LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — On Monday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a number of bipartisan bills that expand on criminal justice reform in the state.
Some of the bills signed create a clean slate for juvenile offenders, expand on opportunities for entry into professional fields, as well as making certain benefits such as SNAP available to those with a criminal record.
“Despite the challenges 2020 presented, I am proud of the incredible work we have done as a state to reform our criminal justice system,” Whitmer said. “After establishing the bipartisan Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration we were able to make real and meaningful change that will impact the lives of thousands of Michiganders. I am eager to continue to work with the legislature in the new year to create a healthy and strong Michigan.”
- HB 5846, Rep. Bronna Kahle (R, District 57), HB 5847, Rep. Luke Meerman (R, District 88), HB 5849, Rep. Mike Mueller (R, District 51), HB 5850, Rep. Rebekah Warren (D, District 55), HB 5851, Rep. Tenisha Yancey (D, District 1), HB 5852, Rep. Lori Stone (D, District 28), HB 6235, Rep. Cynthia Neeley (D, District 34), and HCR 29, Rep. Beau LaFave (R, District 108) eliminates license suspension for violations of the law unrelated to dangerous driving.
- HB 5853, Rep. Bronna Kahle (R, District 57) reclassifies many traffic misdemeanors as civil infractions.
- HB 5854, Rep. Tim Sneller (D, District 50), HB 5855, Rep. Tommy Brann (R, District 77), HB 5856, Rep. Steven Johnson (R, District 72), HB 5857, Rep. Jack O’Malley (R, District 101), and HB 5844 Rep. Joe Bellino (R, District 17) eliminates mandatory minimum jail sentences in the Motor Vehicle Code, School Code, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Railroad Code, and Public Health Code.
- SB 1046, Sen. Roger Victory (R, District 30) expands law enforcement discretion to issue citations for most misdemeanors and presumes citation in lieu of arrest in many cases.
- SB 1047, Sen. Jeff Irwin (D, District 18) ensures summonses are used for most first-time failures to appear and allows defendants to resolve low-level warrants without being arrested.
- SB 1048, Sen. Sylvia Santana (D, District 3) creates a presumption of a sentence other than jail for most misdemeanors and certain felonies.
- SB 1049, Sen. Stephanie Chang (D, District 1) expands eligibility for deferred judgment of guilt to 24- and 25-year-olds under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act.
- SB 1050, Sen. Michael MacDonald (R, District 10) reduces probation terms, tailors probation conditions to address risks and needs, and caps jail sanctions for technical probation violations.
- SB 1051, Sen. Ed McBroom (R, District 38) tailors parole conditions to address risks and needs.
- House Bills 4488-4492 and Senate Bill 293 comprise the Good Moral Character Package which reforms occupational licensing to expand opportunities for Michiganders post-conviction or post-judgment. The bipartisan bill package would place limits on a Board or Agency responsible for reviewing license applications from considering criminal convictions and civil judgments when determining if an applicant is of "good moral character" so that past convictions and civil judgments would be less likely to serve as a barrier to entry to licensed professions.
- House Bill 4488 limits the situations in which a licensing board may consider criminal convictions and civil actions in determining an applicant’s good moral character. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Kalamazoo).
- House Bill 4489 clarifies that the adjustments made in HB 4488 do not apply to determining “good moral character” for admission to the State Bar of Michigan and that for those purposes, good moral character would be determined by the Board of Law examiners. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Joe Bellino (R- Monroe County).
- House Bill 4490-92 revise the definition of “good moral character” within specific acts to align with the changes in HB 4488. The bills were sponsored by Rep. Michele Hoitenga (R- Manton), Rep. Beth Griffin (R- Mattawan), and Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D- Detroit)
- Senate Bill 293 amends the Occupational Code to require the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to report annually to the legislature regarding applications for occupational licenses that were denied because of an applicant’s lack of good moral character. The bill was sponsored by Senator Jeremy Moss (D- Southfield).
- Senate Bills 681 and 682 comprise the Clean Slate for Kids package which aims to ensure a fresh start for youth exiting the juvenile justice system. The bipartisan bill package would reform Michigan’s juvenile criminal justice laws to seal juvenile court records from public view and create a process to automatically expunge juvenile records for those who don’t commit future offenses.
- Senate Bill 681 allows for expungement of traffic offenses for juveniles and automatic expungement for certain offenses committed by juvenile. The bill was sponsored by Senator Jeff Irwin (D- Ann Arbor).
- Senate Bill 682 makes juvenile court records nonpublic beginning January 1, 2021, as well as expands the categories of people deemed to have a “legitimate interest” and therefore eligible to see closed court hearings and nonpublic documents. The bill was sponsored by Senator Peter Lucido (R- Shelby Twp.).Governor Whitmer also signed the following criminal justice reform legislation into law:
- Senate Bill 1006 amends the Social Welfare Act to allow individuals who committed a drug-related offense, or have outstanding warrants for such offenses, to access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other food assistance t. Senator Jim Ananich (D- Flint).
- Senate Bill 700 requires the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act limit the use of secure juvenile detention facilities for status offender. The bill also adjusts the list of offenses for which a juvenile may be detained pending a hearing, removing the status offense of running away from home and adding the violation of a court order. The bill was sponsored by Senator Sylvia Santana (D- Detroit).
- Senate Bill 893 amend the Youth Rehabilitation Services Act to change citations to the law to reflect changes in Senate Bill 700. The bill was sponsored by Senator Sylvia Santana (D- Detroit).
- Senate Bill 894 amend the Juvenile Boot Camp Act to change citations to the law to reflect changes in Senate Bill 700. The bill was sponsored by Senator Sylvia Santana (D- Detroit).
Additional bills signed by Gov. Whitmer include: