Senate keeps momentum up on criminal justice, passes reforms to improve access to occupational licenses

For Immediate Release
Dec. 10, 2020

Alex Rossman

House Bills 4488-4492 open up employment opportunities for justice-involved individuals

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Michigan Senate’s passage today of the Good Moral Character Reform Package, House Bills 4488-4492. The statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy External Affairs Director Alex Rossman.

“This has been a banner day for criminal justice reform, and with the passage of House Bills 4488-4492 today, the Senate continued its commitment to better supporting justice-involved Michiganders. For too long, outdated state laws have used the guise of ‘moral character’ to keep a variety of secure and good-paying positions out of reach for residents with a criminal record. And due to longstanding racial inequities in every area of the justice system, these laws have inordinately interfered with Black and Brown residents’ ability to find stable employment. 

“Broadening career opportunities is one of many ways to help all justice-involved individuals build a better life, and today’s action recognizes that redemption and personal growth are as indicative of character as a clear criminal record. The League appreciates this latest bipartisan step to open doors for people and offer true freedom from their past mistakes.”


Making it easier for individuals with a criminal record to get an occupational license was a goal of the League’s Owner’s Manual for Michigan proactive agenda released in January 2019, and a key policy recommendation in our May 2019 report, Thriving on the outside: How Michigan can help the formerly incarcerated become gainfully employed.


The Michigan League for Public Policy,, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.


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