House OKs bill to let felony offenders get KEES money

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Legislation to give those convicted of a felony a second chance at being able to use their KEES Scholarship money passed the full House on Wednesday.


Rep. Killian Timoney, R-Lexington, the sponsor of House Bill 25, told his colleagues, “Research has shown us that when people make mistakes, the most effective way for them to not make additional mistakes is by plugging them back into productive measures in society, either through education or employment. This bill allows students access to the KEES money that they’ve earned through their hard work in the classroom and on the ACT.”


Currently, the KEES scholarship money, which could be as much as $1,000 a year, depending on the student’s GPA and ACT score, is forfeited when the intended recipient is convicted of a felony. 


Timoney, a high school teacher in the Payette County Public Schools for nearly 15 years, said sometimes kids make mistakes, and removing this obstacle would open the doors for students across the state who have had felony convictions and want to improve their lives and those of their families.


“Who knows, this bill may help a first-time college attendee, changing their trajectory and the paths of other family or community members in the process.”


Timoney noted a similar bill passed the House 90-0 last year but was a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, which ended the 2020 session before Senate action could occur.


This year, the vote was 96-2. The measure now heads to the Senate.

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