Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) yesterday signed bipartisan criminal record expungement bills aimed at clearing records of crimes legal under the state’s 2018 voter-approved legalization initiative, Fox 47 News reports. The reforms include provisions for expunging certain felonies and misdemeanors.

During a signing ceremony, Whitmer said it was “a historic day in Michigan.”

“These bipartisan bills are a game-changer for people who are seeking opportunities for employment, housing, and more, and they will help ensure a clean slate for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders. This is also an opportunity to grow our workforce and expand access to job training and education for so many people. I am proud to sign these bills today alongside Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist and many of the bipartisan leaders who worked on them.” – Whitmer, during an Oct 11 signing ceremony, via Fox 47

The provisions under House Bills 4980-4985 and 5120 include:

  • An automatic process for expunging eligible misdemeanors after seven years and eligible non-assaultive felonies after 10 years.
  • Expanding the number, and revises the types, of felonies and misdemeanors eligible to be set aside by application.
  • Revises eligibility waiting periods.
  • Treat multiple felonies or misdemeanor offenses arising from the same transaction as a single conviction, provided the offenses happened within 24 hours of one another, are not assaultive crimes, or involving possession or use of a dangerous weapon, or is a crime that carries a penalty of 10 or more years in prison.
  • Expands expungement eligibility to some traffic offenses.
  • Allows a person to petition to set aside one or more cannabis offenses if the offense would not have been a crime if committed after Dec. 6, 2018.

Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield said, “far too many people enter the criminal justice system and end up cut off from those opportunities and are pushed toward a cruel cycle of poverty and crime.”

“That’s not right, and it creates bad outcomes for all of us,” Chatfield said during the bills’ signing. “These bills are an important step to righting that wrong and helping good people who’ve paid their debt get back on their feet. I am glad we were able to find common ground on this important issue and deliver reform that will help people statewide.”

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