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In addition to the board certifying that all the candidate races are now “official,” it also means that the proposed Constitutional Amendment known as Marsy’s Law can take effect, after receiving over 63% approval among Kentucky voters.

Supporters say It ensures the inclusion, participation, and respect of crime victims and their families as they navigate the criminal justice system.  Up until now, Kentucky was one of 15 states that did not protect victims’ rights in its constitution, although the provisions were part of state law.

“More than 1.1 million Kentucky voters resoundingly affirmed the vital importance of providing constitutional-level protections for crime victims,” said Dr. Emily Bonistall Postel, Marsy’s Law for Kentucky director of outreach.  “Today is a truly historic day in our Commonwealth.  At long last, survivors and their families have secured the dignity and voice they deserve within the very system they are counting on to carry out justice.”

Marsy’s Law for Kentucky received support from a broad, bipartisan coalition of state legislators, victim advocates, and community organizations across the state.  Senate Bill 15, sponsored by Senator Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton, was approved by a wide margin during the 2020 General Assembly, 31-6 in the Senate, and 74-15 in the House, placing it before voters.

Westerfield said, “Marsy’s Law for Kentucky will correct the troubling imbalance our current justice system allows, finally giving victims constitutionally protected rights equal to those of the accused and convicted.  Countless elected officials, community leaders, and advocates across the commonwealth have fought for years to ensure that crime victims are given the voice and dignity they deserve, and today that worthy goal has become a reality.”

According to Marsy’s Law for Kentucky, each year, more than 16,000 violent crimes are reported in Kentucky.  Marsy’s Law ensures victims constitutionally guaranteed rights, including the right to be notified, present, and heard in court proceedings.

More information on the measure can be found at https://www.victimsrightsky.com/.

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