The Michigan House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation co-sponsored by state Rep. Mike Harris that would preserve the Michigan State Police background check program.
Employers and volunteer-based organizations throughout Michigan rely on the service to vet individuals who work closely with children, seniors, and other vulnerable adults.
Harris, a former local police officer, said a change in federal law requires Michigan to update its state laws regarding background checks. If it doesn’t comply by June, the Michigan State Police will lose access to the federal databases it needs to perform the service.
“The Michigan State Police conducts criminal background checks to help protect the most vulnerable Michiganders of all ages, but the system needs updating for our state to continue facilitating this resource,” Harris said. “Our common-sense plan will bring Michigan’s background check system current with federal law so we can keep providing this important public service and preserve public safety.”
House Bill 4045 performs the necessary updates, including the establishment of a new “rap back program” that provides ongoing updates on employees or volunteers. This protects the public if an individual is charged with a dangerous offense after they are hired and eliminates the need to perform repeated background checks on individuals who have ongoing contact with vulnerable people.
The bill passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. It now advances to the Senate for further consideration.
“Ethical questions continue to swirl about Rep. Witwer’s business ties and her actions as a legislator, and now we learn the committee room in her Capitol suite has doubled as an event venue, in violation of House rules,” Harris said.
“Countless Michiganders carry concealed weapons to defend themselves and their families, and unelected commissioners shouldn’t unilaterally take that right away in the Capitol that belongs to the people of our state,” said Harris, R-Waterford.
“These shocking revelations set off alarm bells about Chair Witwer’s business ties and possible conflicts of interest, and they clearly illustrate the need for greater transparency and stronger ethical standards in Michigan government,” said Harris, R-Waterford.