Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Included in this edition are some important legislative and COVID-19 updates, along with a few resources I hope will prove helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-1788 or email at KyraBolden@house.mi.gov for questions about this or any other state-level issue.
State Representative, 35th House District
Clean Slate Clean Up Package
Last session, the Michigan Legislature passed a comprehensive reworking of Michigan’s expungement laws, broadening access and providing relief to hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens, affording them opportunities for better employment and dignity. As with any major initiative, there are ideas for corrections and improvements that have surfaced since the passage of these bills.
I joined several colleagues to introduce a bipartisan bill package aimed at strengthening and building on the successes of that expungement work. The following is a summary of those bills:
- Clarifying that the time period required to have elapsed to be eligible for expungement starts from the date of the individual’s most recent conviction. There have been issues with the current statute being misinterpreted and individuals being denied expungement, so this bill clarifies that timeline.
- Prohibiting the publishing of arrest records in ICHAT. Law enforcement is able to track arrest record information in the law enforcement information network (LEIN). Since an arrest in of itself is not a record of criminal activity, only convictions should be publicly available information, not arrests.
- Requiring notification of expungement options at sentencing. This will ensure that individuals are aware of their expungement eligibility prior to serving their sentence.
- Requiring notification of automatic expungement. Automatic expungement goes into effect later this year, and this bill will ensure individuals are notified if they have something expunged via that process.
- Prohibiting employers from asking about expungement status.
- Prohibiting landlords from asking about expungement status.
Firearm Felony Changes
On March 10, I joined my colleague state Rep. Luke Meerman in introducing House Bills 5908 and 5909. This bipartisan package would reform the mandatory two-year consecutive sentences for a first conviction on a felony firearm charge.
The bipartisan legislation would provide a more in-depth definition for “use” of a firearm during the commission of a felony — “use” being defined as pulling the trigger, brandishing the weapon or pointing the weapon at another person. Under the proposed changes, the offense would still be punishable by a two-year mandatory consecutive sentence. For those who simply possess but do not use a firearm and are charged with a separate felony, the proposed legislation allows judges to sentence someone for up to two additional years for a first offense.
New Opportunities for Downtown Development
I am very pleased to share that HB 5062 was signed by Gov. Whitmer! This bill would make some minor changes to the Michigan Liquor Control Code to clarify the definition of “redevelopment” to incentivize economic growth in our downtown development districts.
COVID-19 Updates & Resources
COVID-19 Vaccine Help
If you know someone who doesn’t have access to the internet and they’re eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine or need help with vaccine translation services, call 2-1-1 and press ‘5’ for free, confidential assistance.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines specifically in Oakland County, go to https://www.oakgov.com/covid/Pages/default.aspx. This website also has resources for testing and FAQ about COVID-19 as well.
Michigan Families Urged to Get Children Caught Up On Vaccines in Recognition of National Infant Immunization Week
Each year, National Infant Immunization Week focuses on the positive impacts of vaccination on the lives of infants and children — and this year it’s a priority to ensure that families stay on track for routine checkups and vaccinations following disruptions from COVID-19.
On-time vaccination is critical to help provide protection against potentially life-threatening diseases. During National Infant Immunization Week, April 24-30, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services urges parents to ensure their children are fully vaccinated on time for the best possible protection from serious diseases.
Oakland County Michigan Works! launches Oakland80 Tuition Scholarship Program
Oakland County Michigan Works! has launched the Oakland80 Tuition Scholarship program to help eligible residents obtain the skills needed to flourish in a range of high-demand careers.
More than 650 tuition scholarships are available, each worth up to $2,000, with the possibility of additional funding through Oakland County Michigan Works!
Friday, April 22, was Earth Day. This is an annual celebration of environmental action and awareness promoting the sustainability of our planet. This year’s Earth Day theme is “Invest in Our Planet” — investing in our planet means investing in our future. Although Earth Day is only celebrated one day a year, we encourage you to practice sustainability all year around.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This issue is sadly all too common, and we must all do our part to understand and prevent sexual assault in our society. This month, let us educate ourselves and give space for survivors to tell their stories and support them in their time of need. You can learn more about this issue and how you can help by clicking on this link: