Marsy’s Law Amendment Bill (SB 175) Passes Kentucky Senate

For Immediate Release

March 1, 2016

Media Contact

Rachel Bledsoe Albritton


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Legislation allowing Kentucky voters to put victims’ bill of rights in state constitution now headed to the House

FRANKFORT, Ky.Marsy’s Law for Kentucky commends the Kentucky State Senate for passing Senate Bill 175, critical legislation that would give Kentucky voters the opportunity put a victims’ bill of rights in the Kentucky Constitution. 

Although Kentucky offers constitutional level protections to the accused and convicted, the Commonwealth is one of only 18 states that offer no constitutional rights for crime victims.  This creates inherent inequality in our system and ultimately harms those most impacted by crime – victims and their families.

“Today victims all over Kentucky are one step closer to being afforded equal rights in the Kentucky Constitution,” said Kristena Morse, State Director for Marsy’s Law for Kentucky. “Each year thousands of Kentuckians are victims of crime. Today the Senate took a significant stride toward affording those victims the rights they deserve, and we couldn’t be more proud.”

The bill now heads to the Kentucky House of Representatives where we are confident it will receive quick attention. If passed in the House, Senate Bill 175 would put Marsy’s Law on 2016 ballot in November. If voters choose to adopt Marsy’s Law, it would guarantee victims and their families, the: 

  • Right to be treated with fairness and respect for dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice proceedings.
  • Right to be notified of the rights and services available to them.
  • Right to notification of proceedings and other major developments in the criminal case.
  • Right to be notified of changes to the offender’s custodial status.
  • Right to be present at all court proceedings, and the right to provide input to the prosecutor before a plea agreement is reached.
  • Right to be heard at any proceedings or process that may result in an offender’s release.
  • Right to full and timely restitution.

 Senate Bill 175 was passed today with one Senate floor amendment. The amendment clarifies that these rights only apply in a criminal or public offense proceeding, removes the provision that would allow a victim to refuse requests for information, clarifies the venue for enforcement of these rights and modifies the ballot question to refer to “constitutional rights”.

A recent poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Analzone Liszt Grove Research found that there is overwhelming public support for a Marsy’s Law amendment in Kentucky. In fact, 80% of Kentucky voters said they would vote in favor of a Marsy’s Law if it was placed on the ballot in November.

“Today is a great day for those of us at Marsy’s Law for Kentucky and all the victims we are working hard on behalf of, but we know the fight isn’t over,” said Morse. “We urge the House to follow suit and pass this critical legislation.” 

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