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

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

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

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WDET Digital
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.


Jake Neher, Producer, Detroit Today

Jake Neher is a producer and reporter for Detroit Today. He has formerly reported on the Michigan legislature.

Jake.Neher@wdet.org Follow @GJNeher

Cheyna Roth, Reporter

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.

CRoth@MPRN.org Follow @Cheyna_R

MichMash

This post is a part of MichMash.

Each week, WDET's Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio's Cheyna Roth un-jumble Michigan issues and talk about how statewide news stories affect you. 

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