Michigan House OKs Bills To Expand Expungement Of Crimes

WWJ News
November 05, 2019 - 7:35 pm
gavel and handcuffs

LANSING (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan House has passed legislation that would overhaul expungement laws to make it easier for hundreds of thousands of people to clear their criminal record.

House Bills 4980-85 and 5120, approved with bipartisan support Tuesday, would expand who qualifies for expungement and allow marijuana offenses to be set aside if they wouldn't have been a crime following voters' legalization of the drug for recreational use last year. Certain convictions could qualify for automatic expungements, and the waiting period to apply would be shortened.

State Representatives Isaac Robinson and Jewell Jones, who introduced the legislation, have said it's about removing job and housing barriers and the stigma associated with a criminal record. 

Supporters say too many people are being held back due to past mistakes, and there are barriers to getting convictions set aside.

A main bill - allowing for automatic expungement - passed 95-13.

The legislation now move to the Senate for consideration.

Legislators it could expunge the records of about 235,000 Michiganders with non-violent felonies or low-level marijuana convictions.

Since December 6, 2018, it has been legal for Michigan residents and visitors to have up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of marijuana on them and up to 10 ounces (284 grams) at home, but stores have not yet opened as regulators continue to work on licensing. The sales will be taxed, 10 percent on top of the six percent sales tax, with the tax dollars going to schools, roads and cities where the sales take place.

It remains illegal to use marijuana in a public place or to drive under the influence.