Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill into law on April 13 that will make it easier for felons in Kentucky to have their records expunged and restore their full rights as citizens. Kentucky House Bill 40 will allow felons the opportunity to submit for expungement five years after probation or the end of their sentence, whichever is the longest. “It’s an honor and privilege to be able to sign House Bill 40 into law,” Bevin said at the signing. “It is critical that there is an opportunity for redemption and second chances because America is a land that was founded on these principles. The greatness, uniqueness, beauty and extraordinary nature of America is based on the fact that we do give people an opportunity for redemption.” The law comes after Kentucky’s previous governor, Steve Beshear, filed an executive order to allow released felons to vote shortly before he left office last year. That executive order differs significantly from the one signed last Wednesday.
Under the new bill, felons must follow guidelines for a set period to have their records cleared completely and to meet the requirement for expungement.
The requirements include the five year gap between the felon’s sentence or probation, that the criminal be non-violent and it requires that their crimes not be sexual in nature. The felon will also pay the clerk $100 for the expungement.
Bevin struck down Beshear’s executive order when he took office in December. He sighted a need for the Kentucky legislature to take a role in drafting the change.