Attempts to weaken minimum wage and sick leave laws declared unconstitutional in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An effort by Republicans in the Michigan Legislature to weaken minimum wage and sick leave laws has been declared unconstitutional.

A judge threw out changes made late in 2018 as Republican Gov. Rick Snyder was near the end of his term and Democrats were preparing to take over top statewide posts.

Advocates had turned in enough signatures to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022 and eliminate a lower tipped wage in the restaurant industry.

The Legislature adopted it in 2018 instead of letting voters have a say, which was a possible step.

But lawmakers then returned a few months later and watered it down by a simple majority vote.

Judge Douglas Shapiro says lawmakers thwarted the will of the people.

Attorney General Dana Nessel released the following statement:

This order is a victory for the residents of Michigan whose efforts to bring an issue before their elected representatives were wrongly circumvented by the Legislature in 2018. The initiated law process is intended as a tool for the people. As Judge Shapiro noted in his opinion, the constitution ‘grants the Legislature three options to address a law proposed through the initiative process—enact the law, reject the law, or propose an alternative. Article 2, § 9 does not permit the Legislature to adopt a proposed law and, in the same legislative session, substantially amend or repeal it.’

The actions undertaken by the Legislature in 2018 denied the will of the people and distorted the purpose of Michigan’s citizens initiative process. This is a victory for Michiganders and for democracy.

Nessel said the court's order voids Public Acts 368 and 369 of 2018 and Public Acts 337 and 338 of 2018 remain in effect.

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