A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ashlea Christianson: Marsy’s Law becomes first bill to pass in legislature, to appear on ballot this fall

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What a great way to start 2018! In just 15 short days, the Kentucky General Assembly worked together in a bi-partisan manner to make Marsy’s Law – a constitutional bill of rights for crime victims – the very first bill to pass through the legislature during this session. The message that sends to Kentuckians is clear: We hear you and agree that crime victims deserve Constitutional protection.
 
On behalf of the hundreds of organizations and more than 40,000 individual Kentuckians who have supported Marsy’s Law, I say thank you to every legislator who voted for passage.
 
 

Ashlea Christiansen

There’s no question Marsy’s Law has had incredible momentum and bi-partisan support. Swift passage out of the Kentucky legislature was a huge milestone, but our work is far from over. In November, Kentucky voters will be called upon to do our part in establishing a Victims’ Bill of Rights in the state constitution. Each and every one of our votes will count for crime victims.
 
If Marsy’s Law is passed, crime victims will be granted constitutional protection…the same level of legal protection as the accused. Specifically, they will be given the right to have notice of court proceedings, to be present at court proceedings, to be heard at plea and release hearings, to receive reasonable protection from the accused and to be given restitution and due process. These are commonsense guarantees that anyone would expect if they became a victim.
 
I want to sincerely thank the brave survivors who selflessly told their stories in front of legislators and the media, and the many organizations from across Kentucky that joined us in calling for Marsy’s Law. Your stories and voices are an ongoing testament to the importance of these constitutional rights. I also want to thank the 40,000 Kentuckians who have made their voices heard in Frankfort. Your tireless efforts are certainly paying off and are the reason we are celebrating this important victory.
 
Now, we need your help more than ever to ensure Marsy’s Law becomes a reality in 2018. We need your continued support to spread the word about Marsy’s Law. We need you to tell your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers why crime victims must have guaranteed, enforceable rights.
 
Tell those in your community to VOTE YES when they see the following question on the ballot this November: “Are you in favor of providing constitutional rights to victims of crime, including the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect, and the right to be informed and to have a voice in the judicial process?”
 
As of today, 35 other states already provide constitutional rights for their crime victims; Kentucky is currently not one of them. This November, on Election Day, let’s unite together – just as our legislature did – and show the rest of the country that in Kentucky we support crime victims. We support Marsy’s Law.
 
Ashlea Christiansen is Marsy’s Law for Kentucky State Director.

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