Michigan’s public transit service providers can now perform full background checks on prospective drivers to better protect children and senior citizens under reform legislation signed into lawTuesday afternoon by the governor, state Rep. Matt Huuki announced.
Public Act 341 of 2012, authored by Huuki, allows private and public transportation providers to perform fingerprinting and background checks for prospective applicants who would serve vulnerable populations such as children, seniors and people with disabilities.
“This important new law helps better protect everyone who uses public or private transit, especially those who may be vulnerable, such as children,” said Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine. “School bus drivers are already required to undergo background checks, and parents should feel just as safe in allowing their kids to take a bus elsewhere if necessary. I want to thank my colleagues and the governor for supporting this important public safety measure.”
The new law allows the Michigan State Police to conduct a full background check, but limits transit authorities from only considering certain criminal offenses when making hiring decisions. Those offenses include criminal sexual conduct; felony assault or battery; felonious assault on a child, and child abuse or indecent exposure involving a child.
Vicki White, director of Ontonagon County Public Transit, brought the issue to Huuki’s attention. She also traveled to Lansing to testify in support of the legislation during the committee process. The legislation received unanimous bipartisan support in both the full House and Senate.
“The Legislature worked together to help create sound policy that better protects the public while safeguarding the inherent rights of applicants,” Huuki said. “It’s important to point out that this is not a mandate, and transit companies are free to use their discretion when selecting prospective applicants.”
This is the eleventh bill sponsored by Huuki that has been signed into law, making him one of the most effective freshman lawmakers in the Michigan House.
Huuki can be reached toll free at 1-888-663-4031; by fax, 517-373-9303; by email, firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail at P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48933; or through his website, www.repmatthuuki.com.