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Hundreds of thousands more Michiganders will become eligible to have their criminal records wiped clean under legislation signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday.
Research indicates the package will have a sweeping impact on people who often struggle to get better jobs, higher wages and secure housing as they carry a criminal record despite years of good behavior.
“For too long, criminal charges have created barriers to employment, barriers to housing and others for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders. These bipartisan bills are going to be a game-changer,” Whitmer said.
“When we help people get a good job so they can put a roof over their head, it is good for our state. It is good for our families, our small businesses and our economy as a whole. It’ll bring down the recidivism rate even more. And most importantly, it’s the right thing to do.”
The multi-bill package passed both chambers of the state Legislature with bipartisan support. While it’s not clear how many more people will be eligible for record clearing under the new law, some have estimated it will more than double the existing eligibility poll.
The most significant bill is the Clean Slate legislation, which would automatically clear records of those who don’t commit another crime. Now, people have to apply to have records clean in a process that is often costly and confusing.