Proposed bill would allow for some to expunge criminal records - WNEM TV 5

Proposed bill would allow for some to expunge criminal records

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The capitol building in Lansing. The capitol building in Lansing.

A bill passed Thursday by the Michigan House Criminal Justice committee would allow for the erasure of certain criminal convictions.

The bill was sponsored by State Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes, D-Saginaw. That bill, H.B. 4186, would make criminal records private from the public, but still accessible by law enforcement and judges.

While current law lets some people with certain convictions to ask that it be removed from their records five years after sentencing or prison release, Oakes' bill would expand that option to the following occurrences:

  • Anyone convicted of up to two misdemeanors, excluding drinking and driving related offenses.
  • A single felony conviction, but excluding any lifelong felony convictions, including felony domestic assault and certain traffic offences (OWI).

In 2011, a similar law was passed and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder that allowed people to clear their records of certain crimes committed while the person was less than 21 years of age.

A large reason for the bill's existence is due to work places across the state requiring background checks for employment. Often, misdemeanor convictions can keep a job-seeking person from obtaining employment, and students can be denied financial aid or housing.

According to a National Employment Law Project study completed in 2011, 1 in 4 Americans, or 65 million people, have a criminal record.

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