(Tuesday - January 05, 2021) - Gov. Gretchen
Whitmer on Monday signed a series of criminal justice reform bills that
would expand Michigan shields over young offender records, decrease the
number of non-driving-related crimes punishable by a driver's license
suspension and reduce probation and parole in some cases.
legislation, Whitmer said, was born out of the research and
collaboration of the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial
Incarceration, which studied Michigan's criminal justice and jail
systems to determine why the jail population had tripled in fewer than
"This is not reactionary policy - it's thoughtful and
purposeful," said Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake.
"These bills are rooted in data, informed by research, and built on the
consensus and compromise of a diverse group of stakeholders."
The bills signed by Whitmer Monday include seven House bills and a
concurrent resolution that would eliminate some provisions that require
licensing sanctions for non-driving related offenses, including drug
The Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial
Incarceration found last year that the third most common reason people
were in jail in Michigan was because they didn't have a valid driver's
license, in part due to earlier offenses that triggered licensing loss.
Another package of five bills would make changes to law that would
avoid arrests for non-violent offenses and decrease probation and parole
mandatory time periods and conditions.
Specifically, the bills
would allow police to issue an appearance ticket for certain
misdemeanors instead of an arrest, a summons in place of a warrant in
non-assault cases, expedited arraignments for people who voluntarily
report, and a 48-hour grace period between a failure to appear and the
issuance of a bench warrant.
The legislation also would extend
the eligibility age for the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act from 18 to 23
years old, allowing young offenders in some cases to have their
convictions dismissed and files closed to public inspection upon
successful completion of probation.
Another six bills would
reclassify traffic misdemeanors as civil infractions and eliminate
mandatory minimum jail sentences for certain offenses.
criminal justice reforms:
Whitmer on Monday also signed other
criminal justice reform bills that fall slightly outside the
recommendations of the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial
Ten separate bills - the Good Moral Character
Package - adjust sections of Michigan's occupational licensing laws to
place limits on licensing boards or agencies considering "good moral
Essentially, the bills put limits on licensing boards
and agencies from considering past criminal convictions or civil
judgments when considering licensure so the past offenses do not create
undue burdens on licensing opportunities.