However, most people are human and make mistakes in there life unlike you two. If the crime is non violent and gives someone a secound chance to make the best of there life, I am all for it. Jesus forgives!

  • Don't commit a felony and you don't have to worry about it.

  • I got an idea....light bulb flashing!!! Don't commit a felony to begin with and you don't have to worry about it.