Sen. Whitney Westerfield, photo LRC
FRANKFORT--A constitutional crime victims' "bill of rights" amendment edged closer to this fall's statewide election ballot with today's final passage of a bill proposing the change.
Senate Bill 3--widely known as Marsy's Law--sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, will place the proposed amendment before voters this November. Kentucky currently has crime victims' rights listed in statute, but not in the state's constitution.
Some of the rights that would be added to the constitution with the passage of the proposed amendment are the right to notice of proceedings, the right to reasonable protection from the accused, and the right to legal "standing," which would give victims the constitutional right to assert their rights in court.
Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville, said the rights that crime victims now have in statute are limited. Constitutional rights for victims would help level the field between victims and accused criminals, who already have constitutional-protected rights, he said.
"Senate Bill 3 would let the voters of Kentucky decide," whether crime victims should have their own constitutional rights, said Blanton.
SB 3 received final passage by a vote of 87-3 in the House after passing the Senate 34-1 earlier this month. Proposed constitutional amendments in Kentucky require approval of three-fifths of the members of the House and Senate.
The proposed amendment now goes to the Office of the Secretary of State to be prepared for the November ballot.
Marsy's Law is named for Marsy Nicholas, a California college student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Marsy's laws have passed in at least six states to date.