Bill that keeps DOBs on public records passes the Michigan House

Legislation helps employers, landlords continue background checks, protects public safety

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A bill that would protect hiring, housing placements and public safety is making its way through the Michigan legislature.

A bill that would protect hiring, housing placements and public safety is making its way through the Michigan legislature.

AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

A bill that would protect hiring, housing placements and public safety is making its way through the Michigan Legislature. 

The bill, HB 5368 introduced by Rep. Graham Filler, was passed on Nov. 3  in the Michigan House of Representatives and its purpose is to prohibit the redaction of dates of birth from public records.

Under a new rule, Michigan courts are to remove dates of birth from public records beginning Jan. 1 and the bill aims to keep them on the record.

To urge passage of the bill, the Professional Background Screening Association issued a statement Nov. 12.

“We cannot state strongly enough how harmful this rule will be to hiring and housing placements in Michigan," PBSA wrote in the statement. "By redacting dates of birth (DOBs) from court records, the rule is effectively eliminating the ability of professional background screeners to conduct background checks in the state. If this issue is not addressed, many employers will be forced to halt hiring altogether or look outside of Michigan to fill open positions, and Michigan communities will be less safe."

PBSA continued that the rule would require background screeners to use ICHAT, which is simply not a feasible alternative to searching records at county courts. For instance, it stated:

  • ICHAT does not include local misdemeanors and traffic records. The offenses included are those that are punishable by at least 93 days of incarceration.
  • ICHAT also omits the vast majority of pending cases. Two consumer reporting agencies conducted a study that found that 93% of county charges with a pending case or warrant, including for serious offenses like stalking, embezzlement and assault with a dangerous weapon, did not appear in ICHAT.
  • ICHAT includes some expunged records, which are not legally allowed to be included in a background check and can result in individuals being wrongly denied a job opportunity.

Twelve groups representing employers, landlords and the economic interests of the state have expressed their strong support for this bill, per PBSA.

The bill now advances to the Republican-controlled Michigan Senate for consideration.