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SB33 would offer 2nd chance after enhanced misdemeanors

By Nancy Royden, LRC

Frankfort, KY - Sometimes second chances are hard to come by. Senate Bill 33 would make it possible for people convicted of enhanceable misdemeanors to clear their records if they have remained law-abiding for a long enough time.

Right now, Kentucky law allows expungement of many misdemeanors as long as the offense was not a sex crime or an offense committed against a child. However, about 180 misdemeanors are not eligible if they can be enhanced by a subsequent offense, and the enhancement period does not expire.

Senate Bill 33, sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, would change that. It would amend state statute to allow expungement for enhanceable misdemeanors after a period of five to ten years, depending on the crime. The bill was approved on the Senate floor with a 32-4 vote on Wednesday.

Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Benton, expressed some misgivings about expungement overall. But, he also said he believes in second chances and that the test of time is a good measure in some situations involving crime.

"In this particular situation with a misdemeanor crime, even though it is enhanceable to a felony, if someone goes ten years without having been convicted of a crime, I would say the odds of them committing or being convicted of a crime after that are very, very slim," he said.

Sen. Gerald A. Neal, D-Louisville, spoke in support of the legislation.

"I want to commend the sponsor of this legislation because of its reasonableness and it's a responsible piece of legislation. I'm glad it's getting the overwhelming support of this body," he said.

This story was posted on 2022-02-04 12:21:45
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