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Prior felony records are no longer a barrier to serving on Lansing boards and commissions

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People with previous felony records will be able to serve on City of Lansing boards and commissions. That’s after voters approved a charter amendment Tuesday.

The win means a person with a prior felony conviction within the last 20 years won’t be barred from being appointed or becoming a member of a board, commission or committee.
Mayor Andy Schor supported the amendment. He said the passage shows Lansing is progressive and proves it's a city of second chances.

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Ingham County Clerk
Screenshot shows Nov. 8 election results for the City of Lansing's charter amendment to allow people with previous felonies to serve on boards and commissions.

“It doesn’t always mean that things are going to turn out great, you know, it doesn’t mean that we’re going to let people run loose, and they get free opportunities but it means that we’re willing to listen, and consider and give people a second chance if they have reformed and want to be productive members of society,” he said.

The amendment, Schor said, means some applicants will no longer be automatically excluded because they had a bad day 20 years ago.

“I would hope that more people would apply, and hope that more people would bring unique experiences to the recommendations made by these boards and I think it will be a positive,” he said

Schor said background checks are still required and individuals will have to be a good fit for the role.

The amendment doesn’t change provisions that bar people with prior felonies from running for or holding elected offices.

Melorie Begay is WKAR-FM's weekend host and a general assignment reporter.
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