Rep Joseph Bellino
House approves Rep. Bellino’s plan helping Michiganders obtain steady employment
RELEASE|September 10, 2020

The Michigan House today unanimously approved Rep. Joe Bellino’s bipartisan plan to help with the rehabilitation of former offenders and assist them in finding gainful, steady employment while assuming the responsibility of citizenship.

Bellino’s measure, part of a six-bill plan, would remove barriers that now prevent people with certain low-level, previous offenses from qualifying for jobs that require occupational licenses. The legislation establishes criteria that would allow more people to qualify for licensure under “good moral character” provisions outlined in state law.

 “This is about helping people get back on a path that allows them to support themselves and their families financially and contribute to their local communities with purpose,” Bellino said. “These are rehabilitated, hard-working people who are looking to overcome their past mistakes. They’re hungry to prove people wrong, but all too often quickly realize the cards are stacked against them when they look for employment opportunities. These are good-faith bills that will reduce Michigan’s recidivism rates and lead to greener pastures for those deserving of a second chance.”

 Roughly 77 million Americans, or one out of every three adults, have a criminal record according to the National Council of State Legislatures. This often makes it difficult to find work that requires an occupational license – particularly in Michigan, where the current process for reviewing “good moral character” is vague and often automatically excludes people with any past criminal conviction.

  “Not having access to steady employment is what most Michiganders – especially those providing for their families – fear most,” Bellino said. “It’s time we stop preventing qualified, able-bodied and rehabilitated people from having the opportunity to pursue work and live a successful life moving forward.”

 House Bills 4488-4493 now move to the Senate for consideration.

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