MichMash: Will MI Supreme Court Offer Clarity on Minimum Wage, Sick Leave Laws?

Lawmakers adopted then gutted those petition initiatives late last year. Is that legal?

Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court

WDET Digital

The Michigan State Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments about Michigan’s minimum wage and paid sick leave laws.

Last year, there were successful petition initiatives aimed at raising the state’s minimum wage and guaranteeing paid sick leave for workers.

Michigan’s petition initiative process gives lawmakers a chance to pass these kinds of measures themselves instead of letting them go before voters on the ballot.

The Republican-controlled state Legislature opted for that option, with the intent that they would go back and gut those laws during the Lame Duck session in December. 

They did just that.

But is that even legal? Can lawmakers pass a petition initiative and then drastically alter it within the same two-year session without running afoul of the state constitution?

That’s a question we don’t have a clear answer to at the moment. Multiple attorneys general have reached different and contradicting conclusions in the past.

But the Michigan Supreme Court might offer some clarity on the issue. This week, justices announced they will hear arguments on both sides of that question. They have not, however, promised one way or the other to issue an advisory opinion.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth explain what this all means.

Click on the audio player above to hear that conversation.


  • Cheyna Roth
    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.
  • Jake Neher
    Jake Neher is senior producer for Detroit Today and host of MichMash for 101.9 WDET. He previously reported on the Michigan Legislature for the Michigan Public Radio Network.