On Monday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of bills to reform the process of erasing prior criminal convictions. The six-part “Clean Slate” bills passed Michigan lawmakers last month.
This is a historic day in Michigan. These bipartisan bills are a game-changer for people looking for job opportunities, housing, and so on, and will help put the past behind us for hundreds of thousands of our citizens,” the governor said. “It is also an opportunity to grow our workforce and expand access to skills training and education for so many people. I am proud to sign these bills today alongside Lieutenant-Governor Gilchrist and many of the leaders who worked on them.
In particular, the bills allow the annulment of previous convictions for cannabis-related offenses that are no longer offenses since its legalization in the state. Michigan voters voted to legalize cannabis in 2018, and legal retail sales began late last year.
They also include :
- An automatic process to erase eligible offenses after seven years and eligible non-aggressive crimes after 10 years.
- An increase in the number and types of crimes and misdemeanors eligible for cancellation upon request
- A review of eligibility waiting periods
- Treating several crimes or offenses arising from the same transaction as a single conviction under certain conditions
- Cancellation of one or more cannabis offenses if the offense is no longer a crime as of December 6, 2018.
Lieutenant-Governor Garlin Gilchrist said the bills would help reduce the collateral damage associated with minor criminal convictions and provide economic opportunities for former offenders.
This anti-poverty and pre-employment legislation will boost the economic potential of hundreds of thousands of Michiganders whose backgrounds have hindered their availability for employment or secure housing, and it will help us develop our workforce,” Gilchrist said.
This is the right thing to do on behalf of people around the world who deserve another chance and will help improve their livelihoods. There is still work to be done, but Michigan has now established itself as a leader in removing barriers to economic opportunity for people who have made mistakes. I will continue to advocate on behalf of all Michiganders who need help.