This week, the Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments on a debate that started during a contentious and busy lame duck session last year. Whether or not the state’s highest court will actually step in with a ruling remains to be seen.
The battle is over whether it was okay for the Republican led legislature to adopt and then quickly amend minimum wage and paid sick leave ballot initiatives. Two groups got enough signatures to get their measures on the 2018 ballot. One would have increased the state’s minimum wage and upped required wages for tipped workers. The other required employers to offer a certain amount of earned sick time to employees.
When there are ballot initiatives like these – the Legislature can choose to adopt the measure. If the Legislature passes the measure into law it can make changes to the law with a simple majority. But if the measure is passed by the voters then it would take a super-majority to change. Republicans had a majority. They did not have a super majority. Before the 2018 election, Republican leaders decided to pass these measures in the legislature, but would not say whether they planned to later amend them. The court battle is over whether the Legislature was right to adopt the laws and then amend them during the same session with a simple majority.