Louisville, KY (WAVE) – Greater Louisville Inc. and Brown-Forman hosted a press conference Monday morning supporting Representative Darryl Owens' House Bill 40. The bill would allow for expungement of non-violent Class D felonies.
Tens of thousands of Kentuckians are at one time convicted of non-violent felonies, a conviction that could continue to hold sentencing far beyond paying the debt. House Bill 40 is hoping to change that. Representative Owens says the bill would allow those who were convicted of class D felonies who have not reoffended in 5 years to apply for the court to have that record expunged.
Without these records expunged, city leaders say it sets employees and businesses back.
"You can go through an entire hiring process, find the individual that you really want to have to work with you, you pull the record, it's flagged for a class D felony, it might be a 30 year old drug arrest it hasn't been expunged, you're not allowed to hire them," GLI President and CEO Kent Oyler said.
Rebecca Collett was convicted of drug trafficking when she was 20. She says she served her time, received treatment, has been sober for 8 years and still finds the mistake haunts her.
"Whether it was housing, education or especially employment," Collett said. "My criminal record always got in the way. I was turned down in every interview."
Collett says what hurts her even more is she is unable to volunteer at her children's school because she's a convicted felon.
"My kids are my life, I would love being able to sign that form saying, 'yeah I will come in and I will be there for them,'" Collett said. "The PTA meetings, I've dreamed of doing stuff like that. They deserve that."
Rebecca is about to finish her master's degree to be a social worker and says if these types of non-violent felonies (like DUI, drug arrests and shoplifting) are expunged it would strengthen the economy and get people who want to work in good jobs.