Safe and Just Michigan - August, 2021

DUI Expungement Bills Clear Legislature

Earlier this month, two bills that pave the way for the expungement of a first-time DUI conviction that didn’t result in a significant injury or fatality completed the legislative process. The Michigan House of Representatives voted to concur with changes the Senate made to House Bills 4219-20 by a strong bipartisan vote of 92-16. Soon after, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signaled that she would sign them into law — a reversal of her decision to pocket veto similar bills last year.

“These bills represent a long-awaited chance for a fresh start for tens of thousands of Michiganders whose opportunities have been limited by a single old DUI conviction,” Safe & Just Michigan Executive Director John S. Cooper said. “Drunk driving is a serious problem in Michigan, but permanently limiting a person’s ability to work and drive based on a one-time, decades-old mistake does not make sense. People who can show that their DUI conviction was a one-time mistake should have an opportunity to make a fresh start.”

These bills represent the first time that a DUI conviction will be expungeable in Michigan. When these bills come into effect in about six months, they will open opportunities to tens of thousands of Michiganders who have a DUI conviction that has held them back from getting good jobs, a safe home, or a good education.

“It’s critically important — and telling — that bills like these have overwhelming bipartisan support,” Cooper said. “We’re especially thankful to the bill sponsors, Reps. Joseph Bellino (R-Monroe) and Tenisha Yancey (D-Detroit), and to other legislative leaders on this issue, such as Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Township) and Graham Filler (R-DeWitt), who were instrumental in moving these bills (and companion bill SB 400) through the Legislature. They understand that they are working on behalf of all the people of Michigan, and it’s the people of the state who will benefit from these reforms.”

SJM to Give Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice the William G. Milliken Award at Annual Meeting

Safe & Just Michigan is excited to announce that Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack is this year’s William G. Milliken Award winner. She will be presented the award at our 2021 Annual Meeting on Thursday, Oct. 14 at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing — and we hope you’ll be there to celebrate with us. Tickets are now available at with two participation options:

In-person tickets are $25 each and include a plated dinner, gift, and an opportunity to network and engage in fellowship with criminal justice advocates from around Michigan. In addition, the first 50 people to purchase an in-person ticket will receive a free Safe & Just Michigan t-shirt to be picked up at the registration table!

Livestream tickets are $10 each and allow you to enjoy the full presentations as they happen without having to worry about finding transportation to Lansing or parking.

Our featured speaker this year will be author Jeff Kozenik, who wrote “Untapped Talent: How Second Chance Hiring Works for Your Business and the Community.” Kozenik is a Princeton University graduate with a degree in economics. He has published articles in Barron’s, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune. He'll be talking about the many benefits of hiring justice-involved employees — and discussing how to encourage other entrepreneurs and hiring managers to give these folks a second chance.

All of us at Safe & Just Michigan know that the work we do is possible only because of the support of people like you. That’s why we truly look forward to being with you at this year’s meeting — whether we get to see you in person, or whether we know you are with us over the Livestream. We don’t want anyone turned away because of ticket prices. We have a limited number of complimentary tickets for those who need help. For more information, please contact us at

Meet SJM’s Newest Staff Member Ronnie Waters

Safe & Just Michigan couldn’t be more pleased to announce that Ronnie Waters, a former juvenile lifer, has joined our staff as a community engagement specialist. He is working with our other community engagement specialist, Rick Speck, to organize community events, reach out to partner organizations, and help formerly incarcerated people and those who have been impacted by the justice system to become more effective advocates for reform.

We invite you to learn more about Ronnie and how he came to become a passionate criminal justice reform advocate by reading a blog post featuring his story at

Visit our website at If you would like to join Safe & Just Michigan’s efforts, please contact us at or sign up for our electronic communications at