Final grade: C+

Exclusion Grade


Relevance Grade


Due Process Grade



  • Boards may only use directly related crimes.
  • Agencies can no longer deny licenses based on the “absence of good moral character.”

Areas of Improvement

  • Ban agencies from using arrest records and old convictions to disqualify applicants.
  • Require boards to consider evidence of rehabilitation.
  • Eliminate rebuttable presumptions for considering initial applications and raise standard of evidence to clear and convincing.

Following a 2017 reform, Kentucky saw its final grade improve to a C+. Kentucky now blocks agencies from denying licenses based on an applicant’s “good moral character,” an arbitrary standard that granted boards far too much discretionary power.

Kentucky does require agencies to bear the burden of proof when determining if an applicant’s criminal record “directly relates to…the license sought.” However, if an applicant has been convicted of a Class A or B felony or a felony that triggered sex offender registration, there instead is a “rebuttable presumption” that those felonies are directly related, effectively shifting the burden of proof onto the applicant.

Statute: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 335B.010 to .70 (West 2017)

Overarching ban on blanket bans Yes
Ban on considering arrest records No
Ban on considering post-conviction relief records No
Time limit No limit
Ban on vague, discretionary character standards Yes
Relationship between the crime and the license sought "Directly relates"
Required factors for consideration
Rehabilitation No
Time elapsed since crime was committed Yes
Age when crime was committed No
Employment History No
Testimonials No
Due Process
Petition Process No, but boards must offer applicants an opportunity to be heard before deciding to disqualify
Burden of Proof Boards carry burden of proof, except for class A or B felonies or felonies that trigger sex offender registration. For those offenses, the applicant must overcome a “rebuttable presumption” that a “connection exists between the prior conviction and the license being sought”
Right to appeal Yes
Written notice requirement Yes