Michigan Legislators Introduce Bills to Prevent Discrimination Based on Expungement Status

LANSING, Mich., Sept. 7, 2023 — In a move to enhance the transformative effects of Michigan’s Clean Slate laws, state Reps. Kristian Grant (D-Grand Rapids) and Will Snyder (D-Muskegon) introduced two bills to safeguard the rights of individuals with expunged convictions. House Bills 4948 and 4960 would prohibit landlords and employers, respectively, from requesting or requiring disclosure of information on previously expunged convictions.

Michigan’s Clean Slate laws, which came into effect in 2021, have provided thousands of Michiganders with the opportunity to clear their criminal records, granting them better access to housing and employment. The introduction of automatic expungement earlier this year further accelerated the process for many.

“The gap in the existing law poses a risk, potentially allowing bad actors to circumvent the positive impacts of the Clean Slate changes,” Grant said. “Currently, there is no prohibition on requesting disclosure of previously expunged convictions. Such disclosure not only defeats the very purpose of Clean Slate but also negates the benefits gained from having a conviction expunged.”

“We need to ensure that everyone who benefits from expungement actually sees the benefits of having a clean slate,” Snyder said.

The bills would amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and the Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act to prohibit the disclosure of information related to expunged convictions by employers and landlords. The bills aim to strengthen the legal protections for those who have worked hard to erase their past mistakes and are seeking a fresh start.