LANSING, Mich. — Yesterday, the Michigan Court of Appeals offered an opinion that the Michigan Legislature’s previous “adopt and amend” strategy to negate ballot initiatives was constitutional and was used by Republicans in 2018 to undermine a voter-driven minimum wage raise and paid sick leave requirement. In doing so, the Court of Appeals reversed the Court of Claims’ prior ruling that the ploy violated Article II, Section 9 of the Michigan Constitution.
“Yesterday’s outcome is unacceptable,” said Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor). “We know that folks in this state work hard, and they are well overdue for paid sick leave and an increase in the minimum wage. Despite this setback, we will never stop advocating for Michigan workers at every turn. This is not the end of the road.”
“This ruling by the Court of Appeals means that hundreds of thousands of hard-working Michiganders will continue to be subjected to a woefully low minimum wage and deprived of the paid sick leave they deserve,” said Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit). “We are disappointed, but we will stand with advocates in continuing to fight for the rights and protections of all workers.”
Michigan’s minimum wage was set to increase to $13.03 on February 19. However, this ruling prevents the increase from taking effect, keeping the minimum wage at its current rate of $10.10. In a concurring opinion with the majority, Judge Michael Kelly acknowledged that the “adopt and amend” approach, despite yesterday’s ruling, is “anti-democratic” in nature.
“As someone who cares about people, it bothers me that there are people working 40 hours a week or more who are still struggling to meet basic needs,” said Sen. Sue Shink (D-Northfield Twp.). “As a policy advocate, I’m disappointed in yesterday’s ruling and will continue to fight for Michigan families. And finally, as a lawyer, I know that this is another step in the process and remain hopeful for a positive outcome for working families.”
“My colleagues and I hear it every day: folks across the state are struggling with high costs, feeble wages, and devastating consequences from not having paid sick leave,” said Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor). “That’s why voters wanted to vote on common-sense measures to address these issues, only to have the rug ripped out from under them by a Republican Legislature. The voice of the people was stolen from them, and we are determined to change that.”
The ruling is expected to be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court.