Bevin backing bill to expunge some criminal records - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bevin backing bill to expunge some criminal records

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Giving ex-cons a second chance is the idea behind a new proposal that would clear some criminal records.

Gov. Matt Bevin and others are giving the bill somewhat surprising new support.

Last month, Gov. Bevin reversed an executive order by his predecessor, Steve Beshear, that restored voting right to some ex-cons.

Now, Bevin wants to accomplish something similar, but in a different way.

"It's important, it's critical, it's time," Bevin said during a news conference.

Bevin is part of a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, business leaders and social justice advocates supporting a bill that would expunge the records of some non-violent felons who have served their time.

It would restore their rights and give them a second chance.

“This transcends race, this transcends socio-economic status, this transcends partisanship. The reality is, this is the right thing to do,” said Bevin.

The head of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says it's good business to put 94,000 ex-offenders in the workforce.

“Workforce pressures are intense today on Kentucky businesses, not only because the economy is improving, which is a good thing, but also because baby boomers are retiring in droves,” said David Adkisson, president and CEO of the chamber.

Louisville Democrat Darryl Owens has been pushing similar proposals for years, but has run into Republican opposition.

He believes the support of Bevin and the chamber will make the difference.

“I think the chances at this time are fairly good. I’m tremendously optimistic. Now, this is Frankfort,” Owens told WDRB News.

Bevin said he undid Beshear's executive order because he believes the action should come from the General Assembly.

“What was done was illegal, frankly. And, frankly, what we’re calling for is for this to be done legally, binding, codified into law,” said Bevin.

The bill would clear misdemeanors and the records of Class D felons, the lowest level offenders.

Rebecca Collett tuned her life around after serving 22 months in jail for drug trafficking.

She now has a masters degree in social work.

“I'll be able to apply for a job, and I’ll be able to be the person I know I am without being questioned about my integrity,” Collett told WDRB.

The proposal would not apply to those who have multiple offenses, committed sex crimes, or crimes against children and seniors.

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