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111212-politics-brian-banks-convicted-felon-detroit-elected-state-legislatureLANSING –When the state Legislature convenes Wednesday, one new member could face a challenge to being seated.

Brian Banks, a Harper Woods Democrat, is an eight-time felon convicted of a series of financial crimes, including writing bad checks and credit card fraud between 1998 and 2004.

House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, is deliberating over whether a challenge should be raised to seating Banks, said Ari Adler, Bolger’s spokesman.

On Nov. 6, Banks won his district, which includes northeast Detroit, Harper Woods, Grosse Pointe Woods and part of Grosse Pointe Shores, with 71% of the vote.

The election followed reports in the Free Press and other news media outlets about Banks’ criminal record, as well as reports about other financial problems and bounced checks as recently as within the last 12 months.

“The voters of District 1 have spoken,” Banks said Friday. “They’re aware of my past. I look forward to being seated on Wednesday.”

Banks said earlier that he is a changed man since he was last convicted of a felony more than eight years ago.

Asked about reports of more bounced checks on Harper Woods rental properties as recently as the last 12 months, which resulted in civil litigation,

Banks said: “All issues have been addressed.”

In 2010, Michigan voters barred felons with a conviction involving fraud or dishonesty in the last 20 years from holding state office if the crime was related to the officeholder’s official capacity.

The Michigan Constitution allows either chamber to expel a member by a two-thirds vote.

The last known case of either chamber refusing to seat a member was 1965, when the House refused to seat Detroit Democrat Daniel West. He had already served one term in the House when shortly after the 1964 election a detective came forward to say West’s fingerprints matched those of a felon who had served time for burglary, larceny and forgery.

Read the full article in The Detroit Free Press


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