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The Latest: Michigan Legislature votes to gut wage law

December 5, 2018

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on the Michigan Legislature’s consideration of minimum wage and paid sick leave bills (all times local):

7:25 p.m.

The Republican-led Michigan Legislature has passed bills that would delay a minimum wage hike and scale back paid sick leave requirements.

It is an unprecedented lame-duck strategy that was endorsed legally by the state’s conservative attorney general Tuesday despite criticism that it is unconstitutional.

The fast-tracked legislation was pushed through on largely party-line votes. Changes were made at the request of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who stayed mum on whether he will sign the measures but whose involvement was seen positively by their supporters.

To prevent minimum wage and paid sick time ballot initiatives from going to the electorate last month, after which they would have been much harder to change if voters had passed them, GOP legislators — at the behest of business groups — preemptively approved them in September so that they could alter them after the election with simple majority votes in each chamber. Democrats say the maneuver is unconstitutional.

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6:55 p.m.

Bills to scale back Michigan’s new minimum wage hike and mandatory paid sick leave law are nearing final approval in the Republican-led Legislature.

The House backed the legislation largely on party lines Tuesday. The Senate is expected to concur in changes later Tuesday night.

To prevent the ballot initiatives from going to electorate, where they would be much harder to change if voters had passed them, GOP lawmakers approved them in September so they could alter them now with majority votes.

The business community supports delaying the boost in the minimum wage to $12.05 until at least 2030 and limiting paid sick time requirements to employers with 50 or more workers. Opponents say the move is illegal and an insult to voters.

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12:35 p.m.

Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette says it is constitutional for Michigan’s Legislature to pass bills initiated as ballot drives and subsequently amend them in the same legislative session.

Schuette’s opinion was made public Tuesday as the GOP-controlled House prepared to vote to significantly scale back minimum wage and paid sick leave laws that legislators passed in September so they would be easier to change now. Organizers of the ballot initiatives say the strategy is unconstitutional, and legal challenges are likely if Gov. Rick Snyder signs the bills.

In his opinion dated Monday, Schuette says the state constitution imposes restrictions on lawmakers’ ability to amend voter-approved laws, but it has no “express limitations on amending a legislatively enacted initiated law.” He says Michigan courts have said legislatively enacted initiatives should be treated similarly to ordinary legislation.

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10 a.m.

Bills to scale back Michigan’s new minimum wage hike and mandatory paid sick leave law are advancing in the Republican-led Legislature.

A House panel backed the legislation on party lines Tuesday. The full House may approve the bills later Tuesday before they move to Gov. Rick Snyder, who has not said where he stands.

To prevent the ballot initiatives from going to electorate, where they would be much harder to change if voters had passed them, GOP lawmakers approved them in September so they could alter them now with majority votes.

The business community supports delaying the boost in the minimum wage until at least 2030 and limiting paid sick time requirements to employers with 50 or more workers. Opponents say the move is illegal and an insult to voters.

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