Travis Phillips, with our lobbying firm Top Shelf Lobby LLC, added an expungement workshop earlier this week and filed a report with me.
Expungement was a long fought piece of legislation for KPA, going back to the days when Kim Greene was representing us and the late Gross Lindsey was chair of the House Judiciary Committee. That was probably a 15-year period where we, along with many other groups, fought the idea of expungement. There was just no way to rewrite history.
But in the 2016 session, things started changing and the General Assembly finally passed a version that was strongly supported by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and other key groups who had fought it for so long.
Here’s Travis’ report, and don’t overlook the very last sentence to see how many expungement applications have been made and how many granted in less than the first year.
“There are now a few changes to misdemeanor expungement eligibility. These changes include no limit to the number of misdemeanors you can expunge, which is discretionary. Felonies and other ineligible convictions no longer block misdemeanor expungement. There is no longer a 5-year “look-back” period, and the old “One and Only One” Misdemeanor can still be expunged as a right.
“There is a new process for class D felony expungement. With these changes, the process includes the following steps: vacates convictions(s), dismiss charges with prejudice, and then expunge the dismissed charges. This new process helps with the interaction of federal law. Other expungement changes include being able to expunge pardoned convictions.
“Some possible future changes include lowering the fee for felonies, making fees waivable explicitly, expanding the list of felonies, eliminating certification requirement for acquittals, and clarifying various clauses i.e., single incident, enhancement period, fees in misdemeanor cases.
“From July 15, 2016, to March 31, 2017, 888 felony expungement applications have been received. 631 of those were granted, while only 58 were denied, giving a 92 percent grant rate.”