As an advocate for helping people with criminal records seek the legal criminal expungement process to help clear their criminal past, I have been asked by several people over the past few month’s the same question: Where are we at with the passing of House Bill 4186?
For those who may not know, currently in Michigan, a person who has a misdemeanor or felony conviction on their record, along with multiple additional misdemeanor offenses is ineligible for an expungement if the previous misdemeanor offenses occurred after their 21st birthday. For example, a person who was convicted of a misdemeanor offense at age 21, then subsequently convicted of a felony at age 30 (or vice versa) is ineligible for a criminal expungement.
House Bill 4186 eliminates this by allowing a person with a felony on their record to still seek an expungement so long as they 1) have no more than two (2) misdemeanor convictions, and 2) qualify with all of the requirements of HR 4186, regardless of their age at the time the misdemeanor offenses occured. The reasoning behind the introduction of HR 4186 was to help stimulate Michigan’s economy by potentially allowing a larger sector of individuals who once would not have qualified for most jobs due to their criminal record to once again join and strengthen the workforce. To read more about the pros and cons of House Bill 4186 click below:
My issue with the Michigan Legislature rests with the complete inaction on their part to move this bill forward to a vote. House Bill 4186 was originally introduced on February 5, 2013 by Rep. Stacy Oakes. On May 7, 2013 a summary of the bill was drafted, followed by an analysis completed on May 28, 2013. Since May 28th virtually no actions have been taken on HR 4186. The question remains as to why this bill has lost its steam in the legislature with no legislative action taken in over six months?
As someone who studied Political Science and the legislative process as an undergraduate student in college, I understand that many legislative proposals will often die in the house without ever seeing the possibility of reaching a vote. I also know that the legislative process is one that does not happen overnight and tends to move at its own pace. However, when faced with the public and political outcry HR 4186 initially received by persons who believed that “criminals” should not get second,third, and fourth chances to redeem themselves, makes me wonder if this proposed bill has succumbed to outside pressure and political influences.
If so, then why spark the interests of many persons who at last may finally see a glimpse of hope in their future with the potential of one day finally finding themselves eligible to pass an employer’s background check. Or even the many employers who throughout the years who have welcomed rehabilitated offenders to work in their stores and places of business, but now have to wait for legislators to decide “if” they want to act and move forward with this bill. At this point, I demand that the Michigan Legislature either move forward with a resolution of HR 4186 or get off the pot and let other ideas surface to hopefully seek the legislative outcome that HR 4186 intended to have.
I thank Rep. Stacey Oakes for leading the charge in the the introduction of this bill, but now it maybe time for “we the people” to voice our own opinions to seek the change we desire to see. What do you think?