FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A bill that would require automatic expungement of acquittals and dismissals of criminal charges under Kentucky law has passed the House Judiciary Committee.
House Bill 327 would require automatic expungement in eligible cases per court orders entered after the legislation takes effect, should it become law. Those eligible for expungement under the bill would be able to request that the acquittal or dismissal remain on their record, while individuals with past acquittals and dismissals would be allowed to petition the court for expungement at no cost to them.
Expungement of felony charges that do not result in an indictment after one year of being held over to a grand jury would be allowed at a court’s discretion.
HB 327 sponsor Rep. Kevin D. Bratcher, R-Louisville, told the committee that his bill “corrects something that I certainly did not know was going on and I’ll bet you that most of your constituents don’t know,” referring to the absence of automatic expungement for acquittals and dismissals under current state law.
Among those testifying alongside Bratcher was Charles Aull of Greater Louisville Inc., the Louisville Metro area’s Chamber of Commerce. Aull said HB 327—which, he stated, also has the support of the Kentucky Chamber among other organizations—would remove barriers “to work and to increasing labor force participation.”
When asked by Rep. McKenzie Cantrell, D-Louisville, what filing fee would be required for those who must still petition for expungement, Aull said there is none. That response was followed by a comment from House Judiciary Chair Jason Petrie, R-Elkton.
“If the Commonwealth has brought all its resources to bear against an individual, and fell short of a conviction, then why should that (person) … do much of anything to correct the Commonwealth’s shortfall,” Petrie said.
HB 327 passed the committee by a vote of 22-0-0. It now goes to the full House for consideration.