Michigan court limits planned minimum wage hike
A 2018 decision by Republicans in the Michigan Legislature to weaken minimum wage and sick leave laws was ruled constitutional by an appeals court on Thursday, reversing a lower court ruling last year that reportedly raised the minimum wage in the state by nearly $3 in February.
Michigan Court of Appeals’ unanimous decision prevents the state’s minimum wage from increasing from $10.10 to $13.03 on Feb. 2 and keeps current wage and benefits requirements intact .
The decision will be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court.
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In July last year, a Court of Claims judge rejected changes made at the end of 2018 as Republican Gov. Rick Snyder neared the end of his term and Democrats prepared to take over the most important positions statewide.
Supporters had turned in enough signatures to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022 and ultimately eliminate lower wages in the restaurant industry. The minimum wage is now $10.10 an hour, less for tipped workers.
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There has also been a successful petition campaign to expand sick leave options.
The Legislature passed both in 2018 instead of letting voters speak. But then lawmakers came back a few months later and watered them down with a simple majority vote.
The appeals court ruled on Thursday that the Legislative Assembly in 2018 had the constitutional power to change laws initiated by citizens through a petition process.
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“The initiatives successfully compelled the Legislative Assembly to act on the policies contained in the proposals,” Justice Christopher Murray said in the majority opinion. “Then, in amending the proposals, the legislature continued to address these issues with the interests of all legislators’ constituents in mind.”