LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Lansing Mayor Andy Schor is trying to remove some barriers to public service.
A charter amendment proposed by Schor would, if approved by five City Council members, allow those previously convicted of felonies to serve as appointees on city boards and commissions.
The Michigan State Constitution disallows any person with a felony conviction from serving as an elected official if the felony occurred within the last 20 years.
This new Charter Amendment would consider volunteer members of Boards of Commissions as elected officials, meaning that anyone with a felony conviction that’s older than 20 years can serve on certain boards.
This charter amendment was proposed after a small business owner applied to be on the Lansing EDC/BRA/TIFA board but was disqualified due to a felony conviction.
“A previous conviction alone should not disqualify someone from serving their city. People can make mistakes, then rehabilitate and become productive members of society within 20 years. These people should be able to serve on city boards and commissions to provide important input. In this case, a small business owner who is active and engaged and excited about making Lansing a vibrant, thriving city was not eligible for a board appointment. He, and anyone else in a similar situation, deserve the chance to apply for appointments and serve this community,” said Mayor Schor. “City government should not automatically disqualify those with past convictions.”
If approved by the City Council, the charter amendment would go to the voters on the November 8, 2022 ballot.