For Immediate Release
Sept. 2, 2020
Progress on occupational license reforms offers hope to former offenders
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the House Ways and Means Committee’s passage today of the Good Moral Character Reform Package, House Bills 4488-4493. The statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy External Affairs Director Alex Rossman.
“Reforming various occupational licensing laws to make it easier for individuals with a criminal record to get an occupational license was one of the Michigan League for Public Policy’s top priorities at the start of the 2019-2020 legislative session, and it’s even more pertinent amidst the COVID-19 pandemic—and with only a few months left to pass before the session ends and the bills have to start all over. As COVID-19-related unemployment and economic struggles continue for many workers, any policy changes that can remove barriers to employment for anyone—especially justice-involved individuals—can have a significant, positive impact on working families, local communities and our economy. While 2020 has had little to celebrate, one bright spot has been the continued bipartisan embrace of criminal justice reforms, and we appreciate the Legislature’s action on these bills today and other sound policy improvements like Raise the Age, juvenile and adult criminal record expungement, and more.”
Making it easier for individuals with a criminal record to get an occupational license was a goal of the League’s Owner’s Manual for Michigan proactive agenda released in January 2019, and a key policy recommendation in our May 2019 report, Thriving on the outside: How Michigan can help the formerly incarcerated become gainfully employed.