TROY, Mich. – A significant decision out of the Michigan Court of Claims that could potentially put a $12 an hour minimum wage into effect and require paid sick leave.
Raising both the minimum wage to $12 and guaranteeing sick time were heading to the ballot for everyone to vote on during the August elections.
Still, Michigan law allows for the legislature to adopt the measures if they clear the signature threshold--it’s what the legislature did next that a judge says is a no-go.
A Michigan Court of Claims judge has ruled the GOP-led Michigan Legislature’s changes to two 2018 ballot proposals are unconstitutional.
Michigan law says if a ballot proposal clears the signature hurdle to appear on the ballot, the legislature can simply adopt it before it goes to voters if it chooses.
The legislature adopted two proposals in 2018, but it amended each of them.
The One Fair Wage proposal called for a $12 minimum wage by 2022. The legislature changed it to phase in by 2030.
The judge says that’s a no-go.
“It is a victory for democracy and workers both,” said Saru Jayaraman from One Fair Wage.
The Court of Claims is not the last legal stop, though. Expect the issue to end up at the Court of Appeals and then the Michigan Supreme Court.
Already business groups are calling the decision crippling.
“If this were to be immediately implemented, the chaos it would wreak on an already battered hospitality industry during peak travel season would be almost inconceivable,” said Justin Winslow from the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association.
Brian Calley, who heads up the Small Business Association, says it’s just one more hit for his membership.
“First, we had mandatory closures, closures that lasted longer than almost anywhere else in the country followed by restrictions that lasted longer than just about anywhere else in the country,” said Calley. “Then supply chain disruptions, workforce shortages, now inflation that has been completely out of control rising interest rates, difficulty getting employees and then stack on top of all of that are new costly mandates.”
Don’t expect the language of the original ballot proposals to go into effect immediately while the case goes through the court system.