Proposal to guarantee victims’ rights clears House panel

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A proposal aimed at amending Kentucky’s Constitution to guarantee rights for crime victims has cleared another hurdle in the General Assembly.

The measure was approved by the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee on Monday. If it passes the Democratic-led House, the measure would be placed on the November ballot in Kentucky. The proposal has already passed the Republican-controlled Senate.

The measure’s lead sponsor, Republican Sen. Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville, says it seeks to put victims’ rights on the “same legal footing” as the rights of criminal defendants.

The proposal would ensure crime victims are given “timely notice” of all proceedings involving their alleged offenders. It also would ensure victims are allowed to comment in any proceedings involving release, plea bargains, sentencing and parole of the offenders.