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Politics & Government

Criminal justice system changes continue to move through state Legislature

prison bars

Lawmakers at the state Capitol have made changing the state’s criminal justice system a priority this session.

Two packages of bills are close to the governor’s desk – with crucial votes taking place earlier this week.

One bill package would raise the age for when a person is automatically considered an adult for certain crimes from age 17 to 18. Some counties have raised concerns about the costs of making the change.

Senator Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) is a bill sponsor. He says they’re working with counties to alleviate some of their concerns.

“Why is it that we are lagging behind and we’re one of four states that still has this archaic – this law that shouldn’t be on the books. Bipartisan support from each side of the aisle can only mean one thing, good policy,” he says.

Another bill package would change the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws. Representative David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids) is a sponsor of the legislation. He says it’s aimed at preventing police from taking small amounts of property without a high level of evidence.

“We have low level takings that people don’t fight because of the cost of getting a lawyer to fight them. And so we can’t really sort between who was a drug dealer and who just happened to have $300 in their pocket,” he says.

LaGrand says the Legislature also plans to work on changes to the state’s law for removing convictions from people’s records.