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Michigan bills aim to help parolees land jobs

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - New legislation in Lansing is designed to help inmates find a job when they leave prison.

The bills would let Michigan certify felons' skills and character to help them during the job application process. The "certificate of employability" could go to parolees based on their criminal history, institutional behavioral record, and vocational and educational training.

Republicans and a Democrat launched the initiative last week alongside business leaders and ex-felons at an Ionia prison. Lawmakers hope to encourage the business community to give parolees a chance because they might end up behind bars again without a job.

The legislation would let businesses use the certificate as evidence of due care in hiring and give them immunity in lawsuits alleging negligent hiring. Sponsors of the bills are hoping for a hearing within weeks.

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