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Clean Slate Act measure gives Kentuckians 'second chance to rebuild lives'

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The Clean Slate Act was introduced by Sen. Brandon Storm, R-London, on Friday in a bicameral effort to establish an automatic expungement process for specific eligible misdemeanor and felony convictions in Kentucky.

Rep. Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, also filed The Clean Slate Act in the state House of Representatives.

Studies show approximately 10 percent of eligible individuals will have their records expunged, according to a release from Goodwill Industries, one of several organizations that have signed onto the Clean Slate initiative.To be eligible, individuals must complete five years post-conviction without committing another offense and satisfy all other conditions imposed upon them at sentencing. Clean Slate Act advocates point to the expungement process as being long, confusing, inefficient and expensive.

Storm's and Bratcher's Clean Slate Act legislation would facilitate the expungement of certain records and ultimately limit the clerical work for the Kentucky State Police and local offices. It is another measure in the Kentucky General Assembly's effort to address workforce challenges.

"I filed this legislation to give individuals a second chance by automating the expungement process for certain eligible offenses," Storm said. "Every Kentuckian deserves a second chance to rebuild their lives--especially those who have paid their debt to society--so they can reintegrate into society, their families, and our workforce."

Storm, a criminal law attorney, believes we must support their reintegration without imposing additional obstacles on their path to success. According to a 2019 study by the University of Michigan cited in a release from Goodwill Industries, individuals who secure expungements demonstrate notably reduced reoffending rates compared to the general population.

This observation gains particular significance when considered alongside a recent report from the RAND Corporation, indicating that certain demographic groups, such as younger, male, and economically disadvantaged individuals, typically exhibit higher initial rates of offending.

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