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.
State Rep. Joe Bellino and a group of House Republican lawmakers this week announced a plan aimed at giving the people of Michigan more certainty and control by allowing for data-driven COVID-19 responses that reflect conditions in local communities.
Since Michigan students were sent home at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March, the question arose: What would fall look like for our schools? What would students and teachers face in a new academic year? It was a question in Michigan and all across the country.
“This was a major step in the right direction for Michiganders throughout the state,” Bellino said. “My colleagues and I stand ready to work with the governor in the best interests of our families, from Wayne and Monroe counties all the way to the Upper Peninsula. We are strong here in Michigan, and we will get through the rest of this pandemic together.”
State Rep. Joe Bellino, of Monroe, today joined his colleagues in approving a bipartisan plan for the state’s Fiscal Year 2021 K-12 budget – one that won’t raise taxes or grow state government.