A plan allowing people to receive advance notice of whether or not they will qualify for a state-issued occupational license was unanimously approved with bipartisan support by the Michigan House today.
The plan, House Bill 6058, sponsored by state Rep. Scott VanSingel, gives people the option to apply through a state department to learn whether or not their criminal record disqualifies them from obtaining an occupational license before they begin school or before they incur other expenses in furtherance of obtaining a license.
Occupational licensing requirements at the state level create unneeded government red tape. It can be costly and time-consuming for those looking to work in these fields and those who do currently. The process is even more restrictive for those convicted of minor felonies.
“It’s never a practical system if many people who have committed past mistakes – and paid for those mistakes – dedicate a good deal of time and energy into obtaining an occupational license, just to have their application denied after review,” said VanSingel, of Grant. “There needs to be a procedure in place providing people with a preliminary determination of whether or not they would be accepted a state-issued occupational license.”
VanSingel’s plan works in sync with another multi-bill package that moved through the Michigan House making it easier for those with prior, minor criminal convictions to have their applications accepted with the determination they lack good morals.
State regulations often refer broadly to “good moral character” as a requirement for holding a license. In practice, this has often led to those on the licensing board to interpret anyone with a criminal record to be ineligible for occupational licensing.
“Employers will still hire and interview who they choose, but for some people with criminal convictions that are minor in nature, this extra step will allow them to know well beforehand if they are eligible to pursue a certain occupational career field and ultimately provide for their families,” VanSingel said. “Rather than wasting hundreds of dollars through application fees, education and training just to be turned away, people will now have the ability to be given a green light – which I think is the fairness state occupational licensing needs going forward.”
House Bill 6058, now moves to the Senate for consideration.