Key criminal justice reform addresses occupational licensing for certain offenders
Legislation from state Rep. Michele Hoitenga to help rehabilitate former offenders and assist them in finding gainful, steady employment has been signed into law by the governor.
Rep. Hoitenga’s measure, which was part of a multi-bill bipartisan plan, removes barriers that prevented people with certain low-level, previous offenses from qualifying for jobs that require occupational licenses. The proposals establish defined criteria that would allow more people to qualify for licensure under “good moral character” provisions outlined in state law – rather than turning them away.
“This plan allows for people with low-level offenses on their records to re-enter society successfully and support themselves and their families through a steady living,” said Hoitenga, of Manton. “These were never meant to be life sentences, but too often we see people who are looking to overcome their past mistakes not be able to do so because there is too much red tape in their way. This is a practical update that makes our state healthier in the long run.”
Roughly 77 million Americans, or one out of every three adults, have a criminal record, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. This often makes it difficult to find work that requires an occupational license – particularly in Michigan, where the current process for reviewing “good moral character” is vague and often automatically excludes people with any past criminal conviction.
Hoitenga’s bill, House Bill 4490, previously was approved by the Michigan House and Senate in unanimous fashion.
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