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State Capitol

Legislation Upping Felony Theft Threshold Heads To The House

Stu Johnson

Legislation to up the felony threshold for theft and fraud offenses to $1000 is again heading to the Kentucky House floor.  An identical measure passed the 100 member House last year, but failed to see a Senate vote when coronavirus cut the session short.

Bill Sponsor Ed Massey testified the bill doesn’t reduce accountability, but helps the justice system move along more efficiently. “Does it mean they wouldn’t be sentenced, it does not.  Does it mean they won’t have jail time, it does not.  What this bill is trying to do is to brings numbers up as values of things have increased,” said Massey. 

Salyersville Representative Johnny Blanton said efforts to save money or lower the number of people incarcerated doesn’t make communities safer.  Louisville Representative Kevin Bratcher cast the lone no vote.  He said his district has seen an explosion of petty theft, some activity caught on home security cameras.   “There are roams of young adults walking up and down the street breaking into cars and it’s right there on the camera and they don’t care.  They laugh at the camera,” said Bratcher. 

The legislation contains language to enhance penalties for repeat offenders such as allowing offenses that occur within three months to be aggregated into one offense.

Louisville Representative Jason Nemes said car break-ins are burglaries and are felony crimes not affected by these proposed changes. 

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