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Legislative Update: Social Districts and Expungement Bills

June 24, 2020

After a long session day today, the Legislature will break until the third week of July. During that time, work on the budget will continue. Before breaking, the Legislature met in Lansing on a number of issues, including the following:

Social Districts Allowing Open Alcoholic Beverages – Michigan Legislature Approved Bills

The Michigan Senate and the House of Representatives have passed social district Bills that are now headed to the Governor for signing.  The Chamber’s government relations team has been supportive of the package through committees, which would allow liquor to be purchased to-go and authorize local governments to approve ‘social districts,’ where restaurants and bars who follow certain licensing rules and safety protocols would expand their establishment into closed city streets in order to allow for social distancing that would increase business.

Creating special social districts is a little bit more complicated though. Following the package passing through the Legislature, the Liquor Control Commission would still need to establish a licensing process.

Then designating the social district would fall to the local government, providing for local control and adding a layer of approvals after the Legislature acts.

Expungement Package Expected to Be Approved this Week

A “clean slate” package was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support, is expected to be voted on by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee this week. The Chamber’s government relations team has supported this package through the process along with a broad “clean slate” coalition.

These bills have the opportunity to open up the expungement process to many Michigan residents who struggle to find a job because of their past criminal records as well as open up eligibility for a number of low-level offenses such as traffic offenses that are ineligible under the current expungement law.

Research shows that expanding expungement means massive economic benefits. Annually, the underemployment of formerly incarcerated people costs the nation between $78 billion and $87 billion in gross domestic product. Within two years of receiving an expungement, a person’s likelihood of being employed increases significantly, and their personal income increases by 25 percent. With a stable career, returning citizens are able to support themselves and their families while being productive members of society.

The package would remove qualified non-violent offenses from criminal records. View an extensive list of offenses included.