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Michigan groups unite to urge passage of criminal justice reforms before year’s end

18 new and proposed bills passes State House

LANSING, Mich. – “We are, so excited about this coalition, and we’re excited about these reforms. They prove that when people work together, they make genuine real process in Lansing,” said Kimberly Buddin.

Buddin, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, said the real process is coming to light, “I also want to thank Speaker Chatfield, Majority Leader Shirkey, Chairman Fuller and Chairman Lucido, and the more than Republicans and Democrats who already cast their votes for this legislation.”

We’re talking about 18 new and proposed bills as apart of the Justice Reform package. Thursday, several organizations -- like Americans for Prosperity, the ACLU of Michigan, Safe and Just Michigan and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy -- presented the Justice Reform Package to the State House and Senate.

They addressed key and important issues like driver’s license suspensions, mandatory minimum sentencing, case initiation, sentencing, probation, racial justice and fairness.

“Right now in Michigan, hundreds of Misdemeanors are not eligible for citations. That means officers are limited in their discretions and have to arrest individuals that they come into contact with,” Buddin said. “We also know, that pretrial jails, suspended licenses, and mandatory minimum licenses dramatically and disproportionately impact Michigan minority communities.”

And it’s getting support from both sides of aisle, “So believe it or not, progressives and conservatives, we can find that common ground, and when it comes to criminal justice reforms here in Michigan, we have,” said Annie Patnaude with Michigan State Director for Americans for Prosperity.

The State House approved the package, now they move on to the Senate.

“The Senate bills have only passed out of the Senate committees, they’re still waiting for a floor vote, and then they have to go all the way back over to the house, for a committee hearing, a vote and to the floor for a vote as well,” said Patnaude.

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