Proposed bill would speed up expungement process in Kentucky

Published 11:30 am Monday, July 24, 2023

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State law allows Kentuckians with low-level, non-violent convictions to have their criminal record expunged after meeting a few requirements, but it’s not a simple process and one lawmaker wants to change that.

Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser, R-Taylor Mill, was among those who testified Thursday before the Interim Joint Judiciary Committee on how to make the expungement process easier.

“The objective of our corrections system as we all know is to assist individuals in their rehabilitation and to let them get on with their life to reintegrate into society,” Moser told the panel. “This will simply expedite the process.”

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Known as The Clean Slate Act, it would apply to Kentuckians who have completed their sentence and remain crime-free for five years. Once those requirements are met, the state would notify the individual they are eligible for expungement. This process would involve the Administrative Office of the Courts as well as Kentucky State Police, and a judge would have to issue the final approval.

“Currently, less than 10% of individuals who are eligible for expungement actually petition the court for their expungement, so this would simplify the process,” Moser stated.

Several Kentuckians who have petitioned for expungement testified before the committee on how it is difficult and costly, and that having a criminal record for many years after completing their sentence made it harder to find a well-paying job, attend field trips with their kids, find housing and more.

Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, said he did not support the first expungement law and he does not support this idea, adding, businesses have the right to know the criminal backgrounds of potential employees. “Who are we to say that the government can hide that from us? I don’t understand that. We shouldn’t be making decisions for small businesses.”

Moser replied that she initially had the same concerns as Schickel, but she later changed her mind.

Earlier this year, Moser sponsored similar legislation, but it did not pass before the end of the legislative session. She would have to refile it for lawmakers to consider it in 2024.