BY MICHON LINDSTROM KENTUCKY
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Matt Bevin ceremonially signed Senate Bill 57 on Friday. It expands the pool of people who are able to get their criminal records expunged.
The bill was sponsored by Republican State Senator Jimmy Higdon, who represents Lebanan, and carried by State Representative C. Ed Massey, who represents Hebron, in the House.
It allows anyone with a low-level (Class D) felony conviction to have it expunged from their record as long as they have not committed a violent crime. In order to clean a record, a person would have to wait five years after completing probation, and pay a $250 fee.
A former felon who worked to get the legislation passed was present at the bill signing ceremony. She celebrated the work she and the group, Smart Justice Advocates, did to pass the law.
“Years ago, I was in prison at the worst point in my life, and today I’m at a bill signing. Who knew?” Amanda Hall, Smart Justice Field Organizer for the ACLU said. ”That was beyond my wildest dreams and to know that horrible experience that I went through, I can use it now and take back my narrative and my story and use it to do something good.”
Hall says the issue isn’t partisan. Governor Bevin invited her to speak at the signing ceremony and presented her with a signed copy of the bill she worked hard to get passed.
“By working together to do good, good things are happening,” Bevin said. “Thousands and thousands of lives will be made better just like yours.”
Four lawmakers voted against the bill.