Michigan Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Keep Birthdates on Court Records

  • Home
  • Blog
  • News
  • Michigan Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Keep Birthdates on Court Records
Michigan Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Keep Birthdates on Court Records

The Michigan House of Representatives is considering a new rule that could prevent the upcoming ban on background checks. This includes the background checks nearly all employers perform on applicants during the hiring process, which currently will become virtually impossible at the start of next year due to a new rule from the Michigan State Court Administrative Office.

This new law, House Bill 5369 (HB 5369), was introduced in the state’s House of Representatives on October 5th, 2021. HB 5369 would require court records to include the date of birth as a publicly accessible type of personally-identifying information on court records. This will allow firms to continue providing background checks to employers, property managers, and all others.

This is critical to ensure employers can make the best possible decisions when employing workers both to protect themselves from unnecessary liability as well as to protect other workers, property, and the general public. This sentiment was aptly expressed by the bill’s primary sponsor, who pointed to the fact millions of background checks are performed every year in Michigan just for this.

If the rule proposed by the Michigan State Court Administrative Office were to be enacted as it was scheduled to in July of this year before a decision was made to push the date of enactment back to January 1st of 2022, then it would become virtually impossible to perform accurate background checks. This is because the date of birth is used to distinguish between court records of people with the same name.

If two individuals, for instance, shared the same name, then the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is the federal law governing background checks, requires some other form of personally identifying information to be used to tell to whom the record belongs. The best and often only identifier available to screening companies is a date of birth. Without this information, it is often impossible and illegal to narrow a particular record down to a specific individual. 

This would essentially stop background checks altogether, which would have serious consequences for the safety of everyone in Michigan, particularly the most vulnerable populations. It could also reduce the accuracy and speed of background checks even in cases where they could still be performed. At a time when worker shortages are occurring everywhere, it is certainly hard to imagine worse timing.

This newly proposed law will protect this critical component of safe and responsible hiring and rental decisions and help ensure the safety of all in Michigan.